CBD overview - a quick reminder
CBD is the shorthand name given to cannabidiol, one of the main active ingredients in the cannabis plant.
Due to the range of ways that CBD can act with the human body, many medical scientists anticipate that the CBD could support the treatment of various diseases.
In contrast to the much better known THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is not a psychoactive substance, so it doesn't make you high. Further, according to a WHO report, CBD poses no health risk and the substance does not lead to addiction.
There's a lot of science behind CBD but as a brief intro CBD interacts with what is called the endocannabinoid system, which is distributed all over the body and has an influence on our nervous system. We explain in much more detail the science behind how CBD works on the body and the endocannabinoid system on other pages so feel free to take a look.
How is CBD used for epilepsy
Scientists suspect that CBD can alleviate the severity and frequency of epileptic attacks (more on that in a moment). Nevertheless, it is not yet known precisely how CBD works in the human body in the event of epilepsy.
However, theories have been developed on the mode of action. For example, it is believed that CBD affects the hippocampus and can thus help with epilepsy. The hippocampus is an important hub for information in the brain and if this is disturbed, epilepsy can have an effect.
In addition to the individual use of CBD, it is also partially confirmed that a combination of THC and CBD can be useful when administered simultaneously.
This is how the so-called entourage effect is triggered. The entourage effect is explained on our more scientific page explaining the key cannabinoids in cannabis, but basically refers to the combined effect of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids and susbtances being greater than their individual effects (i.e. to borrow a popular phrase - the sum of the whole is greater than its parts).
However, products with a higher THC concentration can only be obtained with a doctor's prescription. What's more, when it comes to over the counter or online ordered CBD products in the UK, they are only legal if they do not contain THC or other controlled substances (of which cannabis is one). Therefore, you should be diligent in reading the product labels.
In any case, the use of CBD may be worth trying in patients in whom other antiepileptic drugs have failed and have therefore not improved.
The WHO states that there is no risk associated with CBD, and therefore may be useful in treatment for children with epilepsy
Which CBD oil for epilepsy?
For your first experience with CBD, a personal test run with a CBD oil might be best. When buying, you should make sure that you get a high quality product. To benefit from the entourage effect, you should consider using a full spectrum oil.
Generally speaking, most CBD newbies tend to start with a 10% concentration CBD oil.
What about hemp oil? Is it different to CBD oil?
Most hemp oils are only made from the hemp seeds, they do not contain the valuable ingredients of a cannabis oil (such as CBD) and should therefore be avoided in this case.
Hemp oil should be avoided as they do not contain the valuable ingredients of a cannabis oil.
Is CBD oil safe for epilepsy?
There are various studies and reports that have shown that CBD is not a dangerous substance, which has also been confirmed by the World Health Organisation. Nevertheless, there may be slight side effects when ingested.
The 5 most common side effects of CBD
5. Loss of appetite
Possible drug interaction
It's very important to note that you should refrain from taking CBD if you are currently taking other medications that are also broken down in the liver. This drug interaction could significantly affect liver function and even cause liver damage.
This is because here there can be interactions between the drug and CBD, since CBD inhibits the breakdown of, for example, Omeprazole. If this relates to you, a consultation with your healthcare provider.
It is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) that, in some cases (mainly for patients with the epilepsy syndromes dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome), CBD should be taken alongside the epilepsy drug clobazam.
This theory is reinforced in a study from 2019. The findings showed that seizures significantly improved when CBD and clobazam were combined, in comparison to when either treatment was taken alone.
On another positive note, a further study found that CBD's interaction with clobazam caused the latter's bioavailability to increase. This meant that the dose of clobazam could be reduced, thus reducing some unwanted side effects, such as sleepiness.
In recent years, NICE have been calling for further research on the use of CBD as a treatment for other types of epilepsy - more specifically more severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Can CBD be used for dogs with epilepsy?
Like humans, dogs can also suffer from epilepsy. In fact, it is the most common neurological disorder in our canine friends. Epilepsy affects 1 in 130 dogs in the UK alone.
Current treatments for canine epilepsy include Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide. Both can cause mild sedation.
Some research suggests that a ketogenic diet may be beneficial for dogs - which has also been suggested for humans.
Caring for a dog that suffers with epileptic seizures can be extremely distressing and can leave you feeling helpless. But there is good news! Research shows that CBD could be very effective in the treatment of canine epilepsy.
One study showed that there was a significant decrease in dog's epileptic seizures compared to a placebo group.
Similarly, another study showed found that 89% of dogs who received CBD had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.
And another study reported a significant reduction in seizure frequencies, although this study does list some limitations.
As is common in the world of CBD, while some very encouraging and promising results have been seen, further research is still desperately needed.
We must always be wary of the 'proof' the internet provides us with.. but we love this video of the effects of CBD on a dog that is struggling with a seizure.
Success Stories for CBD and epilepsy
Our success stories come from social media, other CBD websites or through people we know personally. Some people are comfortable sharing their names and products, others prefer to remain anonymous. We feel hearing other people's positive experiences are a vital part of learning about how CBD can help, although it is important to remember that not all CBD products work the same for everyone. Don't be disheartened if one product/dosage doesn't work for you... keep trying!
We'd love to hear your success stories! If you would like to share yours, please get in touch at email@example.com