CBD Oil for Seizures Use, Benefits & Side Effects
If someone searches the internet for CBD health benefits, they will find much information about how CBD can help with pain, anxiety, insomnia, skin conditions, inflammation, mood issues, and more. However, it is difficult to believe that these are not the reasons doctors would prescribe CBD to patients.
Interestingly enough, doctors are more likely to prescribe CBD products to manage rare diseases or conditions that are highly challenging to treat. Some of these conditions even do not respond to medical drugs.
Thus, doctors are more likely to prescribe CBD for rare diseases like Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis – these are all rare diseases characterized by difficult to control seizures.
It is quite difficult to believe that much of the high-quality clinical research regarding the use of CBD (cannabidiol) and other cannabinoids is on their ability to help with seizures. Additionally, pharmaceutical manufacturers are also exploring its role in other brain disorders.
Therefore, no surprise that there are already US FDA and EMA (European Medical Agency) approved drugs based on CBD that can help lower seizures in some brain disorders. A drug called Epidyolex is the first of its kind approved for clinical use for managing seizures.
What is a Seizure?
A seizure is a condition in which various body parts start moving or shaking uncontrollably due to faulty electrical activity in the brain. Not only that but they are also associated with changes in consciousness.
What is worrisome is that most seizure illnesses are first diagnosed in early childhood, and they continue to affect a person for the rest of their life. It means that there are also other issues of brain development in many conditions.
Another challenge is that seizures are a sign of multiple brain ailments. It means that they may occur not only due to epilepsy, one of the well-understood brain disorders but also due to other conditions like brain tumors and so on.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is a short name for cannabidiol, one of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBD is among the most abundant cannabinoids among various cannabis plants. The cannabis plant also contains THC, a mind-altering substance. However, unlike THC, CBD does not cause euphoria. It is not addictive and is safe for regular and prolonged use.
For several decades, the use of cannabis extracts was illegal due to specific health concerns. However, later researchers realized their mistake. They understood that most of the side effects of cannabis extract are due to a compound called THC. Thus, using cannabis extract low in THC (below 0.3% or THC-free) does not cause ill effects.
Since now the use of CBD has gained popularity, researchers have also understood how it works. Their studies show that CBD work by influencing the so-called endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body. ECS contains a network of receptors and substances affecting them.
Further, they know that there are at least two kinds of receptors in the ECS system those are CB1 and CB2. Among these receptors, CB1 receptors are more common in the brain. Most CBD effects like the ability to reduce pain and anxiety and control seizures are related to its influence on CB1 receptors in various brain centers. Of course, it is pretty likely that CBD work in other poorly understood ways, too.
How Do I Use CBD Oil to Treat Seizures?
When using CBD oil to control seizures, it is vital to understand that just any kind of CBD supplement will not work. It is because many of the commonly sold CBD supplements have a very low dosage of cannabidiol or CBD.
Studies show that an effective dose of CBD for controlling seizures is 2.5 mg per kg of body weight taken twice daily. If such a dosage fails to help and does not cause any side effects, one may increase the dosage to 5 mg/kg twice daily. One may gradually increase the dosage to a maximum of 12.5 mg/kg twice a day.
CBD Oil for Dravet Syndrome
Dravet syndrome (DS) is a rare form of epilepsy that is often diagnosed during the first year of life in a relatively healthy adult. However, science knows that this condition occurs due to a genetic mutation in the SCN1A gene. Thus, the condition is incurable.
There are frequent and prolonged seizures lasting for anywhere between 5 minutes to even half an hour in the disease condition. It also causes an increase in body temperature. In addition, the disease condition is associated with a slowdown in a child’s development.
What is bad about the conditions is that the disease starts so early in life, and it is a diagnosis for the rest of your life. Moreover, it isn’t easy to treat with modern medications. Thus, doctors would prescribe multiple medications to control seizures in the condition. However, even three anti-epileptic drugs may fail to control the conditions completely in some children.
Now studies show that adding CBD to the treatment may help control the severity of seizures in many cases. Thus, one may add cannabidiol or CBD to the DS treatment starting with 2.5 mg/kg twice daily and gradually increasing to a maximum dosage of 10 mg/kg approved for the condition.
CBD for Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
Tuberous Sclerosis (TS) is another rare genetic disorder that can cause seizures. It is a condition in which multiple non-cancerous tumors grow in various body parts. In some cases, these tumors may develop in various parts of the brain, causing different mental health issues and seizures.
Studies show that adding CBD to regular medical treatment may help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in the condition.
Like DS, EMA recommends starting CBD for seizures treatment by using 2.5 mg/kg twice daily and gradually increasing to a maximum of 10 mg/kg if needed. Generally, if the minimum recommended dosage fails to work, one may increase a dose by 2.5 mg/kg on a weekly basis. However, the maximum allowed dosage is 10 mg/kg for the condition.
CBD Oil for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
Unlike DS or TS, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome is a sub-type of epilepsy. It is epilepsy that begins in early childhood, mainly between the age of 3 to 5 years. Like usual epilepsy, seizures begin with stiffening of muscles uncontrollably (thus causing seizures). Seizures may occur in sleep or when awake, thus causing a child to fall.
Doctors classify it as an “epileptic encephalopathy.” It means that there is also a brain inflammation in the condition. As a result, it can considerably influence the cognitive development of a child. About one in four children diagnosed with epilepsy has this sub-type of epilepsy.
In some children, doctors may struggle to control seizures even by using multiple medications, and in such resistant cases, adding CBD to the treatment may help. EMA recommends starting with 2.5 mg/kg twice daily of CBD along with other medications. If it does not work, one may increase the dosage of CBD for siezures by 2.5 mg/kg a week to a maximum of 12.5 mg/kg twice daily for the condition.
What are the Side Effects of CBD oil?
CBD is relatively safe. However, it is worth understanding that doctors recommend using CBD when multiple drugs fail to help control seizures adequately. It means that a child would most likely use CBD and 2-to 3 other anti-epileptic drugs. This, of course, significantly increases the risk of various side effects.
Fortunately, the side effects of CBD are mild and transient. Nevertheless, it may cause issues like drowsiness, sleep issues, tiredness, unusual fatigue, reduced body weight, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues.
Here it is worth understanding that side effects are not a cause for discontinuing the treatment until or unless these adverse effects are severe. Many of these side effects might be due to other medications used to control seizures rather than CBD. However, if these issues worsen on using CBD, one should consult a medical specialist.
What are the best supplements for Seizures?
When using CBD for seizures, most high-quality CBD supplements would work. However, here it is worth noticing that children often need a massive dosage of CBD twice daily. Thus, one should only choose a product containing considerably high amounts of CBD.
For example, if a child weighs 20 kg and requires 5 mg/kg CBD to control seizures, a single dose would be whooping 100 mg. Subsequently, the daily need for CBD would be as high as 200 mg (as CBD must be given twice daily). Hence, it would be good to buy a product that contains 2000 or even 3000 mg of CBD. Unfortunately, there are very few CBD products with such a high amount of CBD. Hence, finding a supplement to control seizures may be a bit challenging.
If you want to start producing CBD products specifically aimed at managing seizures, you can contact us. We can help you come up with an optimal solution.