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Why treating epileptic seizures with CBD oil is a good idea

October 22, 2019

With medical marijuana legalization spreading across the world, it is possible to understand the true benefits of this plant. Legalization has helped spread wings into various applications and deeper research in the medical field to explore the potential of marijuana even better. With the current level of research and clinical trials, cannabis-based treatments are already available for various ailments, including chronic pain and epileptic seizures.

Understanding medical marijuana

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Cannabis plant constitutes of cannabinoids and terpenes which are responsible for the characteristics and benefits of the plant. The type, levels of concentration of each of these components determines the strain and benefits one can expect from the plant. The two major cannabidiol that makes up cannabis are THC or tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD or cannabidiol. These are naturally found compounds in the plant that have various effects on the body. Marijuana is a strain of cannabis that contains a high concentration of THC compared to CBD. Hemp is the most common source of CBD. The strain contains higher levels of CBD compared to THC and CBD, and with its non-psychoactive properties is the most desired compound from the plant. 

Related article: How to choose marijuana strains

Medical marijuana refers to cannabis strains, which are useful for humans for medicinal purposes. It could contain a single or combination of cannabidiol and terpenes, which helps receive health benefits from the plant. Many states across the world are legalizing medical marijuana after the ground-breaking results of Cannabis usage in the field of medicine came to light. Strong research and clinical trials to support the plant`s ability to treat chronic ailments have been a convincing standpoint for increasing acceptance across the globe.

The trend is visible from the increasing interest in CBD. Various studies across the world support the effectiveness of treating different ailments using CBD without having to bear any psychoactive effects. This property makes CBD extremely desirable by the medical community as well as the users.

Know your cannabinoids

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If you wish to learn about the benefits of marijuana, you need to understand about cannabinoids first. Cannabinoids THC and CBD have very similar chemical makeup. It is the arrangement of atoms in that molecule that is responsible for the difference we observe while using these compounds. The structure of these cannabinoids is like the endocannabinoids in the body. This similarity encourages them to bind with the CB receptors sites in the body and release a series of neurotransmitters to your brain. These chemicals control various functions such as the perception of pain, immune system response, stress, sleep. 

Related article: THC and CBD, and the Entourage Effect!

The structure of THC is compatible with interacting with the CB1 receptors present in the brain. The interaction of THC with these receptors invokes chemical reactions, which trigger a sense of euphoria in the body. But this feeling of light-headedness and high is undesirable, especially when treating mental ailments. On the other hand, CBD hardly interacts with the CB 1 receptors of the brain. It counteracts the effects of the THC, which binds to this sight and helps bring balance. The expected impact of consuming cannabis is hence, cannabidiol specific. 

Related article: What is the Difference Between CBD and CBN?

Both these cannabinoids have a broad profile of ailments they are capable of treating. Hence, based on the disease, we get to pick products with a high concentration of the most relevant cannabidiol. In terms of legality, medical cannabis, even with a high amount of THC is available in legalized states if the treatment requires the same. CBD is still a new compound to enter the market, and it is rather challenging to determine the laws that encompass this compound. But in most states where marijuana is legal, one can find CBD oil and other infused products in dispensaries or online dispensary Canada.

A view of Epileptic Seizures

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As we discuss through the various ailments cannabis can benefit, one of the most important ailments we see is epileptic seizures. Seizures refer to an erratic activity of nerve signals or electrical signal that travels through our body from the brain. These signals are responsible for stimuli, movement, and consciousness. While the signals are generally useful, in the case of patients suffering from seizures, they go out of control, causing discomfort to the individual. 

Most of the current treatments for seizures involve anti-seizure drugs that aim to slow down the unusual activity in the brain. Several seizure-related disorders such as Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome are common. While these medications seem to work in the case of Dravet syndrome and LGS, these are not of much help in most cases of Epilepsy. Most patients who have Epilepsy require more than one dose of anti-seizure medication to recover from an attack. It is the primary reason why thousands of patients from across the world are hopeful towards a CBD oil treatment for coping with their Epilepsy.

The journey of CBD for treating epileptic seizures

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The FDA approved the first drug, which is a 99% concentration of CBD. It is called the Epidiolex and the drug released in the year 2018. The focus of the drug was for the treatment of Dravet syndrome and LGS.  These syndromes cause seizures, and the frequency and intensity of these seizures vary due to different factors. They both affect individuals from a very young age, and the effects of these seizures leave children with low motor skills, slow pace intellectual development, and inability to socialize with people.

A major clinical trial involving the use of Epidiolex helped researchers get to the conclusion about the effectiveness of the drug for treating epilepsy. The study involved a controlled group of 689 people exposed to CBD dosing or the placebo effect. Most of these people have gone through the treatment for over a year. The results showed that the addition of Epidiolex to traditional seizure medications helped decrease the frequency of seizures among patients suffering from LS, which is one of the types of epilepsy.  

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While this drug and clinical trial around it has been among the most significant studies in the field, the Earliest evidence of cannabis and its effectiveness towards treating epilepsy dates to the 1970s. The scope of research in this segment opened following a primary animal study, where the results promised the ability of cannabis to act as an anticonvulsant. The research used CBD as well as THC oil with mice subjects to understand the strong anticonvulsant properties of the plant. The studies also show that the endocannabinoid system activity also improved along with the overexpression of cannabinoid receptors. The effect helped compensate for the excitotoxic effects due to increasing glutamate activity and helped bring down the seizures.

Various studies conducted in the following years used both THC as well as CBD oil to understand its correlation with Epilepsy. But the attention shifted to CBD, especially after the 2000s, as the compound posed non-psychoactive properties, which was much desirable among researchers as well as users. The report published by Porter and Jacobson in 2013, based on the self-reported experience of 19 patients, is a significant work to back up CBD oil use. The patients reported a fall in frequency and intensity of seizures with regular use of high-dose CBD oil.

Project CBD is one such positive story that shows CBD in a potential light for treating epilepsy using CBD oil. The project shows its effectiveness in managing Dravet syndrome. The current body of research has shifted to phase 3 levels of clinical trials where seizure reduction up to 55% is visible.

The various ways of using CBD oil for epilepsy treatment

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When it comes to cannabis, the mode of consumption plays a vital role in determining the type of effect you can expect from the plant. There are various forms of using CBD oils that can be helpful to the patients. While Epidiolex is one of the many ways to deliver the treatment effectively, vaping CBD oil as well as CBD oil capsules are not far behind. CBD oil capsules are swallowed like pills and are the easiest way to consume oil. CBD oil vaping through vape mods and pen can be a rather cherishable experience. It helps you enjoy the earthy aroma of the compound along with its medicinal values, which could be an added advantage. CBD oil or hemp oil is also a nutritious addition to your everyday diet. You can add it to your juice, shakes, or as a salad dressing to relish the flavors and benefits of CBD oil together.

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The day isn’t far when CBD based treatment for different forms of epilepsy will become common and universally approved. More clinical trials are underway to determine dosage levels, possible long-term side effects, necessary precautions. An in-depth study of interactions with other medicines is also happening simultaneously. In the meantime, consult a marijuana doctor to understand the relevance of medical cannabis for your condition. They can help you with optimum dosage and other adjustments you might need on your current medication routine to accommodate CBD oil treatment for your condition.