For many people with epilepsy, the existing drugs don’t work that well. What’s even worse is that studies are revealing that the rare, difficult-to-treat epilepsies are linked to a higher risk of premature death for children suffering from them.
Nevertheless, the good news is that there is plenty of evidence online from individuals who are positive that cannabis oil can help reduce epileptic seizures and allow those suffering from epilepsy to lead normal lives. The evidence is from those who have used cannabis oil on their children. This means that CBD oil has the potential to save many lives. And the evidence is not just anecdotal; there are also a handful of scientific studies that have confirmed the effectiveness of CBD oil insignificantly reducing the number of epileptic seizures experienced by children suffering from epilepsy.
How cannabis oil got into the public limelight as a treatment for Seizure Disorders
There are two very public cases that revealed to the world that cannabis oil is the wonder drug the world has been waiting for. One of the cases involved an American, while the other involved a Briton.
The first case is that of a girl by the name Charlotte Figi. The girl experienced her first life-threatening seizure when she was just a few months old. From then on things went downhill. The seizures occurred more frequently and were sometimes longer than two hours. The girl and her parents were in and out of hospitals throughout the next few weeks and months. After comprehensives tests were done over and over again, it was discovered that the girl had Dravet Syndrome.
But things did not get any better even with the medication that was recommended. The girl had to take seven heavy-duty medicines just to survive. However, as the months went by her condition worsened. At 24 months old, Charlotte started showing signs of cognitive decline. A few months later, she could barely eat, talk, or walk normally. Her father decided to resign from work to look after her.
The father spent the little free time he had to browse for solutions online. He later stumbled upon a report about a boy whose Dravet syndrome had been effectively remedied using cannabis. He decided to try it on his daughter as the situation had deteriorated so much so, that the daughter was experiencing 300 life-threatening seizures per week. Her heart had also stopped quite a number of times.
The father bought marijuana and had someone extract the oil from it and the results were very impressive. Upon giving the girl the first dose, she didn’t experience any of her three to four seizures per hour. She also didn’t experience any seizure for the rest of the week. From about 300 seizures a week, the administration of cannabis oil reduced them to utmost 3 a month.
The girl’s story was featured on CNN, Forbes, Newsweek, and other popular mainstream media.
The second case is that of Billy Caldwell. The boy was severely epileptic for a very long time before his mother opted to self-administer cannabis oil on him. This was in 2016. Upon the commencement of cannabis oil use, Billy did not experience any seizure from then on. He really improved in other aspects of development and could do many things that he was previously incapable of doing.
However, when the government confiscated the cannabis oil that Billy’s mother was importing from Canada, the seizures returned; the boy’s condition turned from positive to negative the moment he stopped getting the oil.
The boy’s epileptic seizures became life-threatening. However, after a public outcry on the boy’s predicament, the United Kingdom Home Office gave the boy a special permission to be treated using cannabis oil. The office also released some of the bottles of oil that Billy’s mother was importing for use by the boy but at a hospital location.
Once the boy resumed treatment, his seizures have again disappeared.
This second case also received plenty of media attention including from the likes of BBC, the Guardian, and the Sun.
These two real-life cases of cannabis oil being successfully used to treat seizure disorders show that there is good evidence that the oil is powerful enough and effective to treat seizure disorders.
However, what is the science behind it? How exactly does cannabis oil reduce seizure disorders? Read the next section to find out.
The Science behind the effectiveness of CBD for treating seizure disorders
Seizures happen when brain cells misfire; this interferes with the normal signal transmission in the brain. This interference usually brings about the loss of consciousness, convulsions, and sometimes it significantly alters senses.
Misfiring of brain cells can be brought about by viruses, hormonal imbalance, or head injuries. It can also happen as a result of a syndrome.
The cannabis plant has dozens of useful and active chemical compounds. The two most potent ones are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both have been demonstrated to interact with the nervous system to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.
CBD is said to be more powerful. THC is also powerful but it also gives the user a “high.”
CBD can interact with the endocannabinoid system which is part of the central nervous system in humans. By interacting with a part of the nervous system, cannabidiol has the effect of affecting how brain cells communicate. The interaction also has the effect of regulating the trigger and propagation of hyperexcitability of brain cells and subsequent epileptic seizures. In other words, CBD can be used as an anticonvulsant as it reduces excitation of brain cells helping prevent seizures in the process.
Studies have also revealed that cannabidiol is an indirect inhibitor of CB1 receptors in the nervous system. This action is known to reduce the excitation of brain neurons hence preventing convulsion.
Pharmaceutical companies making cannabis-based anti-epileptic drugs argue that the CBD has multiple synergistic anticonvulsant effects. Some of the effects include the anti-inflammatory effect (through modulating adenosine), the regulation of calcium through VDAC, and TRPV, and the inhibition of extra-synaptic and synaptic GABA channels. These effects cumulatively reduce the frequency and the duration of epileptic seizures according to researchers working for the pharmaceutical companies.
Based on these scientific evidences and mechanisms of action, it is clear that CBD can truly work the brain and other parts of the central nervous system to bring about considerable anti-epileptic effects.
Side effects of heavy drugs that are currently being used
Most of the heavy synthetic drugs being used right now as anticonvulsants/ antiepileptic drugs are working yes. However, the success of some of the drugs for some seizure conditions has not been very impressive.
The most common antiepileptic drugs include the likes of ethosuximide, phenobarbital, clonazepam, primidone, phenytoin, and valproic acid. Apart from the lack of ineffectiveness of these drugs for some seizure conditions, these drugs are heavy drugs; they have quite a number of unpleasant side effects.
Some of the side effects one may experience when taking synthetic drugs include mood disturbances, impotence, sedation, sleeplessness, irritability, slurring of speech, weight gain, double vision, depression, liver failure, loss of hair, nausea, and headaches.
It is these side effects that have driven many people to seek alternative treatment for themselves or for their children.
The good news is that CBD oil is emerging as a real alternative with no serious negative side effects. The oil is all-natural, it is effective, and it doesn’t pose the same negative effects that pharmaceutical anticonvulsants pose.
Moreover, tolerance to antiepileptic drugs is emerging as a serious issue. Tolerance is caused by prolonged exposure to the same drug. The development of tolerance to some pharmaceutical drugs has literally rendered some of them totally ineffective.
However, no cases of tolerance to cannabidiol oil have yet been reported. Furthermore, considering the fact that cannabidiol acts in several ways to prevent and reduce the severity of epileptic seizures, the chances of a patient developing tolerance to it are very slim.
Making of cannabis drugs is now gaining prominence
It is because of the ineffectiveness, the side effects, and the high percentages of tolerance that cannabis-based drugs are now being developed as anticonvulsants.
Quite a number of companies are in the process of researching or developing anticonvulsants based on CBD. No drug has yet been approved but several companies have made significant progress in trying to make CBD-based drugs a reality.
Many researchers and scientists think that CBD-based drugs will completely change the lives of patients suffering from seizure disorders.
However, at the same time, people are expecting the drugs to be somewhat expensive at first. Moreover, those who are suffering from life-threatening seizure disorders can’t afford to wait any longer for cannabis oil drugs to finally be available. This is why people like Charlotte Figi’s parents and Billy Caldwell’s mother are going directly to the source (cannabis oil) to try and alleviate the suffering of their children. Luckily, the oil is doing wonders for the lives of their children. There is no doubt that the oil is also doing wonders to other patients across the world suffering from seizure disorders.
P.S.: This page is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice.