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CBD for Seizures & Epilepsy: What You Need to Know

CBD for Seizures/ Epilepsy: What You Need to Know

A seizure occurs when there is sudden, uncontrollable and irregular activity of the nerves in your brain. This disturbance can result in a wide range of symptoms, from temporary confusion or loss of consciousness to convulsions and muscle spasms. Seizures can also vary in intensity, duration, and the effects they have on an individual. 

Having two or more seizures at least 24 hours apart that don’t have a known cause is typically considered to be epilepsy. Approximately 625,800 people in the UK have epilepsy, that’s around 1 in 107 people. 

There are a number of different types of seizures (60 different types, in fact), and they can be caused by various factors, such as head injuries, epilepsy, brain infections, high fever, stroke, drug or alcohol withdrawal, certain genetic disorders, or other medical conditions.

Traditional Treatments for Seizures 

There are a number of different treatment options to help most people with epilepsy have fewer seizures, or stop having seizures completely.

CBD for Seizures/ Epilepsy: What You Need to Know
These treatments are typically prescribed based on the type of seizure, the individual’s health, and the underlying cause. 

Most seizure medications are anti-epileptic medications, which work by stabilising electrical activity in the brain. These can include levetiracetam (Keppra), carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) or phenobarbital.

In some cases, surgery might be an option if seizures are uncontrolled and originate from a specific, identifiable area of the brain. Surgical intervention involves removing a small part of the brain that’s responsible for causing the seizures. Some individuals may also have VNS, which is where a device is implanted under the skin in the chest that sends regular pulses of electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve, to help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.

Another common treatment for seizures is the Ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has shown efficacy in reducing seizures, particularly in children with epilepsy. 

More recently, CBD has shown promise in managing certain types of seizures, particularly in certain forms of epilepsy.

What is CBD?

CBD, an abbreviation of cannabidiol, is one of the many chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It’s a naturally occurring substance that, unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it does not induce the “high” often associated with cannabis. Instead, CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to regulate several of our cognitive and physical functions. 

CBD for Seizures/ Epilepsy: What You Need to Know
In humans, CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to regulate several of our cognitive and physical functions, including stress, anxiety and pain.

Can CBD Help Seizures?

Research and clinical trials have provided evidence that CBD, when used as part of a treatment plan, can be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in people with specific types of epilepsy. 

The most notable example of CBD aiding seizures is the FDA-approved medication Epidiolex. Epidiolex is a purified, pharmaceutical-grade CBD medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, Dravet syndrome, and other specific types of epilepsy. 

Marketed by Greenwich Biosciences, a subsidiary company of GW Pharmaceuticals, Epidiolex is a purified liquid formulation of plant-derived cannabis that is supplied as a 100-mg/mL strawberry-flavoured oral solution in a sesame oil base.

Let’s look at this in more detail.

CBD for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) is a rare and severe form of epilepsy that typically begins in early childhood, usually between the ages of 3 and 5. This syndrome is characterised by multiple types of seizures and developmental delays. In many cases, the precise cause of LGS is often unknown, but it can sometimes be associated with brain malformations, genetic factors, or brain injuries that occur during early childhood.

Studies have found that Epidiolex has shown promising results in helping manage seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). Let’s look at some results! 

Two 14-week clinical trials have analysed the effectiveness of Epidiolex for treating seizures in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. 

In the first study, researchers compared the antiseizure effect of 20 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of Epidolex per day with a placebo. From this study, they found that half of the participants who took Epilolex experienced 44 percent fewer seizures, whereas half of the participants in the placebo group experienced 22 percent fewer seizures.

The second study compared the effects of 10 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg daily doses of Epidolex with a placebo. Both Epidiolex groups had significantly fewer seizures than the placebo group, with half the participants who took 20 mg/kg of Epidiolex per day experiencing 42 percent fewer seizures and half the participants who took 10 mg/kg per day experiencing 37 percent fewer seizures. However, half the participants in the placebo group experienced only 17 percent fewer seizures.

CBD for Dravet Syndrome

Dravet syndrome, also known as severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI), is a rare and severe form of epilepsy that begins in infancy, typically within the child’s first year of life. 

Treatment for Dravet syndrome usually involves a combination of antiepileptic medications to manage seizures.

CBD for Seizures/ Epilepsy: What You Need to Know
CBD-based medication, Epidiolex, has been approved for the treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome and has shown effectiveness in reducing seizure frequency in some patients.

Clinical trials and studies have indicated that Epidiolex, when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan alongside other antiepileptic medications, can lead to a significant reduction in seizure frequency in individuals with Dravet Syndrome. This includes generalised tonic-clonic seizures, myoclonic seizures, and other seizure types associated with this condition.

In one study, 120 children and young adults with the Dravet syndrome received either cannabidiol oral solution or placebo, in addition to standard antiepileptic treatment. The primary endpoint was the change in convulsive-seizure frequency over a 14-week treatment period. The results showed that among patients with the Dravet syndrome, cannabidiol resulted in a greater reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency (12.4 to 5.9 seizures per month) than placebo (14.9 to 14.1 seizures per month).

CBD for Other Causes of Seizures

While additional research is necessary to discover if CBD is effective at treating other kinds of seizures, some early studies have found promising results.

A 2018 study examined the effect of CBD on 55 people with 1 of 4 types of epileptic syndromes: CDKL5 deficiency disorder, Doose syndrome, Aicardi syndrome and Dup15q syndrome.

The participants had an average of 59.4 seizures per month. After 12 weeks, the average went down to 22.5 per month, and this improved rate persisted over the entire 48 weeks of the study.

How to Use CBD Oil for Seizures

Using CBD oil for managing seizures, particularly in conditions like epilepsy, typically involves a cautious and personalised approach. Here are some important tips when doing so:

  • Consult with a doctor/ health care provider – It’s very important to work with a doctor or healthcare provider who’s experienced in treating seizure disorders when using CBD oil to treat seizures. Your doctor can help determine if CBD will interact with any of your current medications, and they can provide guidance on a suitable dosage, and monitor its effects on seizure frequency and intensity.
  • Begin with a low dosage – Start with a low dose of CBD oil and gradually increase it over time. Starting with a low dose helps to monitor how your body responds to the treatment and aids in minimising potential side effects.
  • Choose high-quality CBD oil: Ensure you’re only using a reputable, high-quality CBD oil product. Choose products that have been tested for purity and potency, ideally with third-party lab testing results available.
  • Be consistent & monitor – Maintain consistency in using CBD oil regularly to monitor its effects, as this will help to evaluate how the treatment impacts seizure frequency over the period of time. Remember, regular check-ins with your healthcare provider are essential to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments.

CBD for Seizures/ Epilepsy: What You Need to Know
When considering CBD oil for seizures, it’s crucial to approach it as part of an overall treatment plan. It might be used in conjunction with other antiepileptic medications, therapies, and lifestyle adjustments to manage seizures effectively.

Choosing a CBD Product for Seizures

When choosing a CBD product for managing seizures, particularly in conditions like epilepsy, a number of important factors should be considered to ensure safety, efficacy, and quality. These include things like CBD purity, CBD concentration, type of CBD product & reputable brands.

1. Purity & Quality

First and foremost, you only want to choose high-quality CBD products derived from reputable sources. Look for products that have undergone third-party testing to confirm their potency and purity. These tests should be readily available for review, ensuring the absence of contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, or residual solvents.

Broad-spectrum CBD is a great option for those who want to experience the effects of CBD without consuming THC, the psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. Some clinical reports suggest that broad or full-spectrum CBD may have a better effect due to the number of cannabinoids and other plant compounds they contain that work together, otherwise known as the entourage effect

2. CBD Concentration and Dosage

You will also want to determine the CBD concentration and dosage that suits your individual needs. Finding the right dose and administration method can be a trial-and-error process as results can vary significantly from person to person. It is recommended that lower concentrations are best for beginners and can be gradually increased as necessary. 

CBD dosages can vary, so consulting with a healthcare provider is essential to determine the appropriate amount for managing seizures. 

3. Type of CBD Product

CBD is available in various forms, including  oils, topicals, capsules, edibles, and vape pens, so take time to research all different options available and choose a dosage that suits your needs.  CBD oil or tinctures, for instance, are often preferred for ease of dosing and fast absorption. 

Remember, the effectiveness of CBD may vary from person to person; what works for one individual may not work for another.

4. Reputable Brand and Reviews

Choosing products from reputable and well-reviewed brands is absolutely crucial when it comes to efficacy and most importantly, safety. Reading customer reviews and checking for the brand’s reputation can offer insights into the product’s effectiveness and customer satisfaction, so make sure you do your research prior to choosing a brand.

Need additional help? Take our CBD Quiz for product recommendations in minutes, or read our full guides on How to Choose the Right CBD Product and The Different Types of CBD

We are Purity Hemp, the UK’s #1 Online CBD provider. Backed by science, and built on the principles of traceability, transparency & trust, we are dedicated to improving the health & wellness of people around the world.We are proud to be one of the only companies to guarantee full traceability from seed to shelf with our premium range of CBD products, tested by third-party, independent quality control analysts.

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Directions for Use:

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  • Add dose directly to your pet’s food, stirring it in if necessary
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Weight of Pet Regular Dosage Strong Dosage
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20 to 40lbs/9-18kg 2 to 8 drops 8 to 16 drops
Over 40lbs/18kg 4 to 20 drops 16 to 40 drops

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*This product is sold for use by pets only, as it contains CBD Isolate.

We recommend discussing the use of CBD with a qualified vet, especially if your pet is pregnant or nursing a litter.

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