How CBD is Helping People with Epilepsy
CBD is the biggest trend in alternative medicine right now. People are using it to treat a number of health conditions, but it first gained attention in the medical world as a possible treatment for epilepsy. In fact, the first cannabidiol medication was approved by the FDA in 2018. Epidiolex can help prevent seizures in two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome, in patients two and older.
How CBD Can Help Epilepsy
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the two primary compounds found in marijuana. CBD does not cause any mental side-effects unlike its psychoactive counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD attaches to the body’s natural endocannabinoid receptors; CBD can helps reduce the abnormal electrical impulses in the brain that cause epileptic seizures. Although clinical trials have demonstrated its efficacy, the exact reason why CBD helps patients with LGS and Dravet syndrome is unclear. It could be due to the fact that, like THC, CBD does alter the brain’s biochemistry and neurons.
CBD for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
LGS usually begins in early childhood around ages three to five and is marked by frequent seizures with muscular and cognitive defects. Other types of medication may be used to treat LGS, including ones that are not designed to treat seizures. Children with LGS may experience behavioral issues and have trouble reaching developmental milestones. In addition, LGS is difficult to treat and may even become resistant to anti-seizure medications. As a result of its general complications and resistance to treatment, CBD may be a light at the end of the tunnel for those whose children have suffered from LGS seizures and symptoms for years.
CBD for Dravet Syndrome
Dravet syndrome is a developmental disorder that also arises in early childhood. Many children who develop Dravet syndrome also experience learning disabilities, behavioral disturbances and other cognitive challenges. Both LGS and Dravet syndrome can be difficult to treat as each patient responds differently to medication. In some cases, even anti-seizure medications are ineffective at reducing the frequency and intensity of epileptic seizures. For parents who were at a loss on how to manage their child’s syndrome, CBD felt like a miracle. CBD for epilepsy sparked major controversy. Parents and physicians alike were highly skeptical about giving an extract from marijuana to children. However, studies have proven that CBD can help effectively treat the symptoms of both LGS and Dravet syndrome.
In 2018, a study revealed that the benefits of CBD for seizures decreased in one-third of patients after long-term use. This means that continued research and refinement is needed to help extract the benefits of CBD and incorporate it into future epilepsy treatments. Over time, greater research and development could improve the benefits of CBD in other forms epilepsy. Eventually, it could be modified and used as a general anti-seizure and muscle spasm treatment.
If you’re wondering whether non-prescription CBD could help you manage epilepsy, talk to your physician who can offer you information tailored to your condition as well as the certification you’ll need at the dispensary.