CBD For Epilepsy: Can CBD Help With Epilepsy?
Table of Contents
Understanding CBD: A Natural Compound from the Cannabis Plant
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s important to know that CBD is not a substance that causes any feeling of being high or intoxicated. This article aims to provide information for people interested in CBD products available in the EU and Hungary.
According to the current laws, CBD products cannot be sold as dietary supplements. Instead, they are legally permitted to be marketed as cosmetics. However, it’s crucial to note that no medical or other effects can be claimed about CBD products.
What is Epilepsy? How is it Diagnosed?
Epilepsy is a condition that affects the central nervous system, causing abnormal brain activity and resulting in unprovoked seizures or unusual behavior and sensations. Epileptic seizures can involve muscle spasms, convulsions, and sometimes loss of consciousness.
To learn more about epilepsy, you can visit the Wikipedia page on Epilepsy.
What is Electroencephalography (EEG)?
Electroencephalography (EEG) is a special test done by doctors to watch how your brain works. The brain cells send signals to each other, and this activity can be studied by observing changes in electrical signals. These electrical changes travel to the surface of the head, where they are detected by sensitive electrodes and recorded on a graph. The EEG machine is mostly used to help diagnose epilepsy and sleep disorders.
The Process of EEG Test
The test usually lasts for about 20 to 30 minutes, and during this time:
- The patient can either lie down or sit.
- The patient’s head has 19 – 20 electrodes attached, which are placed on a special cap placed on the patient’s head.
- The electrodes can also be attached individually to the head.
- They measure and record the signals detected by the EEG.
- The test only measures the electrical changes on the surface of the head.
- The test is painless and non-invasive, which means it doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), epilepsy affects more than 65 million people worldwide and can occur at any age, affecting both males and females of all races, ethnicities, and ages.
Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in children. Statistics show that about 5% of children experience an epileptic seizure at least once in their lives.
Experiencing a seizure does not necessarily mean a person has epilepsy. According to the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) definition, the following criteria must be met for an epilepsy diagnosis:
- At least two unprovoked (or reflex) epileptic seizures occur at least 24 hours apart.
- One unprovoked (or reflex) epileptic seizure, and the likelihood of further seizures within the next 10 years is at least 60% after the second seizure.
- The patient is diagnosed with an epilepsy syndrome.
Epileptic seizures usually happen unexpectedly, surprising and frightening both the child and the parents. There is no specific age when epilepsy is more likely to appear; it can affect both babies and teenagers. It most commonly occurs in very early stages of life, even in newborns and infants.
What Causes Epilepsy?
Epilepsy can be caused by genetic inheritance or damage to the nervous system. In cases of congenital conditions, insufficient oxygen supply to the brain during prenatal development is the main risk factor. Acquired epilepsy can result from conditions like tumors, infections, or brain injuries.
In many cases, the exact cause of epilepsy remains unknown, but there are known factors that can trigger the condition:
- Genetic inheritance
- Brain developmental disorders
- High fever
- Head injury
- Intrauterine infection during prenatal period
- Hypoxic and hemorrhagic lesions
- Cerebrovascular lesions
- Toxic-metabolic injuries
- Meningitis or encephalitis
- Insufficient oxygen supply during fetal development
- Hydrocephalus (excess fluid in the brain’s cavities)
- Degenerative malfunctions
- Brain tumors
Symptoms of Epilepsy
Epilepsy typically begins with the first epileptic seizure, with a probability of less than 50% of recurrence. After the first seizure, not everyone experiences a second one. The condition may involve repeated and prolonged seizures, which can occur at any age.
Types of Epilepsy
The International League Against Epilepsy categorizes epilepsy into the following types:
- Focal seizures
- Generalized seizures
- Unknown seizures
Abnormal electrical activity in a specific part of the brain causes focal seizures, which can be simple or complex.
Simple focal seizures are characterized by motor or sensory expressions without loss of consciousness.
Complex focal seizures involve loss of consciousness.
These seizures begin in one or more areas of the brain and then spread to the entire brain. Generalized seizures cause rapid loss of consciousness, tonic-clonic seizures (with rhythmic muscle movements), myoclonic seizures (characterized by muscle contractions and localized shaking).
Tonic-clonic seizures are the most severe, lasting about 5–10 minutes and characterized by intense, widespread muscle contractions.
The exact area in the brain where they begin is unknown. These seizures are called “epileptic spasms” as they cause sudden stretching or bending of limbs.
Other Possible Manifestations of Epilepsy
People with epilepsy may experience, apart from seizures, issues like poor vision, perceptual disturbances, headaches, tingling sensations throughout the body, visual field loss, and muscle pains. They may also feel nauseous, dizzy, and are prone to falling, putting them at risk during certain seizures that can seriously threaten their physical well-being.
First Aid for Epilepsy
If someone has an epileptic seizure nearby, follow these steps:
- Stay calm, as seizures are usually not life-threatening.
- Let the person lie down and place something soft under their head, loosening any tight clothing around their neck.
- Do not try to stop the seizure; it will end on its own.
- Do not give the person any food or drink.
- If there is a risk of injury from the environment, you can gently restrain the person.
- After the seizure ends, turn the person on their side to allow saliva to flow freely from their mouth.
- Stay with the person until they regain consciousness.
CBD for Epilepsy Treatment: Ongoing Research
Studies about CBD and its effects on epilepsy have been conducted since 1978.
It’s worth reading original scientific articles
published in English, some of which we mention in our writings:
- Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol in Epilepsy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- The proposed mechanisms of action of CBD in epilepsy
- Cannabidiol: pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in Epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders
Currently, numerous similar studies are being conducted worldwide on CBD and CBD oil, investigating their effects.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult with a healthcare professional before use.