How much cbd oil to take for seizures

CBD Oil for Seizures & Epilepsy: Benefits, Dosage, & Side Effects

Research suggests CBD is a safe and effective treatment for seizure disorders.

1 in 10 patients are seizure-free after taking CBD oil & 70% had dramatic reductions in symptoms.

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Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

CBD is reported to be one of the most effective treatment options for this condition — even for types of epilepsy proven to be difficult to treat with conventional medicine.

In this article, we’ll discuss exactly how effective CBD is for treating epilepsy, which types of epilepsy CBD works best for, and how to source the right kind of CBD to use.

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Carlos G. Aguirre, M.D., Pediatric Neurologist

Updated on March 23, 2022

Table of Contents
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Total CBD: 500 – 2500 mg
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Extract Type: Full-spectrum
THC Content:

The Benefits of CBD Oil For Epilepsy

The benefits of CBD oil for epilepsy include:
  • Alleviates convulsions
  • Protects the neurons from damage
  • Regulates excess brain activity
  • Reduces brain inflammation
  • Promotes GABA activity in the brain

Despite all the research we have in the effects of CBD for epileptic conditions, we still don’t know the exact mechanisms involved.

Seizures are incredibly complex, and the causes generally involve multiple separate organ dysfunctions combining to produce symptoms. Therefore, deciding which part of this interaction is improved with CBD is hard to pinpoint.

Here are the current theories based on clinical, in vivo, and in vitro research findings.

1. Reduces Epileptic Convulsions

Epileptic-induced rodents were given various concentrations of CBD. The highest-dose group (100 mg per kg) showed significant improvements in muscle contractions during seizures [4].

2. Regulates Electrical Activity in The Brain

Seizures are characterized by excessive and chaotic electrical activity in the brain.

Electrical activity is largely regulated by the vanilloid receptors (TRPV).

CBD and CBDV have both been shown to regulate these vanilloid receptors (TRPV1) in the brain [1].

When TRPV1 is overactivated for any reason, it induces epileptic seizures. CBD and CBDV have been found to control the overactivity of this receptor in the brain — potentially leading to fewer seizures.

3. Protects The Brain Cells

CBD and many other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant have been shown to have broad, non-specific neuroprotective effects on the brain. Some of these neuroprotective effects are thought to be partly responsible for CBD’s powerful anti-epileptic activity.

CBD is protective for other neurological conditions, including:

4. Inhibits Brain Inflammation

As with most neurological disorders, inflammation is a huge factor in epilepsy [10].

A lot of evidence suggests CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory compound for the brain — potentially alleviating one of the significant factors for neurological disorders such as epilepsy.

CBD is effective because its fat-soluble nature allows it to pass through the blood-brain barrier efficiently. It also offers anti-inflammatory effects through some different inflammatory messengers and immune-regulating cells [11, 12, 13].

What’s The Dose of CBD Oil For Seizures?

Figuring out the right dose of CBD for epilepsy is difficult — and will likely require some trial and error.

Everybody responds to CBD differently. Some people require high doses; others much lower. You won’t know for sure the ideal dose you need without experience.

In general, people with epilepsy require higher-than-average dosing to get the maximum amount of benefits from the compound. This is why we recommend buying a high-potency CBD oil. If you buy a low-potency CBD product and then realize you need a high dose to see any benefits, you’re likely to need to take the entire bottle for a single dose. High-potency oils last longer by delivering the same amount of CBD in a smaller amount of oil or capsules.

With that said, we recommend starting at a low dose and building up gradually over time until you reach a dose that provides the level of relief you’re looking for.

Recommended strength for epilepsy: high strength

We’ve outlined the standard dosage schedule below based on weight and strength.

To learn how to calculate these doses yourself, check out our Guide to Dosing CBD.

CBD Dosage Calculator

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Tips for Getting the Most Out of CBD Supplements for Epilepsy:
  1. Always seek out high-quality CBD products to avoid contamination with heavy metals or pesticides — which can make epilepsy even worse
  2. Use full-spectrum extracts for the best results — research suggests these extracts are more effective than isolated or purified CBD products
  3. Increase the dose gradually — start with a low dose and build up to a higher dose until symptoms are reduced
  4. Combine CBD with other antiepileptic treatments and dietary changes — such as a ketogenic diet, regular exercise, and psychotherapy when appropriate
  5. Take CBD regularly — the effects are more pronounced after several weeks of regular use

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a spectrum of disorders involving the primary symptom: unprovoked seizures. Other health issues may or may not also be present. Everybody experiences epilepsy differently, and seizures can vary significantly in frequency and severity.

Some epileptic patients suffer from seizures one or two times per year, while others can experience nearly nonstop seizures throughout the day.

Seizures can involve whole-body convulsions (grand mal), remain confined to one limb (Jacksonian seizures), or involve lapses in consciousness (petit mal). We’ll include more on the different types of seizures later.

The seizure itself is the result of dysfunctional electrical activity in the brain — which can originate from anywhere in the brain. This abnormal electrical activity can remain confined to the area in which it started, or it can spread throughout the entire brain. In most cases, the latter is more severe.

People suffering from epilepsy usually have the condition for the rest of their life. However, it can come and go from one year to the next. Some people report being seizure-free for up to six years before having another seizure.

There are many different forms of epilepsy and numerous potential causes for each one. It can, therefore, be difficult for doctors to pinpoint the exact cause of the seizures in many cases.

Symptoms of Epilepsy

  • Temporary confusion
  • Prolonged staring
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A sudden sense of intense fear or anxiety
  • Lapses in memory

What Causes Seizures & Epilepsy?

Seizures are the primary symptoms of epilepsy. Although epilepsy is characterized by recurring seizures, there are other causes, such as high fever or head injuries.

The brain is made up of billions of specialized cells called neurons. They’re designed to transfer messages throughout the brain and body using electrical impulses. To do this effectively, the neurons in the brain need to work together.

In the event of a seizure, large groups of neurons will send messages at the same time (hypersynchrony), disrupting normal brain function. This can cause changes in taste, vision, sound, smell, language, posture, memory, emotion, and consciousness.

Some seizures will affect the entire brain; others only specific regions. The severity of the electrical activity and how much of the brain is affected will determine the individual side-effects. Ultimately, no seizure is the same.

Causes of Seizures May Include:

There are different forms that seizures can happen depending on the individual and the type of epilepsy they have. Some people will experience one, two, or all three.

Three Types of Epilepsy

There are three different types of epilepsy.

The main differentiating factor for epilepsy is the types of seizures experienced, but there are other factors depending on the site of electrical dysfunction in the brain and the underlying cause of the condition.

Over the past decade, a group called the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) has been working hard to standardize the terminology used in diagnosing and describing epilepsy.

Here are the definitions listed in their 2017 outline.

1. Focal Onset

Focal onset epileptics experience abnormal electrical activity in only specific regions of the brain. They used to be called “partial seizures.”

There are four types of focal seizures:

  1. Focal-aware seizures — the patient is aware of the seizure while it’s taking place.
  2. Focal-impaired awareness seizures — the patient is unaware or unconscious during the seizure.
  3. Focal motor seizures — these involve movements such as rubbing hands together or twitching during the seizure.
  4. Focal non-motor seizures — these do not involve muscle twitches or movements, but instead shifts in thinking and emotions during the seizure. Waves of heat or cold, a racing heart, or intense emotions are common.
2. Generalized Onset

Generalized onset seizures involve abnormal electrical activity throughout both sides of the brain, resulting in widespread side effects throughout the body.

Within generalized onset epilepsies, there are two types — motor onset and non-motor onset.

Motor onset conditions used to be referred to as “grand mal” seizures — in some circles, they still are. They result in full-body seizures and an inability to control the body while the seizures are occurring. They can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours. CBD is useful for these types of seizures due to its ability to relax muscle contractions around the body.

Non-motor onset seizure conditions are usually called “absence” seizures. They involve periods of staring into space or repetitive movements (such as tapping hands or licking lips). These types of seizures make it seem as though the person having the seizure is no longer there — hence the name “absence seizures.”

3. Unknown Onset

As the name implies, any seizure where the source of the seizure can’t be identified is referred to as having an unknown onset. These seizures are especially challenging to treat.

Epileptic Syndromes

The new terminology outlined by the ILAE does not change the characterization of epileptic syndromes — of which there are quite a few.

The Most Common Epileptic Syndromes Include:
  1. Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS)
  2. Dravet Syndrome
  3. Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy (JME)
  4. Benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE)
  5. Childhood absence epilepsy (CAE)
  6. Infantile spasms (or West syndrome)

The Risks of Epilepsy

Epilepsy can endanger the safety of those affected. It can be risky to drive, work, or even cross the street. If a seizure comes on suddenly, those affected are unlikely to get out of harm’s way.

Conventional Treatment Options for Epilepsy

It’s important to remember that epilepsy is a spectrum. Certain medications or other treatment options tend to work better for some forms of epilepsy over others. In some cases, no conventional treatment works for the patient’s requirement — these are usually the people that begin using CBD.

Medications for Epilepsy Include:

Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy

It’s clear that marijuana is a useful supplement for different forms of epilepsy, including both generalized and focal, along with some epileptic syndromes.

Studies have shown that CBD is the active constituent of these effects. Interestingly, a meta-analysis recently showed that although any form of CBD offers benefits, a full-spectrum CBD extract containing a variety of other cannabinoids was more beneficial and had fewer side effects overall [2].

For this reason, we recommend using a quality full-spectrum product over pharmaceutical versions such as Sativex® or Epidolex®, as well as CBD products made from 99.9% pure CBD isolates.

It’s likely the other cannabinoids in the full-spectrum extracts, along with the terpenes and various other phytochemicals, work synergistically to produce the associated benefits.

The Story of Charlotte Figi

Charlotte Figi is an American girl with a severe case of Dravet syndrome who changed the way we treat epilepsy forever.

When Charlotte was just six years old, her parents signed a “do not resuscitate” order for their little girl. This meant that in the event of an emergency that saw Charlotte stop breathing or her heart stops beating, medical professionals would not be allowed to step in and save her life.

Her symptoms were very severe — she’d often experience hundreds of seizures each week. She could barely speak, and her quality of life was at an all-time low.

Even after trying numerous medications, the Figis saw virtually no improvement in their daughter’s condition.

It wasn’t until 2011 that the Figis decided to try cannabis for their daughter — and it worked.

Here seizures dropped from 1200 per month to about 3 — and the ones she had were significantly less severe. She can now talk, play, and live a life much closer to “normal.”

The media attention that followed this story exploded and is arguably the catalyst that led to the establishment of the CBD market we’re now experiencing. This is because it was discovered that CBD was the compound responsible for treating Charlotte’s condition. Researchers flocked to test it out on other types of epilepsy, as well as other medical conditions.

Guide to Using CBD for Epilepsy

CBD is becoming one of the most common treatment options for epileptics. However, with poor regulations in the CBD market, there is an alarming amount of low-quality products containing contaminants such as heavy metals or pesticides that can damage the neurons and potentially make epilepsy symptoms worse.

There are also a lot of companies selling oils with specific amounts of CBD listed on the bottle — but when tested by third parties, they’re found to contain only a fraction of the amount advertised.

When it comes to using CBD for epilepsy, it’s critical that you use only high-quality, contaminant-free, and high-potency products.

It’s also been proven through meta-analysis that a full-spectrum extract rich in CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes has the biggest impact on epileptic conditions [2].

For this reason, we recommend searching specifically for a product with at least 50 mg per mL of CBD that is made from certified organic hemp and has publicly listed third-party test results.

How to Get a Prescription for Medical Cannabis & CBD

Although every country has its own rules regarding the use of medical marijuana, most countries with a medical program will prescribe it for epilepsy.

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence is working on official guidance for prescribing medical cannabis.

Epilepsy treatment is expected to be one of the primary focus points for this piece, which is expected to be completed at the end of 2020.

If your country (or state) doesn’t have a medical marijuana program, low-THC hemp extracts are an excellent alternative. These are classified as nutritional supplements in most countries and are non-psychoactive.

Finding the Right CBD Supplements for Epilepsy

There are so many different cannabis companies selling CBD oils, capsules, and topicals — it can be hard to separate the good from the bad.

As a general guide, always look for the following:

  • Products containing full-spectrum extracts
  • Potencies of at least 50 mg per mL
  • Productos with third-party lab tests posted
  • Products made from certified organic hemp
  • Extracts containing low THC (less than 0.3%)
1. CBD Oils For Epilepsy

CBD oils are the most popular form of CBD because it simplifies dosing, it can be stored for long periods of time, it is one of the cheapest forms of CBD and has high bioavailability.

2. CBD Capsules For Epilepsy

CBD capsules provide another great option for people who want a simple way to get their dose without having to measure or taste CBD oil. However, capsules are slightly more expensive on average than oils.

3. CBD Edibles For Epilepsy

Edible CBD products are also available — but aren’t recommended for daily CBD supplementation due to the high sugar content and inconsistencies with dosing. These are great for occasional use to make your CBD use more interesting (and flavorful) but not ideal for everyday use.

4. CBD Vape Oils & E-Liquids For Epilepsy

CBD vape oils and vape pens are also an option, and many people with epilepsy choose to use this method to get their dose of CBD. The benefit with vape oils is that the CBD enters the bloodstream almost immediately, offering fast relief from symptoms.

Unless vaping irritates your lungs, or you’d rather avoid it altogether, keep some vape oil on hand to address symptom flare-ups promptly without having to wait for oils or capsules to absorb through the digestive tract.

CBD & Epilepsy: What the Research Says

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 66 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.

There are two main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant that account for more than half the total cannabinoid content. CBD is non-psychoactive (meaning it won’t make you feel high). It’s also the primary ingredient responsible for the antiepileptic effects of the cannabis plant.

A pharmaceutical CBD preparation — Epidolex (cannabidiol) — was approved in 2018 for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome — two forms of epilepsy known for resisting treatment.

A recent meta-analysis involving 670 people with various forms of epilepsy found that 71% of people taking CBD-rich full-spectrum extracts experienced reduced seizure frequency [2].

Roughly 40% of the people in this study had the frequency of seizures cut in half, and a quarter had an incredible 70% drop in episodes.

Amazingly, 10% of the group were reported to be seizure-free at the end of the study.

CBD works — there’s no doubt about it. The hard part now is determining exactly how it works.

We’re still uncovering exactly how CBD is useful for treating epilepsy and seizures. Even GW Pharmaceuticals admits on its website that the mechanism of action isn’t clear. GW Pharmaceuticals is the creator of Sativex® — the new cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical that’s been gaining a lot of hype lately as a breakthrough new treatment for epilepsy.

There are a few good theories, however.

Final Verdict: Can CBD Help With Epilepsy & Seizures?

CBD is perhaps one of the most exciting new treatment options for epilepsy — including epileptic syndromes such as Dravet syndrome that are problematically resistant to treatment.

To get the most out of CBD supplementation for epilepsy, a high-quality, full-spectrum extract should be used. It’s also recommended to opt for a high-potency option because, in most cases, high doses are needed to get the same level of benefits reported in the scientific literature.

Check out some of our recent reviews to vet a company and their product before you make a purchase. Remember only to buy products that are made from certified organic hemp and have been tested for purity and potency by third-party labs.

If a product doesn’t check these boxes, it’s wise to avoid taking them for epilepsy. You don’t want to make symptoms worse.

CBD Oil for Seizures & Epilepsy: How Cannabis Oil Can Stop Seizures

According to the Michigan Epilepsy Foundation, 1% of Americans suffer from some form of epilepsy — a recurring neurological disorder known for frequent, often unprovoked seizures.

Epilepsy compromises all aspects of a person’s daily life. The violent tremors caused by a seizure attack can put the individual in grave danger, not to mention that people with epilepsy are also prone to suffer from sleep issues, migraines, anxiety disorders, and depression.

Of all epilepsy forms, up to 40% is drug-resistant, meaning the patient doesn’t react to Antiepileptic Drugs (AEDs). For these patients, AEDs are simply ineffective, or the side-effects are too severe to allow for continuous treatment.

As a result, many turn to natural resources to help manage their condition. CBD oil is one promising option whose antiepileptic effects have been thoroughly studied by scientists.

In this article, I’ll cover the potential benefits of CBD oil for epilepsy and seizures — and share the top brands I trust when it comes to manufacturing high-quality CBD oil.

Best CBD Oil Brands for Epilepsy & Seizures

There are lots of different CBD companies trying to make their name in the market with their CBD oil. Some brands provide high-quality products and can back up their claims with third-party lab reports. In contrast, others tend to take advantage of unaware consumers with lots of fancy buzzwords and unrealistic promises.

If you want a clean and potent CBD oil, you need to find a manufacturer that makes organic products with proper quality assurance.

Don’t have time for that? Don’t worry — I did the research for you.

Here are my top 3 brands that make premium CBD oil for different types of consumers.

1. Royal CBD

Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.

Pros:

  • Royal CBD comes from organic hemp grown on American farms
  • The company employs CO2 extraction so their extracts are clean and safe
  • Their CBD oil comes in three different strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 2500 mg
  • Up to 83.3 mg of CBD per mL
  • Hemp extract is suspended in premium MCT oil
  • Every batch of product has been tested by a third-party laboratory

Cons:

  • No vapes or vape oils available (yet)
  • The price is on the higher end, although justified

My Thoughts on Royal CBD:

Royal CBD is a premium brand that uses only high-quality ingredients in their product lineup. The company’s product range includes every basic CBD format, from sublingual drops to gummies and capsules.

The oil and capsules are full-spectrum, meaning they also contain other cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp. Gummies, on the other hand, contain 99% pure isolate.

The Royal CBD oil comes in three different potencies: 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 2500 mg. The strongest option gives you 83 mg of CBD/mL. I would recommend this variant for stronger symptoms. Those who need noticeably higher doses of CBD may find the weaker bottles cost-prohibitive.

If you don’t want to measure out the oil each time you need CBD, you may switch to Royal capsules. Each softgel carries 25mg of full-spectrum cannabidiol in an easy-to-swallow form.

All Royal CBD products are sent to third-party laboratories for content analysis — checking the potency of CBD as well as purity levels.

2. Gold Bee (Best Organic)

Pros:

  • Unique product selection
  • Non-GMO, Colorado grown hemp
  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • Extracted with CO2
  • Up tp to 1200 mg of CBD per bottle (40 mg/mL)
  • Sweetened with organic honey
  • Third-party lab tested for potency and purity

Cons:

  • No high-strength oils
  • Not available in-store
My Thoughts On Gold Bee:

Gold Bee specializes in all-organic CBD products, including full-spectrum CBD oil, high-potency CBD capsules, gummies, and delicious honey sticks. The company’s CBD oil is available in one potency option, packing 1200 mg of CBD per bottle.

This concentration translates into 40 mg of CBD in each milliliter. The oil has been suspended in premium-grade MCT oil and infused with natural terpenes to enhance the synergy between CBD and other compounds in hemp. There are two flavors available: natural and kiwi. The kiwi flavor is sweetened with organic honey, which only adds to the product’s value.

I’ve been taking the Gold Bee CBD oil for 30 days, using the dosage based on the recommended serving size. At first I was skeptical because I got used to higher doses in my routine — low doses could hardly calm my nervous system.

To my surprise, 1 mL a day split into two doses was enough to boost my resistance to stress and the outside stimuli. After two weeks, I slightly decreased the dosage and was still getting pretty good results. This was the first time a potency lower 1500 mg lasted more than 1 month for me.

3. CBDPure

Pros:

  • CBDPure products come from organic hemp grown in Colorado
  • The company uses CO2 extraction
  • All products are tested by 3rd-party laboratories for potency and purity
  • Available in 60 mL bottles
  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed program — you can send your order back within 90 days for a full refund

Cons:

  • CBDPure only sells CBD oil and capsules
  • The oil is slightly less potent than Royal CBD

My Thoughts on CBDPure:

CBDPure was established in 2016 by a group of cannabis advocates from Colorado. The company has a simple mission, which is to make premium-quality CBD oils from organic hemp.

Although CBDPure has a very narrow product range — offering only CBD oil and capsules — they seem to have perfected these products. All extracts from CBDPure are obtained using supercritical CO2 and tested in a certified laboratory for quality assurance.

The oil isn’t as potent as the one offered by Royal CBD, but if you benefit from lower doses, their 60-mL bottles will get you supplied for months to come. Their oils are a good option for people who use CBD for general health care or to ease mild symptoms.

If you’re looking for something potent, try CBDPure capsules — each softgel is infused with 25 mg of full-spectrum CBD for easier dosing and extra convenience.

CBDPure has a Satisfaction Guarantee program, so in case you ended up unsatisfied with your purchase, you can get a full refund if you send the order back within 90 days.

4. CBDistillery

Pros:

  • CBDistillery uses Colorado-grown hemp
  • Their products are available as full-spectrum or isolate
  • They have an impressive product selection
  • Each batch is sent to a 3rd-party lab for content analysis
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Their hemp isn’t organic

My Thoughts on CBDistillery:

CBDistillery is a company founded in Denver, Colorado. They’ve been offering high-quality CBD oil products for over 5 years now. One of the driving forces behind the brand is to manufacture CBD oil for every budget and promote research and education among consumers all over the country.

CBDistillery has many different forms of CBD, from sublingual tinctures to capsules, gummies, topicals, and vapes. Their CBD oil is available as ‘full-spectrum’ or isolate.

These oils come in two different sizes — 15 mL and 30 mL

The potency of the 15 mL bottle ranges between 150–1,000 mg of CBD. The 30 mL bottle offers from 2,500–5,000 of total CBD.

With such a wide potency range, CBDistillery oils may suit both novice and experienced consumers alike. The only downside to the company’s product range is that they’re not made with organic hemp.

However, this becomes understandable once you consider the price of CBDistillery products. The company may not sell the best CBD oil on the market, but they offer the best CBD products in this price range.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a cannabis extract with high concentrations of CBD. This product can be sourced from both marijuana and hemp, two members of the cannabis plant family.

It’s worth noting that marijuana-derived CBD oil contains higher levels of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for getting users “high.”

CBD oil from hemp has only trace amounts of THC — typically below 0.3% — and thus can’t produce any psychoactive effects.

That’s because CBD is non-psychoactive per se.

CBD oil reportedly has a plethora of health benefits. However, the best-documented evidence thus far comes from epilepsy trials.

Does CBD Oil Work for Seizures?

The earliest studies proving the effectiveness of cannabis compounds in the treatment of convulsions came from animal research from the 1970s. The researchers analyzed the anticonvulsant properties of both THC and CBD oils, concluding that both extracts had substantial effects on mice.

Early experiments reported that the seizure activity might in part, be regulated by the endocannabinoid system — an interconnected network of cannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids.

The Mechanism Behind the Antiepileptic Effects of CBD

The endocannabinoid system works to keep the body in a state of equilibrium, maintaining chemical balance and controlling biological functioning, from appetite to motor control, sensory perception, sleep, and inflammation.

It sends signals to various bodily systems through its chemical messengers called endocannabinoids to do this. These molecules bind to the cannabinoid receptors which occur in the brain and throughout the body. By doing so, endocannabinoids help the endocannabinoid system to maintain healthy functioning of an individual.

Once endocannabinoids have done their work, they get broken down by enzymes to prevent overaccumulation.

As a cannabinoid, CBD is almost identical in its chemical structure as endocannabinoids produced by your body. When you ingest CBD, it’s able to affect cannabinoid receptors on top of acting on several other pathways.

While scientists still don’t know exactly how CBD oil works for seizures, they’ve observed the following interactions which may explain the positive effects:

  1. Endocannabinoids are neuroprotectants, lowering the risk of seizures caused by neurotoxicity. When a person ingests CBD, they introduce more cannabinoids to their system—potentially improving the performance of the endocannabinoid system with their neuroprotective properties.
  2. The endocannabinoid system also modulates neuroexcitation, a process that may trigger seizures. A properly functioning endocannabinoid system, bolstered by additional cannabinoids from CBD oil, may prevent the overexcitation of neurons.
  3. CBD is also an anti-inflammatory agent. Seizures may be triggered, or their frequency may be increased by brain inflammation. By curbing neuroinflammation, CBD may reduce both the severity and frequency of seizure attacks.

Now, let’s elaborate on the scientific findings regarding the antiepileptic properties of CBD oil.

What the Research Says

The majority of specific case studies from the late 1990s, and the early 2000s focused on the effect of THC/CBD solutions on epilepsy. Due to the psychoactive nature of THC, the eyes of modern medicine turned to CBD.

In June 2018, the FDA approved the first CBD-based drug. The oral spray, called Epidiolex, contains 99% pure CBD. It’s used for treatment-resistant forms of childhood epilepsy — such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Both diseases begin during early childhood and often lead to delayed or poor development of the child’s motor skills, language, intellectual aptitude, and the ability to communicate with others.

Before receiving the FDA’s approval, Epidiolex went through three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials examining 516 patients with either syndrome. When administered along with other medications, Epidiolex successfully reduced the participant’s frequency of seizures compared to the placebo group. Besides, CBD improved other associated symptoms for the participants, such as sleep and anxiety.

Currently, Epidiolex can be officially used to treat these two types of epilepsy. However, recent research suggests that CBD may help relieve other forms of this disease as well.

For instance, a 2015 study analyzing the reports from Epidiolex patients from 11 epilepsy centers across the country showed that the frequency of seizures decreased by 36.5% after a 13-week treatment.

All subjects had severe, childhood-onset forms of epilepsy, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet Syndrome. The researchers started with a dose of 2–5 mg/kg per day and gradually increased it to 25–50 mg/kg per day.

Can You Develop a Tolerance to CBD Oil for Seizures?

People who have treatment-resistant epilepsy tend to experience a “honeymoon” period upon switching to a new therapy. In other words, they stop feeling the effects of their new treatment after a few months. In late 2018, scientists observed that the same pattern might apply to CBD treatment.

The study examined nearly 100 patients, of which about one-third developed a tolerance to CBD. The tolerance showed up about seven months after they began the therapy. From then on, they had to increase the dose to maintain the effects. When the dose was higher, nearly half of the examined sample experienced their previous response level.

The good news, though, is that for two-thirds of participants, the CBD proved effective in the long run.

How to Use CBD Oil for Epilepsy

CBD can take many forms. Epidiolex, the only approved CBD treatment for epilepsy, is an oral solution containing 99% pure CBD.

If you want to use CBD in a more natural form to see how it works for your symptoms, you may try the following formats:

  • Sublingual drops: The most common form of CBD. The drops are administered via a dropper under the tongue, where they get absorbed through special membranes into the bloodstream. Sublingual drops provide the most consistent blood absorption rates according to studies.
  • Capsules: CBD capsules are sold as pills and softgels. You just swallow them like any other pill. They offer a fixed dose of CBD in each serving, which makes dosing easier than sublingual drops, not to mention you can avoid any natural hemp taste.
  • Vape oils: this form of CBD is inhaled through a vaporizer or vape pen. Many people prefer vape oils over other products because they find the act of inhalation relaxing, and they like the flavoring of vape oils. But most importantly, vape oils deliver more CBD to your system than any other consumption method.

CBD Oil Dosage for Epilepsy & Seizures

The dose-finding process will vary between patients. As with every new substance, a conservative approach and slow dosage increase will minimize the chance of severe side effects and leave room for adjusting the dose from the starting point.

For each individual, the optimal CBD dosage will depend on the following:

  • CBD concentration
  • Cannabinoid spectrum
  • Route of administration
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Metabolism
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Medications the patient is already taking

Dr. Karen Keough, Chief Medical Officer at Compassionate Cultivation, created general dosage guidelines for dosing CBD oil to both adults and children who have epilepsy.

Dosing Recommendations for Children

Depending on the severity of symptoms, children may go through low-dose initiation and high-dose initiation.

Low-Dose Initiation instructions:

  • Start with 0.25 mg/lb/day
  • The minimum dose is 10 mg
  • Target dose ranges between 1–5 mg/lb/day. Higher doses are tolerated but at the cost of some mild side effects, such as dry mouth, dry eyes, low blood pressure, sedation, and dizziness.
  • Average dose is 1–3 mg/lb/day
  • Increase the dose every 1–2 weeks by 0.5 mg/lb/day, topping to the nearest 10 mg as long as there are no side effects.

High-Dose Initiation in Children:

  • Start with 0.5mg/lbs/day
  • Target dose ranges between 1–5 mg/lb/day
  • Average dose is 1-3 mg/lb/day
  • Increase the dose every 1–2 weeks by 0.5 mg/lb/day and monitor the effects
  • If side-effects occur, leave more time between dose increases and go up more gradually

Dosing Recommendations for Adults

Considering the factors above, such as body weight and metabolism, adults with epilepsy need more CBD in their regime than children. Use the following guidelines to reach an effective dose:

Low CBD dose in adults:

  • Start with 25 mg twice daily
  • Go up by 25 mg per dose every 1–2 weeks
  • Target dose ranges between 100–300 mg twice a day if no side effects are observed. Clinical trials have utilized doses as high as 1,500 mg of CBD daily, but such high doses might not be necessary to achieve seizure relief in most patients

High CBD dose in adults:

  • Start with 50 mg twice daily
  • Go up every 1–2 weeks by 50 mg/dose
  • Target dose ranges between 200–500 mg twice a day if tolerated. You may stop sooner if seizures are gone to prevent further dosage increase and possible side effects.

Where to Find CBD Oil for Sale for Epilepsy & Seizures

CBD oil is available both in cannabis dispensaries and online retail stores. Dispensaries give you access to a wide range of cannabis products, including CBD oil from hemp. However, these places may not always carry the best products, and the bottles have probably spent some time on the shelves before being sold so that they may lose potency over time due to poor storage.

That’s why I buy my CBD oil online. The majority of CBD stuff is sold this way, so you have more options to choose from. Also, you can verify the reputation of your potential vendor with the help of online research. Read user reviews, check for third-party lab reports, and learn how your company sources its CBD to make sure you’re getting a clean and potent product.

The delivery time for CBD oil is usually 2–3 business days. But in my opinion, it’s worth it to wait a few days more to get a high-quality product for a good price — CBD oil ordered online is usually less expensive than what you see in a dispensary.

Using CBD Oil for Seizures: Will It Help?

Cannabinoids have many proven beneficial effects on health, particularly in the treatment and management of epileptic seizures. Epilepsy is currently the only FDA-approved condition for treatment with CBD — although this approval doesn’t apply to hemp-derived CBD oil.

Still, if you want to try CBD oil for better management of your symptoms, I hope this guide has helped you understand how to use it to get the most out of its benefits. Just remember to start low and slow with the dosage.

But above all, consult with your doctor before purchasing any CBD product — just to make sure it won’t negatively interfere with any medications you’re taking.

Do you know any examples of people who successfully reduced the frequency of their seizures with CBD oil? Share your stories in the comments below!

References:

  1. Filloux, F. M. (2016). Cannabinoids for Pediatric Epilepsy? Up in Smoke or Real Science? Translational Pediatrics, 4(4), 271–282.
  2. Perucca, E. (2017). Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last? Journal of Epilepsy Research, 7(2), 61–76.
  3. Devinsky, O. et al. (2016). Cannabidiol in Patients With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy: An Open-Label Interventional Trial. The Lancet: Neurology, 15(3), 270–278.
  4. Mannila, J., Jarvinen, T., Jarvinen, K., Jarho, P. (2007). Precipitation Complexation Method Produces Cannabidiol/Beta-Cyclodextrin Inclusion Complex Suitable for Sublingual Administration of Cannabidiol. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 96(2), 312–9.
  5. Millar, S.A., Stone, N.L., Yates, A.S. & O’Sullivan, S.E. (2018) A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9, 1365.
Nina Julia

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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CBD for Seizures- Use, Effectiveness, Side Effects, and More

If you have seizures or are the parent of a child who has seizures, then you are probably constantly on the lookout for ways to control seizures with as few side effects as possible. CBD oil is one of the latest things to be touted as a miracle cure for seizures. While its effects are not the miracle cure some people suggest, it is a promising treatment that might be right for you.

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a chemical found in marijuana. It is not the same as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical in cannabis that is responsible for the “high” feeling people get from marijuana.

What does CBD do?

Well, people make many claims about what CBD can do. Not all of them have been tested and verified. However, there is support for claims that CBD may help reduce pain and anxiety.

Does CBD help seizures?

The short answer is yes. CBD can help prevent some types of seizures in some people and animals. Clinical trials have demonstrated a significant reduction in seizures for people taking CBD to treat Lennox-Gastaut, Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex. Research in other areas is still in early stages, but there are indications that CBD may help prevent other types of seizure or increase the efficacy of other antiepileptic medications. Early clinical trials suggest that CBD may dramatically reduce seizures in people with CDKL5 deficiency disorder, Aicardi syndrome, Doose syndrome, and Dup15q syndrome. In addition, CBD appeared to retain its efficacy over the length of the clinical trial.

How does CBD help prevent seizures?

That is a wonderful question, but, unfortunately, the research simply is not sufficient to give a definitive answer. What we do know is that bodies contain natural neurotransmitters and receptors known as the endocannabinoid system. CBD is believed to interact with that system, which is believed to influence a range of bodily functions and systems including immune response, appetite, pain, and sleep.

Is CBD approved by the FDA to treat seizures?

Yes, but not all CBD oils and not all types of seizures. Currently, Epidolex, a prescription form of CBD, is approved to treat seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut, Dravet syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex.

Does CBD interact with other seizure medications?

Yes. We know that CBD interacts with brivaracetam, clobazam, eslicarbazepine, stiripentol, rufinamide, topirimate, valproic acid, and zonisamide. It also possible that it interacts with other antiepileptics, and as research continues, we should have a better idea of other possible interactions.

How do I use CBD or CBD oil to treat seizures?

If you have a seizure disorder, you should be seeing a neurologist for treatment. It is very important to discuss whether you should use CBD oil with your neurologist. While it is generally safe to use, there is always a risk of potential drug interactions. In addition, some people actually experience an increase in seizures when they use CBD. Therefore, just like with any antiepileptic drugs, you want to have a professional monitoring your use of CBD.

What is an average clinical use of CBD to treat seizures?

The starting dose for CBD is 2.5 mg/kg of Epidolex, two times a day. A normal maintenance dosage is 5mg/kg twice daily, and the maximum dosage is 10mg/kg twice daily. As with other antiseizure medications, it should be introduced or stopped gradually, as sudden changes can increase seizure activity.

What are the potential side effects of CBD when used to treat seizures?

Whether used alone or with other seizure medications, there are some potential side effects of using CBD to treat seizures. It can lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts or behaviors, sleepiness, drowsiness, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. While most of these side effects are inconvenient, interactions can also cause liver damage.

Can CBD increase my seizures?

This is a tricky question to answer. Anecdotally, it seems clear that some percentage of people will have an increase in the number of seizures in response to using CBD. However, why is not so clear. Research seems to suggest that people who use commercial CBD products are likely to see an increase in seizures, while people using prescription CBD are likely to see a reduction in seizures. The speculation is that commercial products are not pure CBD, but are tainted with THC, which is known to be a potential seizure trigger.

Can I use over-the-counter CBD to treat epilepsy?

The problem with OTC CBD is that it is not regulated by the FDA. This makes it impossible to know what dose you would be getting, if the product is contaminated with impurities, or if it even is CBD. If you want to explore using CBD to treat seizures, talk with your doctor about adding Epidolex, an FDA regulated product that eliminates the specific risks posed by an OTC product, to your treatment plan.

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