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CBD Oil For Seizures: All You Should Know

December 14, 2021

For decades, scientists have been exploring the medicinal benefits of the 100+ cannabinoids present in marijuana. THC and CBD are by far the most understood, and in more recent years, CBD oil for seizures got approved by the FDA. 

Convulsions happen when uncontrollable changes in the electrical activity in the brain occur. An array of conditions can trigger them in adults, children, and animals

The most common cause of regular seizures is epilepsy, which over 50 million people suffer from worldwide. 

CBD and epilepsy research has found the compound to successfully reduce the number of convulsions a patient has. The cannabinoid has proven especially effective in treating rare and severe forms of the syndrome.

Join us as we take a more in-depth look at CBD oil for seizures. We unravel what the cannabinoid does, how effective it is, and discuss the best anti-convulsant strains, amongst other things. 

Medical CBD oil for seizures
Medical CBD oil for seizures

Does CBD oil help with seizures?

Classical pharmaceutical-based medicines for seizure control have up to a 40% failure rate. Patients also report the side effects from the treatment can be much worse than having convulsions. 

A viable alternative treatment to fill the unmet need of these patients was required to give them a better quality of life

Thankfully, CBD oil for epilepsy came to light to reduce convulsion frequency and an array of other side effects. It even proved successful in lowering seizure rates in typically treatment-resistant forms of the disorder.

In 2018 the first purified CBD isolate solution called Epidiolex was approved by the FDA to treat rare types of epilepsy Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. After some time, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex joined the list.

How does CBD oil stop seizures?

To answer this, we first must understand what is CBD? 

CBD is a major cannabinoid and accounts for around 40% of the entire plant's extract. Unlike THC, it displays very little effort to bind to the endocannabinoid system's main receptors CB1 and CB2.  

Instead, it modulates an array of other receptors, biological pathways, and ion channels via the system. 

Research is still underway to understand CBD oil for epilepsy fully. Science suggests CBD for seizures works by interacting with the GPR55 receptor and TRPV1 channels in the brain. 

CBD antagonizes the GPR55 receptor while taking over chemical messengers between synapses. As a result, the compound lowers neuronal excitability, preventing the onset of seizures. 

TRPV1 channels, which run throughout the central nervous system and brain, are responsible for how your body feels pain.  

People who have epilepsy have more of these receptors in their temporal lobes than those who don't have the condition. The use of CBD oil desensitizes TRPV1 and calms brain activity. 

To clarify, does CBD oil help with seizures? Yes, it does but to what extent is individual to each person. Research continues to explore CBD for other convulsion-causing conditions.

Taking cannabis CBD oil
Taking cannabis CBD oil

How effective is CBD oil for seizures?

Research surrounding CBD oil and seizures is still underway to determine the compound's true effectiveness.

The three types of epilepsy that the FDA has approved CBD as a treatment for have received the most rigorous human studies

Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome are rare and severe epilepsies that are highly resistant to medicines. For these patients, CBD oil for epilepsy significantly reduced their seizures count and continues to help them manage their symptoms.

Many drugs are on the market to aid patients in controlling their seizures. However, none are known to prevent the further development of conditions or boast mild and easily manageable side effects like CBD. 

Further studies also highlight that CBD oil for seizures is effective in reducing convulsions for other reasons. Anything that interrupts the brain's natural rhythm can cause a convulsion from a high temperature to a head injury

How to use CBD oil for epilepsy?

The dosage for CBD oil and seizures is difficult to quantify and depends on the severity of each patient's condition alongside their resistance to treatment.

You should always consult your physician before using CBD to ensure it won't affect any other medications. The recommended approach to using CBD oil for seizures is to find the lowest effective dose.

Those using Epidiolex, for example, will start with 2.5mg/kg twice daily. If convulsion rates don’t drop after a week, the dosage can increase to 5mg/kg and again a week later to 10mg/kg twice a day if needed. 

Once you begin using CBD oil for epilepsy, you mustn't stop suddenly, as this can cause an increase in convulsions. 

Choosing the right oil is key to successfully alleviating symptoms. On the market, there are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate products. 

The latter contains the CBD cannabinoid only and is the type of oil in the FDA-approved medication. Isolate products are more likely to give greater and more consistent effects than any other oils.

You can also find CBD edibles and vape cartridges. However, how effective these methods are for treating seizures is unknown. 

Cannabis CBD oil
Cannabis CBD oil

CBD oil for seizures in adults

As we now know, there are three conditions in which the FDA approves CBD isolate treatment. Each of these forms of epilepsy develops during infancy. 

Tuberous Sclerosis Complex is the most recent to be under the spotlight. The genetic condition leads to noncancerous tumors growing throughout the body, including the brain, triggering seizures. 

Symptoms, severity, and risk to life increase into adulthood. Clinical trials of Epidiolex CBD oil for seizures in adults found positive results. When given 25 mg/kg to 50 mg/kg of the solution, patients experienced a 40%+ improvement rate

There are many other triggers for seizures in adults, such as high blood pressure, toxic exposure, and drug abuse. 

More research is needed to approve CBD oil as a form of treatment for these instances. Early studies show promising results, with many people are turning to the compound regardless.

Adults can easily take CBD oil for seizures. Drop the solution under the tongue onto the large vein that runs underneath for fast absorption. 

CBD oil for seizures in children

The FDA-approved CBD oil for seizures known as Epidiolex is for use in children over two diagnosed with Dravet, Lennox-Gastaut, and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex syndrome.

Beyond these rare forms of epilepsy, there are four other epileptic conditions which researchers are working to prove that Epidiolex will work for; these include: 

  • CDKL5 deficiency disorder
  • Aicardi syndrome
  • Doose syndrome
  • Dup15q syndrome

The solution comprises around 98% CBD isolate and offers children who display treatment resistance a stronger and more consistently effective medication than is already available. 

Long-term results are under scrutiny.

Many studies dictate that children's seizure rates can increase after the age of four, and side effects worsen in some cases. Again more exploration into why this occurs and what can be done to stop it is needed.

Adults administering CBD oil for seizures in children should work closely with their family physician. Many kids don't like the taste—try adding it to a juice drink to disguise the medicine.

Cannabis oil for dog seizures

Research surrounding CBD oil for dog seizures is sponsored by the AKC Canine Foundation (CHF) at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science. 

The study aims to assess the use of the compound for epileptic dogs resistant to current treatments. 

If successful, it’ll be the first of its kind to gain such scientific data. 

So far, research has discovered that CBD can help give dogs pain relief and reduce convulsions in severe epilepsy cases. These findings correlate and support the FDA's approval of Epidiolex for use in children. 

Although there’s no definitive scientific backing, anecdotal evidence also reports that CBD in canines has many therapeutic benefits, including suppressing pain, anxiety, and seizures. 

Many dog owners turning to this alternative medication ask how much CBD oil should I give my dog for seizures? As it's not an approved medication, there are no official dosages. 

Like humans, you should administer the lowest possible amount and work upwards until you find a balance between results and side effects. 

It can be tricky giving a CBD oil dosage for dog seizures under your canine's tongue. Instead, you can add it to their food or water. 

Medical CBD oil and treats for pets
Medical CBD oil and treats for pets

CBD oil for cats seizures

At this time, very little research has touched upon CBD oil for cats seizures. As is often the case, owners and veterinarians must interpret the findings of studies focused on dogs. 

Like the anecdotal evidence of CBD oil for seizures in dogs, many people report that the cannabinoid is safe for cats and effectively relieves convulsion symptoms.

Common side effects include sleepiness and upset stomachs. These symptoms are most likely a result of high doses, which, when lowered, discontinue.

Starting treatment with a low quantity and increasing the amount gradually is ideal for finding the correct dosage. It’ll also help a fussy cat get used to the change in the flavor of their food or water.

How long does CBD for epilepsy take to work?

There currently isn't a recommended dose for CBD therapy of this kind. The dose depends on the quality and type of CBD product, how it's administered, and the user's tolerance. 

These factors will also affect how quickly the cannabinoid settles seizures.

When taken orally via edibles, oils, or capsules, the effects generally start between 30 minutes and 2 hours later. 

Are there any side effects associated with CBD oil for epilepsy?

When ingesting CBD oil for epilepsy or any other reason, there are several side effects worth noting. 

The majority of these are usually mild. The most common include:

  • An upset stomach
  • Change of appetite
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness—may make it unsafe for some people to drive or operate heavy machinery
  • Fatigue

CBD can also increase the risk of liver damage, particularly for those using it alongside other medications. If you have a history of liver issues, your physician should monitor liver function if you opt for CBD therapy.  

Best CBD oil for seizures: how to choose the right product for you?

Purchasing a high-quality CBD oil for seizures is vital in alleviating symptoms. 

When choosing from the countless available products, search for ones that openly display the contents of the oil and research any terms you don't understand. Avoid ones that use sweeping health claims. 

A reputable retailer uses third-party lab testing that analyses the amount of each specific compound and ensures the oil is free from other contaminants. 

These details are particularly important for people with epilepsy avoiding high levels of THC, which could have the opposite effects you desire.

If you prefer to vape, steer clear of products containing Propylene Glycol

When ignited, it can irritate the eyes and nose. It's also been linked to increased asthma attacks and cancer risk—always opt for solvent-free oils

What is the average CBD oil dosage for seizures?

The FDA dictates that it's illegal to put dosages on CBD oil products, excluding the approved Epidiolex. As a result, there’s been an evident lack of human trials.

There’s also no standardization of the concentrations found in commercial products, and every person reacts differently to the compound. Together, these factors make it highly difficult to determine an 'average dose' for CBD and epilepsy. 

Epidiolex studies showed that most patients found relief from their symptoms when they took between 20 to 30 mg/kg of the solution a day.  

Dosing cannabis CBD oil
Dosing cannabis CBD oil

Can CBD interact with other medications for seizures?

You should always discuss CBD oil and seizures with your physician before starting any form of treatment.

Like anything you ingest, there’s a possibility that weed could negatively interact with other medications you're taking or certain foods

More specifically, CBD can react with electrolytes using the CYP450 enzymatic pathways in the body. 

Using CBD oil for epilepsy alongside already prescribed medicine for the condition has varying results. For some, it may increase the effectiveness known as the entourage effect, while others experience an increase in their seizure count. 

Anti-epileptic drugs known to react with CBD include: 

  • Zonisamide
  • Valproic acid
  • Topiramate
  • Stiripentol
  • Rufinamide
  • Eslicarbazepine
  • Clobazam
  • Brivaracetam

Some people report having sudden suicidal ideation when combining pharmaceutical drugs with CBD. Take care to recognize changes in your mood or behavior and seek help if you need it. 

Nevertheless, you should never swap out your medication to use CBD oil for seizures as a replacement without working with your physician to appropriately adjust your dosages first.  

What are the best strains of CBD for seizures?

The use of full spectrum high CBD strains of marijuana vs. CBD isolate oils for seizures is highly debated with conflicting results. It isn't proven which one is more effective, and it seems, once again, it depends on varying factors personal to the patient. 

The FDA stands by their choice to only approve isolates at this time, but many believe this may be down to current laws and funding hindering research development. 

In 2011 Charlotte Figi, who had treatment-resistant Dravet syndrome since infancy, began taking hemp CBD oil for grand mal seizures. 

It was infused with low levels of THC and helped to largely reduce her symptoms which often hit up to 300 a day. The results were so groundbreaking that the strain used for the oil was renamed Charlotte's Web, and it's now considered one of the best CBD oil for seizures on the market. 

A further study in 2018 cemented this theory for many when it found that cannabis products with a heavy CBD percentage had a more profound effect on users than the pure form. 

Marijuana oil for seizures was later disputed in 2020 when other research explored commercial products likely containing higher THC levels than pure, prescription CBD. It was found that commercial CBD was the trigger for increased seizures. 

Research is yet to determine to what extent THC heightens seizures. It's possible that in low percentages, its interactions with CBD causes an entourage effect in favor of combating convulsions. 

Many believe this to be true and opt for low THC, high-CBD marijuana strains for a home remedy. 

With no standards set for commercial sale, it's crucial you select only high-quality products. Doing this increases the reliability of the CBD and THC percentages on the label as they’re more likely to have undergone testing. 

The most popular strains on the market used by medicinal patients fighting seizures include: 

  • Charlotte's Web
  • Ringo's Gift 
  • Cannatonic 
  • Purple Urkle 
  • Sweet & Sour Widow
  • Haleigh's Hope
  • Harlequin 
  • Grape Ape 

Each strain delivers different levels of cannabinoids alongside unique flavor profiles and effects

CBD oil
CBD oil and cannabis buds

Final Points about cannabis oil and seizures

CBD oil and seizures is an ongoing topic of research that has unearthed promising results and expanded the cannabinoid's medicinal use in recent years. The FDA's approval for it as a treatment for three types of epilepsy is a groundbreaking step in the right direction. 

As opinions on marijuana and laws loosen, more high-quality research is getting underway. So far, early evidence suggests the effectiveness of cannabis oil for dog seizures, other animals, and non-epileptic-related convulsions.

How much it can help a patient, appropriate dosages, and which type of CBD oil is best to use are still under scrutiny. CBD reacts differently with each individual. What works for you may not be the same for others. 

Before opting to use CBD oil for seizures, speak with your physician. They can help you monitor the effects, track progress, and ensure the compound doesn't negatively react with any other medications. Remember to check out our high CBD selection of seeds. If home cultivation is legal where you live, why not grow your own medicine? Pick a strain, buy your seeds, and start your weed garden today.

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