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cannabis oil used for seizures

It is always positive to learn about a new treatment for epilepsy, and the potential benefits of CBD oil for seizures in adults and children are exciting. However, we are still learning about how CBD affects people with epilepsy, so until we know more it should not be seen as a replacement for standard treatments.

While CBD oil may provide some relief from seizures, it should always be taken with caution and under guidance from a medical professional. This is because of:

Here is everything we know about CBD oil and seizures.

Side effects and interactions between CBD oil and seizure medicine

If you wish to purchase CBD oil for seizures, you should always speak with your doctor first. Research has shown that ‘artisanal’ CBD oil – which is legal but made by small companies – is much less effective than pharmaceutical grade CBD. So it is best to go with your doctor’s recommendation.

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a new drug called Epidiolex for the treatment of two severe forms of epilepsy:

The medication was approved after several trials showed a significant reduction in seizures for people with these conditions (in combination with their existing anti-epilepsy drugs).

CBD oil may help to stop seizures by activating certain cells called CB1 receptors. These cells are found in the nervous systems and in parts of the brain that are related to memory. Researchers are still not exactly sure how CBD affects seizures, but it may help protect brain cells against damage or from becoming ‘over excited’.

It is not completely clear why CBD can reduce some types of seizures. It is known to have a range of biochemical effects on nerve cells in the brain, some of which may have an impact on seizures. Medical research on CBD is still in its early stages.

Anti-seizure medications should be taken at the regularly scheduled times without skipping or combining doses.

How It Works

It’s possible that CBD may raise the blood level of certain other anticonvulsants such as Topamax and Onfi (clobazam), and may result in side effects.

CBD itself does not have abuse potential and does not produce the “high” that is typical of marijuana, so you do not need to worry about your child abusing the drug or becoming addicted to it. However, it is possible that others may misunderstand the effects of the drug, particularly because it is new and because it is derived from the same plant that marijuana is derived from.

However, these products aren’t regulated by the FDA and are largely untested. The FDA has warned that CBD products are often mislabeled or overpromise their supposed benefits.  Dosage and quality are likely to be far less consistent with other CBD products, which may put you at risk for more seizures.

“It’s kind of risky, but these parents and families are desperate for their kids,” said Gretchen Von Allmen, M.D., chief of pediatric epilepsy with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and a pediatric neurologist at Memorial Hermann-TMC.

Still, Texas’s CBD law is considered “pretty restrictive” compared to those involving cannabis in other states, said Katharine Neill Harris, Ph.D., a drug policy fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

In June 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the Texas Compassionate Use Act after it passed both chambers of the state legislature by wide, bipartisan margins. But it wasn’t until late 2017 that the state issued full licenses to the only three businesses in Texas that can now legally provide CBD oil to prescribed patients.

Teachers told Shena that Trysten was less distracted at school and that his performance had improved. In his first 30 days on his new treatment, he had just one seizure. He hasn’t felt this well for the past three years.

“This can be really beneficial to patients,” said Michael Watkins, M.D., assistant professor of pediatric neurology with McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Watkins works at the Pediatric Epilepsy Clinic at UTHealth, where about 20 patients have been prescribed CBD oil. He said the stigma associated with taking medicine derived from cannabis is fading.

Meanwhile, doctors have been slow to sign up for the program as they navigate the new law. As of late June, just 42 physicians across Texas were registered with the state to become CBD oil prescribers, including 12 in Harris County, though not all are prescribing CBD oil at this point. According to the Epilepsy Foundation of Texas, approximately 149,000 Texans have been diagnosed with the form of epilepsy that would make them eligible for the program.

Before the Texas law took effect, many patients were trying CBD oil on their own by visiting other states or ordering it online, which is a legal gray area. The problem with that, doctors say, is it’s difficult to determine the precise potency of the drug the patient is receiving.