Table of Contents
CBD For Epilepsy
If there is one thing I have found out through my daily CBD research, it’s that among some of the bigger things CBD treats, epilepsy is one of them.
As a matter of fact, epilepsy is one of the things that caught my attention when I first heard about CBD.
I was avidly researching natural ways to cure my severe anxiety when I came across numerous articles on how CBD oil benefited a poor little girl named Charlotte Figi, who was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome (a rare form of epilepsy).
Poor Charlotte suffered well over 300 seizures a month, and to make a long story short, after suffering horrible side effects from medication and having to pay a hefty price for medical marijuana, Charlotte’s parents came to find CBD as a wonderful alternative.
Charlotte’s seizures, after taking CBD oil had dropped drastically to no seizures to as little as one seizure a month.
Which then showed that,
CBD had been proven effective in treating epilepsy in this instance.
If there is one thing that looks pretty promising through research is the amazing effect CBD has in treating epilepsy with a safe and low side effect profile.
This article will focus on another wonderful little girl, whom similar to Charlotte, suffered from the horrible effects of epilepsy.
Her name is Lilly Morgan.
Before we get to her story, I’ll provide a little info about CBD for those of you who may not already know what it is and I will cover deeply as to why CBD works in our systems to treat epilepsy.
Brief CBD Overview
Here’s the deal:
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant.
Without getting into anything too complicated just yet;
CBD stimulates receptors in the endocannabinoid system (we all have one of those, and it is named after cannabis), primarily the discovered CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CBD works to achieve homeostasis, or in other words a balance, within the endocannabinoid system.
When the homeostasis is lost, issues can arise.
Seem simple enough?
Now that we briefly know about CBD, we can talk about Lilly’s story and why this is relevant.
Lilly’s Story and CBD For Her Epilepsy
Meet Lilly, the bright and bubbly 9-year old girl. Poor Lilly was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and reflux.
Right off the bat, Lilly was on many medications.
And as you may have already guessed, the need to look for other alternatives was apparent.
So thankfully through a friend of Lilly’s mother (Ange), Ange had discovered CBD oil.
Here’s what happened next,
After much research of this foreign 3 letter word, Ange gave Lilly a few different CBD products and would finally wind up giving her 2 drops in the morning and 4 drops at night of a 1000mg CBD oil.
CBD’s Effects on Lilly’s Epilepsy
Lilly was suffering from a lot of tonic-clonic seizures which had been significantly reduced, her tense muscles relaxed a little more from the cerebral palsy and the members of her school and charity group noticed there was an absence of her seizures. -express.co.uk
Plus Lilly reacts much better to CBD oil in comparison to medications she was on as far as side effects are concerned.
CBD contains a both low and generally safe side effect profile.
Overall Lilly is reacting well to the CBD and has helped her with some of her symptoms. Thankfully her seizures have been reduced, and CBD has been proven to be a safe and very effective treatment in epilepsy reduction.
Ange has created a social media account to spread awareness of her daughter’s condition and the effects of cannabis, this is where I first saw her amazing daughter.
Through their social media feed, it is very apparent that Ange loves her daughter very much and is doing everything in her power to help Lilly have a happy life.
Please check out their Instagram page (you can find them under the handle cbd_ourjourney_) and follow them for support.
You will fall in love with Lilly as well.
CBD For Epilepsy Studies
The studies are very promising, for CBD as a treatment for epilepsy.
Here’s where it all gets interesting.
Cannabis has been known to help with epilepsy for some time.
A published review of the effects of cannabis on epilepsy patients notes the efficacy of cannabis for helping reduce seizures.
Cannabis extracts, however, usually have high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is a psychoactive compound.
On the other hand,
CBD is preferred to pure cannabis extract because it’s safer.
It lacks any psychoactive properties (i.e. no high or euphoria) and has no major intrusive side effects.
It’s also not addictive, meaning that there’s a low risk of abuse.
Some older studies have shown little effect of cannabis on the frequency on seizures.
However, these studies were performed on small sample groups (15 or less participants) and they hence don’t include a big enough of a sample size to correctly show the efficacy of cannabis for seizures.
More recent studies with larger sample sizes (100 or more participants) have shown that cannabis does lead to a significant reduction in seizure frequency.
These same studies also showed that the adverse effects of CBD are rather benign, albeit some serious effects such as the elevation of liver enzymes were noted.
Elevations in liver enzyme levels usually point to the possibility of liver damage, but they do accompany the use of most medications.
Prolonged use of CBD, however, does reduce the severity of its adverse side effects (such as the rise of liver enzymes); patients who used CBD for longer periods of time experience a lower elevation in liver enzymes.
The problem with some of these studies is that in most of them, CBD was used alongside epilepsy medications, and so they couldn’t point to whether CBD itself is an anti-epileptic.
Check out this next study,
A major study conducted in Europe (Italy, Austria, and Switzerland) that involved 550 patients, showed that a 10mg dosage of CBD resulted on average in a 19.5% decrease in seizure frequency.
The use of 20mg dosage of CBD lead to a 19.9% decrease in seizure frequency.
This means that there’s not much of a difference between using 10mg and 20mg doses, both reduce the frequency of seizures by roughly 20%.
It’s important to note that these numbers compare the frequency of seizures between groups taking CBD and placebo groups, so the placebo effect is taken into account.
Also notable is that in these trials, CBD was given orally.
Some users saw a decrease in seizure frequency as high as 31%. The 95% CI (confidence interval) for the results was 8.1-31 for the 10 mg group which means that 95% of the participants saw an improvement, and this improvement ranged from 8.1% to 31%.
The 95% CI for the 20 mg of CBD group was 11.8-28.1, meaning that 95% of the participants who saw improvement improved between 11.8 and 28.1% (reduction in the frequency of seizures).
Based on these results, it’s no surprise that the FDA has cleared CBD as a treatment for seizures associated epilepsy, specifically patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
You can find the FDA’s official press release here.
Another study that looked into the antiepileptic and psychiatric effects of CBD was performed on minors.
Pediatricians know Cannabidiol (CBD) to have the most evidence of antiepileptic effectiveness amongst the different compounds found in cannabis.
It’s also known to not have the psychoactive effects of THC (∆9 -tetrahydrocannabinol).
When it comes to epilepsy, the study showed that CBD does not act through cannabinoid receptors and its antiepileptic mechanism of action is still unknown.
CBD has always been of interest when it comes to treating pediatric epilepsy. The problem is that no solid evidence in the form of research has existed until recently.
For the most part, there have only been anecdotal reports of its efficacy from parents who’ve tried it.
However, three clinical trials were performed showing the efficacy of CBD.
These studies were randomized, placebo-controlled, and double-blind (meaning neither the children nor the doctors knew who was receiving the CBD or the placebo).
They were performed on children with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
The results showed that children taking CBD showed a 38% to 41% reduction in all seizures (these percentage values are for the median values).
This is in comparison to a 13% to 19% reduction in seizures seen for patients taking the placebo pills.
CBD also resulted in fewer convulsive seizures and drop-seizures. Children taking CBD experienced a 39-46% reduction in these types of seizures compared to 14-27% for those on placebo.
No noticeably potent side effects were observed with the children.
However, some patients did experience decreased appetite, sleepiness, and diarrhea.
The efficacy of CBD for treating seizures was surprisingly similar to other antiepileptic drugs.
CBD Oil Vs. Anti-Seizure Medication
Here is one of the significant reasons that CBD could be crucial for epilepsy treatment.
It all comes down to CBD’s side effect profile in comparison to medication.
More studies need to emerge on CBD’s safety of use for it to be conclusive, but so far, whatever studies are already out there seem to point in the same direction.
CBD seems to have very few and very safe side effects.
Most common being:
- Dry mouth
- Nausea after high doses
From users who have taken CBD, so far no serious side effects have emerged and has been generally safe.
Still, it is always a good idea to consult a doctor first before considering taking CBD for epilepsy.
Especially if taking medication, there may be some interaction between CBD and some meds, and some studies seem to suggest that CBD may impede the effects of some medications.
The most common drugs used in treating epilepsy are lorazepam, diazepam, clonazepam, and clobazam.
While seizure medications don’t usually produce severe side effects when starting at a low dose and slowly increasing to a higher dose, side effects are still present.
Check out these side effects for lorazepam,
Drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, headache, nausea, blurred vision, change in sexual interest/ability, constipation, heartburn, or change in appetite may occur.
Not to mention, antiepileptic drugs may interfere with cognition.
Take a look at what epilepsey.com has to say about cognitive function,
“Sometimes the way that seizure medicines stop seizures also can affect how the brain works in other ways. Since seizure medicines lower the excitability of nerve cells in the brain, they can also affect normal activity. Cognitive problems – problems with thinking, remembering, paying attention or concentrating, finding the right words, or other symptoms – can be due to side effects of some seizure medicines. Some medicines may also affect a person’s energy level, mood, motivation or how fast they think or do tasks. Sometimes these problems will go away as you get used to a medicine. Other times they don’t. Make sure to tell your doctor about any problems that occur and how they affect you.”-epilepsey.com
Taking multiple medications simultaneously may cause problems with thinking.
So far CBD does not seem to interfere with cognition.
One other disadvantage to anti-seizure medication is that it may cause bone loss.
Check out this study:
The study seemed to suggest that one-third of people who suffer from epilepsy are resistant to some antiepileptic drugs.
It goes on to show that reason studies seem to suggest that CBD significantly reduces the frequency of these seizures and can be used in conjunction with antiepileptic medication.
While CBD has not fully cured Lilly of her conditions, it has made her life more liveable.
Lilly seems to react better to natural alternatives.
I think most people would prefer natural alternatives over medication.
What’s amazing is,
All the scientific evidence pointing towards the efficacy of CBD usage in epilepsy treatment.
It has been proven between studies, and specifically from individuals who have tried it, to reduce seizures.
In Lilly’s case, thankfully her seizures are virtually non-existent.
With the popularity and traction that CBD is getting, I am sure that more studies will be conducted on its use in epilepsy and possibly some pharmaceutical drugs infused with CBD will emerge.
Due to it’s non-psychoactive nature and medicinal benefits, CBD will continue to play an important factor in all the aforementioned issues.
It goes without saying,
While all this sounds great, epilepsy still is a serious issue and you should always consult a doctor before trying to treat epilepsy with CBD.
And if you haven’t already done so, as mentioned earlier, please check out Lilly and Ange’s page.
Ange works so hard to give Lilly a wonderful life through all she has been through.
Please show them some support, it would help a lot.
Hope all this information helps and more info will continue to emerge that may benefit others.
Leave a comment below if you would like to share something.
And please share this article and get Lilly’s story out there.
Have a good day everyone.