Is CBD Oil Used to Treat Seizures?

“Is CBD oil used to treat seizures?” is a question asked by many who are struggling with seizures and being failed by standard treatments.  While the short answer is yes, the longer answer is definitely worth exploring, so anyone considering trying this treatment should consider the available facts carefully before deciding how to proceed.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is an oil that includes concentrations of cannabidiol, which is most commonly called CBD. CBD is a cannabinoid. In fact, it is one of many compounds found in the cannabis plant that may hold promise as a medical treatment. CBD oil and seizures is just one area that is being investigated. As Medical News Today reports, researchers are interested in exploring the possibility that CBD could help in the treatment of a diverse assortment of conditions, including epilepsy and seizure disorders, addiction, pain, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and neuropsychiatric and mood disorders.

Seizures and CBD Oil: Anecdotal Evidence

The potential for treating seizures with CBD oil captured the public’s attention in 2013 when various news organizations reported that Charlotte Figi, a young girl from Colorado who suffers from a rare and debilitating form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome, had seen an incredible improvement after being treated with CBD. According to Consumer Reports, Figi was suffering some 300 grand mal seizures each week and was unable to eat, talk or walk despite being treated with existing epilepsy medications. When she began using CBD, her episodes dropped to just a few a month and she experienced a full cognitive recovery. Figi’s story is impressive, and it’s just one of many in a growing body of anecdotal evidence.

CBD Oil for Seizures: Scientific Research

With existing medications failing roughly one-third of sufferers, it is no surprise that there is a great deal of interest in the potential of using CBD oil for seizures. After the news about Figi’s results broke, quite a few families relocated to places where CBD oil is legal in order to give their loved ones a chance to try the treatment. Researchers also investigated the possibilities. The results of the largest of these studies were published in The Lancet Neurology in 2016. In the study, researchers added CBD oil to the existing treatment plans of 162 young patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy. The median reduction in motor seizures was 36.5 percent, and while more than 75 percent of participants reported adverse events, they were minor; only 3 percent quit because of an adverse reaction. Ultimately, researchers concluded that treating seizures with CBD oil might reduce seizure frequency, and that it seemed to have an acceptable safety profile in children and young adults suffering from highly treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Evaluating the Evidence

With both anecdotal and scientific evidence that supports claims that CBD oil can effectively treat seizures, why isn’t it used more widely? Simply put, while there is a long history of using cannabis to reduce seizures, research into seizures and CBD oil is still in its infancy. As Scientific American explains, researchers do not have a clear understanding of how CBD oil works to reduce seizures, and there are concerns about the impact of the placebo effect and the possibility of drug interactions. Frankly, it takes a great deal of intensive research before any medication receives approval for human use from the Food and Drug Administration. What does this mean for CBD oil? At the moment, the medical community believes more study into treating seizures with CBD oil is required, but that it should be regarded with cautious optimism.

Anyone curious enough to ask, “Is CBD oil used to treat seizures?” will certainly find plenty of interesting information on the subject, and with the growing interest in the possibilities offered by this cannabinoid, there is likely to be more to come.

Related resource: Do You Need a Prescription to Buy CBD Oil?