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Can You Use CBD Oil for Seizures?


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CBD oil for seizures has been verified in a number of independent studies. Many states that have legalized medical marijuana have included epileptic seizures as a valid reason for legal use. Do you suffer from seizures or have a loved one afflicted with the condition? We’ll explain how CBD products may help and play a legitimate role in your treatment regimen.

What the Science Says

As with any claim, you need to look at the actual independently verified studies and not at personal anecdotes or studies paid for by for-profit companies. Many independent studies are available in this area, and they all paint a positive picture. One study showed that CBD may be effective for treating adolescents with a history of epileptic seizures1.

A separate study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that cannabidiol CBD is effective for treating Dravet Syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy. Subjects as young as 2.5-years-old saw reduced instances of convulsive seizures after a 14-week trial.

Another study also suggests that CBD oil may be a legitimate form of treatment for patients who have not responded to traditional forms of medicine2.

Finally, a more recent 2017 study served as a follow-up on previous research3. This one delved further and investigated whether CBD oil may lead to side effects or have adverse effects when taken with other medication. While researchers concluded a need for more long-term studies, its overall findings were favorable and suggested that CBD use is generally safe.

The History of CBD Oil for Seizures

Even though western medicine is just starting to recognize its validity of for seizures, this is by no means a new revelation. Our ancestors were aware of the power of CBD well before the advent of modern science.

Records from a Sumerian text dating as far back as 2900 BC revealed cannabidiol use for seizure treatment. Similar records were found in Arabia in the 12th-century.

As western medicine came along, cannabis received further scrutiny. As far back as 1854, the U.S. Dispensatory was already administering cannabis to patients diagnosed with depression, inanity, chorea, tetanus, insomnia, and muscle pain. Around the same time in the UK, surgeon William O’Shaughnessy popularized its use for seizures. After treating a number of patients, O’Shaughnessy made this following observation:

“alleviation of pain in most, a remarkable increase of appetite in all, unequivocal aphrodisia, and great mental cheerfulness.”

How CBD Treats Epilepsy

Epilepsy is an extremely complex disorder. The condition occurs due to neuronal misfirings and abnormal electrical discharges in the brain. This results in the dreaded convulsions that arise out of the blue.

Of the approximately 85 different cannabinoids in medical cannabis, CBD is known to have the most anti-convulsive properties. How does CBD stop seizures? The science behind it is really complicated. Basically, CBD targets different regions of the brain that trigger convulsions. This includes the receptor agonists, GATA transcription factors, sodium and calcium ion channels, and glutamine receptor antagonists. The anti-convulsant properties in CBD may alter the neurotransmitters that attach themselves to the gazillion or so neurons. This changes the functioning of brain cells by altering how ions flow in and out.

Why Use It For Seizures?

Roughly 30% of Americans diagnosed with epilepsy do not respond to traditional medication. This may include a number of pharmaceutical drugs, such as clonazepam, primidone, phenytoin, and valproic acid to list a few. In addition, these medications may also induce a number of unwanted side effects, including weight gain, double vision, hair loss, and liver failure in more serious cases. When medications fail, it’s because they either don’t stop the convulsions or because side effects are too severe.

CBD oil may be the saving grace for anyone with epilepsy but especially for the 30% whose bodies don’t respond to traditional meds. CBD is also known to quell anxiety, which often arises as patients incessantly worry when their next convulsive episode will occur.

Is It Legal?

Is it legal to use for seizures? Federal law more or less permits any form of cannabis substance that contains THC concentrations below 0.3%. Ultimately, you have to refer to your state of residence to determine what state-law says regarding cannabis for epilepsy treatment.

Florida, for example, permits the use of cannabis with a THC content up to 0.8% if prescribed for treatment of chronic seizures. Similarly, Delaware has Rylie’s Law, which permits CBD use with THC levels as high as 7%. Users, however, are required to obtain a registry ID card from their local clinic. The card qualifies them as medical users due to conditions that include intractable epilepsy or similar conditions.

Visit Pro Con to see the specific laws for the 18 states that have some form of legislation in place regarding cannabis use for seizure treatment.

CBD for Epileptic Dogs

Obviously, this post is relevant to you if you suffer from any degree of epileptic seizures or have a loved one who lives with the condition. By loved one, we’re extending that definition to include pets. Epilepsy is not solely a human condition and an estimated 1% to 5% of canines also have convulsive episodes. This can be due to genetics (idiopathic seizure) or an external-induced factor (symptomatic seizure), such as head trauma or lead poisoning.

As with human treatment, canines may not respond to traditional medications. This explains the rising popularity of cannabis-specific treatment for your four-legged friends, such as CBD-infused biscuits and kibble.

Final Word

We want to make it clear that we’re not suggesting that CBD will magically make your seizures a thing of the past. However, we believe it’s one of the best remedies out there for keeping the condition under control. Aside from CBD use, we also recommend a healthy diet and sticking to certain foods that lower stress. As mentioned, epilepsy can cause deep anxiety, and eating the right types of foods and having the right mindset may be able to minimize undue stress. While epilepsy is a serious condition, most sufferers can still live a healthy and happy existence if they follow a sound treatment plan.

Medical References

Koo C, Kang H. Could Cannabidiol be a Treatment Option for Intractable Childhood and Adolescent Epilepsy? J Epilepsy Res. 2017;7(1):16-20. [PMC]
Rosenberg E, Tsien R, Whalley B, Devinsky O. Cannabinoids and Epilepsy. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):747-768. [PMC]
Iffland K, Grotenhermen F. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):139-154. [PMC]
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Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker has a degree in Neuroscience from Duke University, and is the research writer for The Universal Plant. He has dedicated his life to helping men and women around the world educate themselves and take action to improve their health with natural plant-based and nutrient therapies. Follow him on Instagram @_christopherwalker

6 thoughts on “Can You Use CBD Oil for Seizures?”

  1. hi,
    my dog started had his first seizure 6 month ago and every week it was worst, i didnt know what to do. after a month of seizerues i found out, by chance, about cbd. since then the seizures have decreased to a bearable discomfort for him and for my family.
    thank you

  2. I agree that CBD is a good treatment for seizures. I have seen my friend’s daughter suffering from it for the past 6 years and a few months back I recommended them CBD Oil. I’ve seen that she is doing well now and I hope that her health is good again. CBD is savage 🙂

  3. Hi
    We bought some hemp oil and want to try it, but don’t know how to take it?

  4. How to sensibly buy LEGAL cbd oil? Because I got a letter saying customs has confiscated my package two times already and I’m pissed.

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