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The Basics of CBD and Epilepsy

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Much of the world's views on cannabis are changing as we learn more about this plant. However, it is often the stories about how cannabis has helped children with debilitating medical conditions that have caught the eyes of the world.

By Cannabis News ZA - 27/05/2020

In 2018, a 6 year old in the UK named Alfie Dingley was granted a medical cannabis license. This is after his parents had spent years searching for a medication that would assist with managing this rare form of epilepsy. Once they discovered that cannabis was the most effective treatment, they never turned back. Now, for them, CBD and epilepsy are commonalities. 

It has been noted that the two main compounds in cannabis, THC and CBD, can both be effective in managing seizures in rare forms of epilepsy. Cannabis has shown to be particularly promising in Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. 

After much pressure from patients, experts and the community, certain allowances were finally made for cannabis in 2018. This allowed some doctors to prescribe cannabis under certain circumstances – such as these rare forms of epilepsy. 

A Breakdown of Epilepsy 

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder, affecting one or multiple parts of the human brain and often causes seizures. These seizures can range from mild to severe and can have a massive impact on the affected person’s daily life. Epilepsy has no cure, but can be managed with various medications. 

The Relationship Between CBD and Epilepsy  

Studies across the globe are trying to establish the inner workings of CBD on epilepsy. However, these studies commonly focus on rare forms of illness found in the youth. 

What has been observed is that CBD has a positive effect on some forms of epilepsy. In some cases where CBD was given in a controlled environment, it reduced seizures by up to 50%. Some, around 1 in 150, have even reported now being seizure free after the introduction of CBD. 

The most recent study in Canada was a clinical trial with 16 children struggling with treatment resistant epilepsy, and was conducted over a 12 week period. Using Satipharm CBD capsules, the trial reported a reduction in seizures by 82%, with 2 of the patients being seizure free 5 weeks later. 

The studies that have been conducted thus far are looking promising indeed, but much more research is needed to understand the effects CBD has on epilepsy. This is particularly true when it comes to commercially available CBD products. 

Are There Risks?

CBD is available in South Africa as a general health and wellness supplement, rather than a formal medication. Thus they are unable to claim any certain medical effects. 

It is also very much an unregulated market, which means that the consumers themselves have to pay very close attention to what CBD they are putting into their body. They need to understand whether it is a trustworthy brand and if they can be sure they are getting a reliable CBD product. 

Possible side effects of adding CBD to regular epilepsy medication can differ too. You This comes down to the individual, the medication they are consuming and the severity of the condition. 

A doctor or medical professional should always be consulted before the addition of CBD to any existing medical regime. However, the studies that are being released are showing great potential for CBD in the sphere of epilepsy.

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