CBD and Epilepsy
CBD Oil has long been speculated to yield medical benefits for seizures and epilepsy due to its novel anti-convulsing effects.
This has been the source of a great deal of media coverage in the UK when the mother of Billy Caldwell, a 12-year boy that suffered from severe epilepsy, was prohibited from bringing cannabis oil into the UK from Canada.
His mother reported that Billy’s seizures were vastly decreased in both severity and frequency when taking the oil.
Alfie Dingley, aged 6, similarly created media stir around cannabis oil in the treatment of childhood epilepsy when he was denied access to vital cannabis medicine that his mother reported highly effective in treating his fits.
Following campaigning and extensive medical reviews, cannabis-based medicine including cannabis oil and medical cannabis was legalised under regulation on November 1st 2018.
CBD for epilepsy is now used for a wide variety of sufferers from both standard epilepsy and rarer forms such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy and seizures are relatively common and it’s estimated that as many as 1 in 26 may suffer a seizure at some point in their life. A seizure is not necessarily epilepsy, though, and only around 1 in 100 people in the UK will be diagnosed with epilepsy following a seizure or fit.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder of the brain where abnormal electrical currents can cause a wide range of effects, the most common being seizures and epileptic fits. These differ widely between people, with some developing a sensitivity to lights and flashing colours.
Epilepsy is always the source of scientific research and drug treatments are growing all the time, but none have grown in interest more than CBD Oil, cannabis oil and medicinal cannabis.
CBD Oil for Epilepsy
CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis which is identified to have high medicinal value alongside the psychoactive component, THC.
Whilst some cannabis oils contain both THC and CBD, purified CBD Oil is totally legal in the UK so long as it contains 0.3% THC or less (deemed to be totally non-psychoactive, e.g. it will not get you high).
CBD is harvested and extracted from industrial hemp, which is a cannabis Sativa strain chosen for its naturally high CBD content and low THC. CBD is actually one of 113 chemicals contained within the cannabis plant but accounts for 40% of its extracts.
CBD’s medicinal effects are wide-ranging and complex. Often, they arise from its interaction with our Endocannabinoid system (ECS). Our body produces its own cannabinoids - CBD is compatible with the ECS circuits within our body and brain and can help modulate and enhance their function.
Here, CBD essentially tops up our own supply of endogenous cannabinoids which can aid in the treatment of conditions ranging from anxiety to depression to eating disorders, headaches, migraines and epilepsy.
CBD and Epilepsy: The Science and Evidence
Much evidence surrounding CBD’s treatment for epilepsy was anecdotal, meaning that sufferers such as Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell exhibited clear signs of relief when taking CBD for their epileptic seizures.
But now, hard clinical evidence surrounding CBD and seizures has shown a myriad of benefits for epilepsy sufferers and sufferers of other seizure and fits.
Much of this evidence surrounds two rarer forms of severe epilepsy; Dravet Syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome. Both of these forms of epilepsy tend to strike in young age, are lifelong and have proved very resistant to conventional drug therapies, making them prime candidates for research into novel treatment methods including CBD.
In a study on 120 children with Dravet Syndrome, CBD Oil was found to markedly reduce frequency and severity of epileptic fits in children vs the control group. In a study on Lennox Gastaut syndrome, drops in seizure frequency of up to 43% were reported in the CBD group.
More recent studies published in 2019 have further reviewed both clinical and anecdotal evidence to cement CBD as an effective anticonvulsant medicine. CBD Oil has great relevance and use prospects for those that suffer from all forms of epilepsy.
This builds on a long history of positive anecdotal reports from epilepsy sufferers of all ages and varieties.
How Does it Work?
CBD is considered structurally novel and whilst many of its medical benefits are exhibited by CB1 receptor actions, where CBD is found to stimulate and modulate the ECS, this may not be the case with epilepsy.
CBD instead seems likely to induce a series of cumulative effects. Firstly, it shields the hippocampus and helps modulate neuron activity in several areas of the brain, which may reduce the frequency and potency of abnormal electrical activity.
Through the regulation of pain receptors and chemicals such as adenosine, CBD also has anti-inflammatory effects that have proved its worth in treating various forms of chronic pain. Again, this may be another tool in CBD’s effectiveness for treating epilepsy.
CBD’s complex effects also extend to calcium and sodium channel modulation, both of which play a part in cell behaviour and electrical activity.
Finally, CBD also interacts with serotonin (a neurotransmitter) which may be another promising avenue for further research into its treatment mechanisms for epilepsy.
CBD: A Safe Natural Medicine
Research into exactly how CBD generates its anticonvulsant effects is ongoing due to the complexity of the compound and its numerous interactions with our brains and bodies.
But, one thing worth mentioning is that CBD research is comprehensively positive surrounding its safety as a compound with common side effects, if any, being diarrhea and minor nausea that usually disappears over time.
Most serious side effects associated with CBD have been studied under colossal doses in animal studies - dosages way beyond the required dose for efficacy in humans.
Literature surrounding the safety of CBD provides a clear picture of its safety and for treatment of serious conditions such as epilepsy, the probable benefits far outweigh the possible side effects, if indeed there are any.
CBD Oil for Epilepsy
BWell CBD Oil covers a wide range of highest-quality products. Our CBD products include Softgel caps and CBD Oil of varying concentrations.
Our highest-quality medical-grade CBD Oils are available in CBD concentrations of 4%, 10% and 20%.