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CBD for epilepsy
Health

What is CBD and can it be used to treat epilepsy?

What is CBD?

CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical compound derived from the hemp and the cannabis plant. It is available as CBD oil, CBD flower, or in powdered form. The hemp plant has many different kinds of cannabinoids, among which THC and marijuana are also found. These are intoxicating and illegal. However, cannabidiol is not intoxicating but is a medical drug used for the treatment of epilepsy.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system that gives rise to recurring seizure. These seizures are caused by an electrical activity that is registered as abnormal in the brain. This is caused due to disruptions in the electrical activity during the transmission of directions to and from the brain and the spinal cord.

Epilepsy is a chronic disease that has no cure, but it can be managed through several methods. Most children and teenagers suffer from epilepsy. However, it can be developed by anyone in any age group. According to a survey, one in every 26 people develops epilepsy. 

Although the sudden development of epilepsy is unexplained, experts are of the opinion that epilepsy is caused by genetic dispositions merged with environmental factors.

Using CBD in Epilepsy 

The FDA ( Food and Drug Administration) has approved only one CBD based drug for managing epilepsy. This CBD based drug is called Epidiolex. Epidiolex is a pharmaceutical compound that has to meet a set manufacturing standard that makes it better than using store-bought CBD, which is not FDA approved. Studies have revealed that store-bought CBD causes an increase in seizure instead of helping. Therefore, it is essential to use Epidiolex, which has been proven to decrease seizures by 39%. 

How effective is CBD for Epilepsy 

According to an analysis carried out in 2018, CBD rich cannabis was found more effective for the treatment of epilepsy than pure CBD. Although the intoxicating THC also reduces seizures, it is best avoided due to its side effects and risks. 

Epidiolex is a liquid solution taken orally. Its dosage depends on the severity of the disease along with the BMI of the patient. Usually, 2.5 to 5 mg of Epidiolex is recommended twice a day. 

Unfortunately,  Epidiolex is costly and is not affordable for many. Many who cannot afford it opt for store-bought CBD for the treatment of epilepsy.  

CBD is taken in the form of gummies or tinctures. But there is no accurate measurement of the amount of CBD to be consumed for the prevention of seizures. 

Should CBD oil be taken for the prevention of seizures in epilepsy?

There is evidence of CBD oil causing side effects when consumed for the prevention of seizures in epilepsy. According to research, some subjects showed an increase in the frequency of seizures after taking CBD oil. The increase has been estimated to be 70%. This is caused due to the amount of THC present in the CBD.

Side effects of CBD

Side effects of CBD experience by patients during clinical tests were as follows: 

*Diarrhea

*Fatigue 

*Drowsiness 

*Fever

*Vomiting

*Loss of appetite

*Change in liver function 

*Lethargy and sleepiness 

Interaction of CBD with other medications

CBD tends to interact with medicine containing warning regarding grapefruit. This is because, similar to grapefruit, CBD also affects the way you process these medications. 

There is a warning regarding grapefruit in some anti-epileptic medicine. Therefore one should avoid mixing CBD and these anti-epileptic drugs. 

Anti-seizure medicine also has the same interaction with CBD as anti-epileptic drugs. 

Finding Good Quality CBD

Epidiolex is the best option available for the treatment of epilepsy.  However, if you need other options, opt for high-quality CBD, which can produce results closer to Epidiolex. Following are some tips that would be useful for the selection of good quality CBD:

*Always read labels. Any product that claims to contain CBD has to specify if that CBD is derived from the hemp plant or cannabis. CBD taken from cannabis is a much better option.

*Look for flavorings on the label. In good quality CBD, you will find essential oils, coconut oil, olive oil or cranberry oil, etc.

*The concentration of CBD present in the product is always mentioned in good quality CBD.

*Product labels also mention certifications and lab analysis from third parties. 

CBD products should be tested by authentic laboratories. The certification issued by accredited labs is called COAs (Certificate of Analysis). It is essential that a COA report is attached with the label.

Conclusion

Epilepsy doesn’t leave the patient. It cannot be stopped, but it can be controlled through medications. Proper treatment can control long term frequently occurring seizures. The survey indicates that about 70% of people are successful in managing their seizures.

For managing epilepsy and decreasing seizures, people use Epidiolex or CBD. Among these, the Epidiolox is a better option. However, you can also use CBD. Precautions should be taken while consuming CBD regarding the quality of its product. It is also important to administer the dosage of CBD.

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