CBD and Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages.
Although the symptoms of a seizure may affect any part of the body, the electrical events that produce the symptoms occur in the brain. The location of that event, how it spreads, how much of the brain is affected, and how long it lasts all have profound effects. These factors determine the character of a seizure and its impact on the individual.
Epilepsies are classified as:
- Generalized epilepsy – The seizures affect both sides of the brain. These seizures affect awareness of the patient, stiffening and jerking of muscles.
- Focal epilepsy – In focal epilepsy, the seizures start in one region of the brain and it may spread to other regions of the brain. In these types of seizures the patient may not be able to talk, may act vague, confused or disoriented
- Combined generalized and focal epilepsy – The symptoms include a combination of generalized and focal epilepsy.
- Unknown epilepsy – These seizures cannot be diagnosed as either focal or generalized seizures
Epilepsy was earlier thought to be a spiritual condition. In the world’s earliest description of an epilepsy episode, the person was thought to be under the influence of a moon god and underwent an exorcism. Throughout ancient times due to the uncertainty they were dealing with people often attributed the seizures to being possessed by evil spirits.
A breakthrough came when Hippocrates in his work On the Sacred Disease proposed that epilepsy was not divine in origin but a medically treatable problem in the brain. As one might wonder there was a lot of absurdity surrounding the condition, it was even reported people used to spit on the chest of people believing that it would help the problem from affecting them.
Modern medicine has made it possible for us to better understand the inner workings of epilepsy. Through methods like EEG, CT scan and MRI scans it has been understood that when diagnosing patients, we have to look for abnormal brain wave patterns. These abnormal brain wave patterns correlate with the seizures that patients experience.
According to a recent study there are 70 million people with epilepsy worldwide and 90% of them are from developing countries of which 35 million are from Asia and nearly 12 million people are expected to reside in India.
The treatment of epilepsy is mainly based on prescribing antiseizure medications to the patient. These antiseizure medicines act as mood stabilizers for patients.
While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a “high.” According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases it was able to stop them altogether
The researchers found that a single injection of CBD substantially lessened seizure severity in mice when the seizures were experimentally triggered by elevated body temperature or loud sounds. A typical anti-convulsant dose of CBD (100 mg/kg) caused mild sedation in mice but had little effect on motor coordination or balance. CBD also restored the normal brain rhythms which are commonly impaired in Angelman syndrome.
In a year-long study conducted by epilepsy specialists at the New York University Langone Medical Center, results have suggested that CBD, a derivative of medical marijuana effectively reduces seizure frequency and is safe for most children and young adults who have epilepsy.
For the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers followed 225 people with an average age of 16 for 14 weeks. The participants had an average of 85 drop seizures per month, had already tried an average of six epilepsy drugs that did not work for them and were taking an average of three epilepsy drugs during the study.
Participants were given either a higher dose of 20 mg/kg daily cannabidiol, a lower dose of 10 mg/kg daily cannabidiol or placebo as an add-on to their current medications for 14 weeks.
Those taking the higher dose had a 42 percent reduction in drop seizures overall, and for 40 percent, their seizures were reduced by half or more.
Those taking the lower dose had a 37 percent reduction in drop seizures overall, and for 36 percent, seizures were reduced by half or more.
Those taking the placebo had a 17 percent reduction in drop seizures, and for 15 percent, seizures were reduced by half or more.
Nearly 40 percent of people with LGS, which starts in childhood, had at least a 50 percent reduction in drop seizures when taking a liquid form of cannabidiol compared to 15 percent taking a placebo.
While there is a lot more research that needs to be done, we can say that CBD has shown to be an effective treatment for epilepsy with research done so far
It is important to note that subjects were generally healthy and were on an anti-inflammation diet, which helped in the positive outcomes of the subject's health
So, it is suggested the pain killing effects of CBD could be used to introduce an exercise and nutrition routine.
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