Patients and caregivers looking for relief from epilepsy seizures are increasingly turning to medical marijuana, specifically in the form of cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD is one of many compounds found in marijuana and has been increasingly studied by professionals who believe it can be beneficial for a number of medical conditions.
Can Cannabis Help Seizures?
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, U.S. studies of a cannabidiol-based drug called Epidiolex have been promising. The drug is a purified, 99% oil-based extraction of cannabis and the FDA has allowed some epilepsy treatment centers to use it on a limited number of patients. Furthermore, double-blind, placebo-control studies for both adult and child epilepsy syndromes have been completed and published and the positive results have been published in medical journals such as Lancet.
On a side note…we published an outstanding article on CBD derived from Hemp and how it can help with Epileptic Seizures, and more, and you can access this article here.
What are the Study Results?
In the case of Lennox-Gastaut, a particularly difficult variety of epilepsy that affects both children and adults and presents with several types of seizures, including drop and fall and stiffening, the results were positive. LGS usually doesn’t respond to traditional epilepsy medicines but there was some success with the CBD-based Epidiolex drug.
• Drop and fall seizures were reduced by over 40% in both children and adults
compared to less than 20% of the patients who took the placebo.
• Convulsive seizures were reduced by 40% compared to 17% for the placebo.
• In a non-placebo study of patients who had a form of epilepsy that didn’t
respond to currently accepted treatments, seizures were decreased by 54%.
The Epilepsy Foundation continues advocacy efforts for removing the barriers to research on cannabis and its availability for medical purposes.
How Does Cannabis Stop Seizures?
A 2003 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology maintained that “ingredients in marijuana and the cannabidoid receptor protein produced naturally in the body to regulate the central nervous system and other bodily functions play a critical role in controlling spontaneous seizures in epilepsy.” Essentially, cannabinoids activate the brain’s CB1 receptors that are found within the nervous system. Since epileptic seizures are triggered by abnormal misfirings among brain cells, the CB1 receptors are likely to be involved.
Is CBD Legal?
Laws governing marijuana or cannabis in any form vary in the U.S. from state to state, but medical marijuana is legal in more than half the states as well as the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam. Be sure and check the laws where you are living or receiving treatment. Laws change and evolve constantly, so don’t just get your information from the Internet. Ask a reliable source such as NORML for current rules and regulations.
There are many forms of epilepsy from mild to severe. At its worst, the disease can be so debilitating that its victims cannot even leave the house for fear of seizing. It is particularly difficult to treat in children and often the causes are unknown. In recent years, case studies published by reliable sources such as Scientific American have made it possible for desperate parents to find treatment for their children and for adults to ease their symptoms. The medical community is in agreement that CBD and other forms of cannabis effectively treat seizures due to epilepsy. It’s not junk science, it’s fact.