a torn paper written with inscription epilepsy on a blue background

Cannabis as a medical option for Epilepsy patients

Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by the body that are important for proper neurological function, which makes up the spinal cord and brain’s major components. Endocannabinoids have been found to reduce neuron activity by reducing the release of neurotransmitters that trigger seizures. CBD and THC, two major compounds found in the cannabis plant that interact with endocannabinoids in the body, are believed to have the potential to modulate this existing and crucial endocannabinoid system that regulates epileptic seizures.

To learn more about the endocannabinoid system, please visit our page here.

What You Need to Know About Cannabis

According to a guide from the Epilepsy Foundation regarding medical marijuana, CBD and medical cannabis use must be discussed with your doctor since the dosages of medicines taken are dependent on the type of epilepsy and other factors. You enhance your chances for breakthrough seizures, medication side effects, or other serious problems if a physician is not consulted.

If you take these medications or have any of these conditions, please contact your doctor.

  1. Epilepsy or any other neurological disease
  2. Lamotrigine
  3. Zonisamide
  4. Topiramate
  5. Enzymes in the liver have increased.
  6. Clobazam
  7. Ethosuximide
  8. Valproic Acid
  9. Eslicarbazepine
  10. Phenobarbital
  11. Oxcarbazepine or Carbamazepine
  12. Phenytoin
  13. Rufinamide  

Vaporizing or Smoking cannabis extracts, dabbing, edibles, or CBD-only products are the most popular methods of consuming CBD and THC. It is quickly distributed to the brain and organs through the lungs when smoked or vaped since it is rapidly dispersed throughout the organs and brain without “first-pass” metabolism by the liver. Inhalational techniques, on the other hand, aren’t always suitable for everyone, including children. It can also have various drawbacks.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has more antiepileptic efficacy than THC, but CBD-to-THC ratios above 20:1 need to be taken into account. Ratios such as 2:1, 3:1, 20:1, and so on are used on packaging to reflect this.

According to scientific study, edible CBD is 13-19 percent bioavailable in animals, which means that other methods of ingestion such as oral, nasal, and sublingual (under the tongue) are less effective for treating the condition since getting all of the therapeutic doses without increased bioavailability might be difficult. According to new research, if taken with food.

Use of Cannabis to Treat Epilepsy Symptoms

CBD-rich medicines may assist the drug to reduce the number of seizures in patients using medicinal marijuana, The treatment for seizure disorders is determined by the form of seizures they have. Patients who use cannabis medicines may benefit from pain relief due to drug side effects and comorbid issues such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Sleep issues 
  • Spasticity or Dystonia,

The following are some of the advantages of CBD for patients who only want to use it for pain:

  • Anxiety
  • Neuroprotective properties
  • Pain relief
  • Decrease in inflammation

The following side effects should be considered in THC and CBD clinical trials, which are being conducted in double-blind:

  • Appetite changes
  • Convulsions
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Increased seizures
  • Somnolence or sleepiness 

If you have three times the average liver enzyme levels, according to the Epilepsy Foundation (EF) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you should use cannabis with caution. When CBD dosages were maintained or reduced in these studies, however, liver enzymes tended to return to normal.

Prescription medications containing cannabis

Epidiolex is the first FDA-approved drug derived from cannabis products that became available on the market in the US as of October 2020. It’s made with pure cannabidiol derivatives and may be taken by anyone aged two years old or older. The pill, which is used to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome, two uncommon kinds of epilepsy that are known for their uncontrollable seizures, will be available in the United States.

Epidiolex is the most well-known and longest-studied cannabis product for the treatment of epilepsy, with over 400 research papers dedicated to it. The drug has opened the door for medical marijuana treatments in areas where medical cannabis cards are accessible for epilepsy. They discovered that the medicine has significant promise as a potential treatment for decreasing the number of seizures in youngsters with early-onset, treatment-resistant epilepsy, according to a study partly sponsored by the Epilepsy Project.

Before the study began, all of the participants were already on antiepileptic medicine. The patients, who ranged in age from one to 30 years old, received dosages beginning at 2 to 5 mg per day and gradually increasing up to a maximum daily dose of 25 to 50 mg. At 12 weeks of therapy, seizure frequency was reduced by 36.5%.

The following are some of the most prevalent Epidiolex adverse effects:

  • Appetite reduction
  • Diarrhea
  • Elevations in liver enzymes, including aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), are common.
  • Somnolence

This drug isn’t for everyone since it is similar to cannabis usage. It can have negative interactions with other medications such as valproate and/or clobazam in individuals who use them concurrently. There is a lot of importance in communicating with your medical marijuana doctor about the lab testing, follow-up, and correct dosage before starting treatment for epilepsy.

Epilepsy Types: Understanding their difference

Considering how many people throughout the world have the disease, there are still 65 million cases that remain unexplained. Furthermore, one in three persons with the illness does not benefit from current prescription medicines when they are taken as directed.

After a person has had two or more seizures that are not linked to head trauma or identifiable cause, they are said to be epileptic. Although seizures start and take place in the brain, other organs may also be harmed or injured as a result of them. There are numerous ways to go about obtaining your Social Security Disability Benefits, but we also understand that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for every issue. The condition is classified on a scale comparable to Asperger’s Syndrome. A neurologist performs specialized testing for diagnosis.

The most significant variation in the condition is the sort of seizures individuals experience. This is an issue that patients should realize when they go for therapy since different types of seizures are treated with various medications and each has its own set of side effects. Because some seizures do not respond to typical medicines (known as “drug-resistant” or “refractory”) and may get worse with each seizure type, medical cannabis and cannabidiol are included. The three most common types of seizures are:

  1. Generalized Onset: They are the most common seizure type and can affect both sides of the brain simultaneously.
  2. Focal Onset: An epilepsy is said to be focal onset if it begins only in one part of the brain, otherwise known as the partial-onset.
  3. Unknown Onset: Epilepsy with unknown onset is exactly what it sounds like: it is not known where the seizure begins. The onset of a seizure can be initially regarded as unknown if it occurs at night, or when no one is around to witness it; however, it may later be identified as general or focal.

Many types of epilepsy may be defined by physicians, who can identify the sort of epilepsy a person has by describing them. Medicinal marijuana and CBD are two distinct kinds of treatment alternatives that can be pursued, depending on the form of seizure a patient is suffering from. Some forms of the illness include:

LGS and Dravet Syndrome are two types of partial seizures that can be considered with Epidiolex, a prescription drug made from CBD.

Cannabinoids and Epilepsy: A Patient’s Perspective 

Jamie Ziraldo, who has been able to obtain a medical marijuana card for her 5-year-old son when he suffers from intractable partial symptomatic epilepsy with complex focal seizures, says it was life-changing. For now, Ziraldo’s son is taking five antiepileptic medications, in addition to CBD and THC to relieve his seizures.

“Before going to bed, we give him drops of CBD and THC. This will help him not get high. For safety reasons, we waited two hours after giving him his nighttime seizure prescribed medication to give him the oil. His body needs time to break down both the prescription medications and the oil. Seizures have gone down a lot. The number of times a day went from three or seven to one every 3 – 4 weeks after Ziraldo started taking this medicine.”

“When Ziraldo gives her son Cannabinoids at night, she wants him to be able to sleep longer and not get high on marijuana. They are now having surgery to put an implant called Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) in to stop his seizures. CBD and THC assist him in remaining comfortable until the operation is completed”

“It’s time to get rid of the stigma around medical marijuana. When my child has epilepsy, medical marijuana helps him or her a lot, including a big drop in seizure activity and a big boost in standard of living. 

*DigiDrs is not offering this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self diagnose, or prescribe treatment based on the information provided in these pages. Consult a physician before making decisions on the treatment of any of these medical conditions.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This