How CBDs Can Treat Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
Cannabidiol (CBD) has recently become a true celebrity among the new generation of natural remedies after television and other media popularized its effectiveness. This is not the first time that the alleged properties of a natural substance get overhyped, but in contrast to what happened in other circumstances, CBD proved to be more than able to make the difference. According to many new studies, the effectiveness of this active chemical found in cannabis in treating several serious conditions literally represents a groundbreaking discovery. In particular, CBD extracts showed to be an otherwise unique opportunity to treat some forms of drug-resistant epilepsy in children, including Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Cannabis has been used to soothe the pain since ancient times, but how does CBD work and who can find its activity to be beneficial? Let’s look at what this cannabinoid can do and how it is different from its “brothers” including tetrahydrocannabinol THC.
What is CBD and how does it work?
CBD is a cannabinoid, one of the many compounds found in cannabis that can interact with a system found in our bodies known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The purpose of the ECS is to regulate many body functions including the immune response, pain transmission and stress recovery, as well as protect the health of our nerves. ECS receptors are, in fact, found mostly in the central nervous system, but many others are found in almost every organ. CBD produce its therapeutic effects by interacting with the ECS thanks to its chemical similarity to the endocannabinoids, a group of substances naturally produced by our bodies.
Into the limelight: Charlotte Figi’s miracle hits the news
The history of Charlotte Figi touched the hearts of millions of Americans. The five years old child stopped laughing after Dravet syndrome prevented her from communicating even the most basic emotions. Intense seizures caused her to convulse for entire hours, and no drug was able to provide her with any form of relief. After years of pain and emotional struggles, Charlotte’s parents finally found an unexpected solution to all her issues: CBD. The compound found in marijuana plants brought their daughter back to a normal life, and a social movement quickly spread from this apparent miracle.
Can CBD treat epilepsy?
As Charlotte’s story spread around the globe, the scientific community didn’t lag behind. Many research teams began investigating the alleged properties of CBD trying to prove that this substance can really help otherwise intractable patients. Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by unpredictable, recurrent seizures. Almost one-third of patients affected by this condition become resistant to all forms of drug treatment, increasing their mortality and substantially reducing the quality of their lives. Thanks to its neuroprotective action, CBD has been found to be a potent alternative to reduce seizures for those who did not respond to traditional therapy. It even increased the efficacy of other antiepileptic medications when co-administered with them.
Can CBD make me or my children feel “stoned”?
The answer is simple: no. Highly purified CBD has no psychoactive effects since this compound is instead able to counteract the well-known effects of THC. Even CBD-rich cannabis is not going to make you feel “stoned” or “high” and can provide relief from anxiety, pain and other discomforting feelings usually associated with the more psychoactive strains.
Is it legal for to use medical marijuana to treat epilepsy?
Depending on your state's medical marijuana laws, you may be able to obtain CBD oil for you or your child’s condition. States like Colorado, California, and Oregon have policies in place- where many other states have the subject on the ballot.
Those who live in California have it a bit easier: Yes, if your child has epilepsy, the actual legislation allows doctors to recommend medical cannabis and CBD to all patients who qualify, including pediatric ones. If your son or daughter has been diagnosed with epilepsy and no other treatment has proved to be successful (or has been associated with unacceptable side effects), medical cannabis can be recommended. The physician will then request that the parents or guardians sign an informed consent before treatment can be started. High-quality medical marijuana in San Francisco can be bought online in one of the many licensed dispensaries and then delivered directly to your home.
If you or your loved one suffers from intractable epilepsy or seizures which cannot be controlled, don’t wait further. Try CBD: it is a legal and safe alternative, and can represent a unique chance to improve the quality of your life.
- Reddy DS, Golub VM. The Pharmacological Basis of Cannabis Therapy for Epilepsy. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2016 Apr; 357(1):45-55.
- Devinsky, Orrin et al. Cannabidiol in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy: an open-label interventional trial. The Lancet Neurology , Volume 15 , Issue 3 , 270 – 278
- Hussain SA, Zhou R, et al. Perceived efficacy of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis extracts for treatment of pediatric epilepsy: A potential role for infantile spasms and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Epilepsy Behav. 2015 Jun;47:138-41.