Can CBD help with seizures? Science says: yes.
As of this moment, there is exactly one CBD-based medication that’s approved federally by the FDA.
It’s called Epidiolex, and it’s a plant-based formulation of CBD that’s designed to treat epileptic seizures in people over the age of 2 who have Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
What’s more, it’s in fact the first-ever approved medication for seizures found in Dravet syndrome.
What this means is that we have enough clinical, scientific proof of the benefits of CBD for the government to approve its use as a prescription pharmaceutical.
This is fantastic news for those of us who already believe in the massive wellness potential of CBD, and we’re sure to see more and more uses for CBD be approved as research continues.
But for now, as always, shopCBD is only reporting on what’s been conclusively, 100% proven.
So can CBD help with seizures? The results are in, and the answer is: yes.
What type of seizures can it help with?
Right now, Epidiolex is approved to treat seizures associated with two kinds of childhood-onset epilepsy:
- Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS)
- Dravet Syndrome
These are two, relatively rare, forms of childhood epilepsy, notable for intense seizures, cognitive impairment and behavioral disorders.
Typically, the medications prescribed for these conditions range from valproic acid to benzodiazepines, both of which carry their own risks of side effects.
Valproic acid is known to cause nausea, vomiting, sleepiness and dry mouth, with more severe side effects including liver problems.
Benzodiazepines, on the other hand, can be severely addictive and cause impairment. For example, it’s not recommended to drive after taking a benzodiazepine like clonazepam.
CBD is relatively new as a treatment for seizures caused by LGS or Dravet syndrome, but its approval by the FDA shows major promise for CBD as a treatment option for seizures. A big reason for its approval was the reduced side effects when compared to traditional treatments.
How does it help?
Cannabis products, both those containing THC and CBD, have been considered for treatment of epileptic seizures for some time. But a recent study in the Journal of Epilepsy Research found that “cannabidiol (CBD) shows a better defined anticonvulsant profile in animal models and is largely devoid of adverse psychoactive effects and abuse liability” when compared to products containing THC.
Additionally, the same study stated that “CBD was found to be superior to placebo in reducing the frequency of convulsive (tonic-clonic, tonic, clonic, and atonic) seizures,” going on to say that “for the first time, there is now class 1 evidence that adjunctive use of CBD improves seizure control in patients with specific epilepsy syndromes.”
This is huge news for CBD lovers – a major milestone in the future acceptance of CBD as a therapeutic substance.
But… how does it work?
In short, cannabinoids like CBD work by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in your body. These receptors play an important role in the regulation and control of synaptic transmission. Since seizures are a result of abnormal neuronal activity in your brain, it makes sense that a substance known to help regulate those transmissions would help curb seizures.
Research is still ongoing, but what we know for sure is that CBD helps reduce seizures in patients with LGS and Dravet syndrome by helping to regulate brain activity.
What does the FDA say?
First of all, the FDA said that the proof for CBD’s effectiveness in treating seizures was strong enough to open it up to the public.
That’s a major, major milestone – it’s the first cannabis-derived medication ever approved by the agency.
“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., in the FDA’s official press release announcing the approval of CBD for treatment of seizures.
What does it mean for you?
Well, if you or someone you know suffers from either LGS or Dravet syndrome, a whole new world of therapeutic options just opened up.
And for the rest of us?
The FDA’s approval of a cannabis-derived drug is a huge step forward towards further research and development of CBD products, especially as they relate to medical issues.