CBD for Epilepsy: Can It Effectively Treat Seizures?

Treating Epilepsy with CBD

Seizures occur when your brain experiences a surge of electricity. These electrical pulses travel to the muscles thus causing twitching of the limbs.

A seizure can be generalized or partial.

A generalized seizure means that the abnormal electrical pulse was wide spread, this type of seizure involves the whole brain. While a partial seizure involves a small area of the brain.

Each type of seizure has its own implications, plus seizures vary in severity and symptoms.

You may just stare blankly into space for a bit. While the other end of the spectrum has aggressive thrashing and in extreme cases, patients have been known to severely injure their tongue.

Epilepsy is also referred to as seizure disorder, and it’s the fourth most common neurological disorder. Epilepsy in itself is not exactly fatal unless the seizures last for more than five minutes.


You may also develop a complication called sudden death. This is exactly death, a sudden difficult-to-explain death.

For the purpose of this article, we will look into primary epilepsy. Secondary epilepsy is easy enough to understand as all you have to do is look at the underlying condition.

For you to be considered epileptic you have to have at least two seizures. Alternatively, you could have one seizure but a very high possibility of a second one.

According the the World Health Organization (WHO), epilepsy affects approximately 50 Million people in the world. A third of this number has to contend with the uncontrollable seizures due to ineffective treatment.

One of the greatest fears for epilepsy patients is the unpredictability of seizures. They could happen while you are driving or while you are in the swimming pool.

The possibility of an epileptic drowning is much higher than the alternative.

In most countries, epileptics have to indicate that they have not had a seizure for a prescribed amount of time before they are allowed to drive.

There is also the high chance that you can fall and injure something vital during a seizure. Let’s jump into how the benefits of CBD can be used to treat epilepsy!

Science Backs Up Claims About The Benefits of CBD for Epilepsy

Science Proves the Benefits of Treating Epilepsy for CBD

The anticonvulsant properties of cannabis have been utilized since early civilization. The world is still trying to make sense of the mechanism of primary epilepsy.

In 1978, an experiment was conducted with 9 random epilepsy patients. CBD was administered to four out of those nine. Out of those, two reported complete and total freedom from seizures.

Another study was conducted by the American Epilepsy Society to look into the efficacy and safety of Epidiolex.

Epidiolex is a purely CBD drug aimed at treatment of epilepsy conditions common in children and infants.

It was found that the drug reduced both frequency and severity of the seizures by more than 45%. It was also found that the CBD helped increase alertness by 43% and social interaction by 40%. Attention was also increased by 30%.

These situations arise as a consequence of suffering from epilepsy.

If these studies and the many more out there do not convince you of the efficacy of CBD, just read about the little girl who changed the cannabis-epilepsy field forever.

Charlotte Figi used to experience hundreds of seizures every week. The parents rebelled against the social and legal expectations and gave their little girl some CBD oil to help with her seizures.

Today she is a happy girl whose seizures have decreased significantly, helping to drastically improve her overall quality of life.

This is not the only cannabis-epilepsy story out there. There are many more. The masses have adopted cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy. It is up to the authorities to catch up!

The general consensus is that CBD can make epileptic seizures less frequent.

The mechanism of action is not exactly known but it is assumed that CBD modulates the endogenous systems including but not limited to synaptic and extra synaptic GABA channels.

Hippocampal Atrophy

A study was conducted to look into the claims of brain damage due to prolonged seizures. Experimental animal models were induced with intense limbic seizures.

A pattern of hippocampal damage was discovered which was similar to hippocampal sclerosis. Moving to humans, tests found that after prolonged seizures the hippocampus would enlarge.

In most cases, it would go back to normal after about 24 hours. However, later atrophy was found.

There was a negative correlation between grey matter volume and seizure duration. Upon introspection, high frequency of seizures was found to bring about bilateral temporal lobe metabolic dysfunction.

CBD being an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory has obvious neuroprotective and neurogenesis properties.

CBD can protect the brain from the adverse effects of these seizures. After the fact, CBD can be used to begin reclaiming atrophied parts of the brain to reverse neurodegeneration.

There is very little that CBD can do about the Sudden Death Syndrome, which affects about 1% of epilepsy patients all over the world. However, it can take care of this.

CBD Dosage for Epilepsy

The Right CBD Dosage for Treating Epilepsy

Epilepsy medications bring on some very severe side effects. They are effective but they leave you in a pitiful condition.

Some side effects of seizure medications include dizziness, nausea, headache, vomiting, fatigue, vertigo, blurred vision, and tremors.

Most or all of these can be mitigated by CBD. A physician should be consulted before using CBD to abate these side effects.

Usually the dosage instructions for CBD are pretty simple. Start with the lowest dose then gradually adjust upwards until you begin to feel the desired results.

A review of research was conducted at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Sydney. The report was later published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.

The researchers reviewed 6 randomized trials and 30 observational studies. They found that CBD was indeed helpful in childhood epilepsy. They also concluded that the right dosage is 20 mg every day.

Another study had the dosage start at a much lower level of 7 mg for every 140 lbs with an up-adjustment of 1 mg every 12 hours if effects are not felt.

The Mayo Clinic conducted their own study in 2014 where they found that an epileptic patient could consume 200-300 mg safely by oral consumption.

The only way to get the dosage right especially for an epileptic is to consult a physician.

Epilepsy therapy is not a matter of guessing games. In most cases your doctor will support the CBD decision.

A survey was conducted to find that 90% of physicians would prescribe CBD. So do not be afraid to be shot down!

Contribution to Scientific Advancement

There have been many clinical trials and observational studies to look into the possible therapeutic options of CBD and epilepsy.

Anyone, as long they satisfy the given criteria, can volunteer. You do not have to be epileptic to be significant in clinical trials.

These trials are meant to develop the newest and best treatments using CBD for epilepsy. Through the same, researchers are also able to ascertain other aspects of care like screening.

Recently, there was a pre-trial phase added. Phase 0 is meant to weed out drugs that will not go too far into the process.

They typically involve about ten candidates.

The point of this stage is to see how the drug works and how the body reacts to it. The last stage is Phase 4, which is actually optional.

This stage is useful in breaking into new populations and new seizure types that were previously unexplored.

The three stages feature a gradual growth in number of subjects and even geographical coverage as progress moves from one phase to another. Phase 3, if good results are achieved can be submitted to the FDA for approval.

Getting involved in CBD clinical trials for epilepsy would be a big deal but you must remember to ask a few questions.

The first issue is informed consent. The body conducting the trial must give all the information available so that you can sign on the dotted line with full knowledge of the possibilities.

Check on how the safety of subjects is monitored and consider the expectations.

The NIH website has a clinical trials platform on which you can learn more.

The Epilepsy Foundation also has the same. However, if a clinical trial is not for you. Just giving feedback on your use of CBD for epilepsy would go a long way in the endeavor!

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