How Cannabis is Relieving Seizures and Epilepsy
Medical cannabis is derived from the plant Cannabis sativa and the off-label use of cannabis to treat pain, seizures, and anorexia is known since ancient days. Here, we answer some of the frequently asked questions about cannabis' relationship with seizure and epilepsy relief.
Which active compound of cannabis is most potent for treating seizures?
Cannabis has more than 80 Phyto-cannabinoids with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) to be the most abundant compounds. The less active CBD is considered potent and safe for treating epilepsy-related seizures. THC has psychiatric side effects; hence it is seen as a less promising choice for seizure treatments.
Is there evidence supporting use of CBD for seizures?
According to a study conducted in 2017, CBD can reduce the frequency of seizures by more than 50%. This study employed 120 young adults and children with Dravet Syndrome and drug-resistant epilepsy. Upon receiving a controlled CBD dose, 43% of patients had their seizure occurrences reduced by more than 50%, and 5% of the patients even became seizure-free. Side effects such as diarrhoea, vomiting, fatigue, and excess sleepiness were reported; however, the side effects could not over-shadow the remarkable effects of CBD on epilepsy patients.
What about Australia?
In 2017, a nationwide survey was conducted in Australia with 976 responders. These people were epilepsy patients and/or parents or guardians of epilepsy patients. Interestingly, 15% of patients used cannabis irrespective of their physician’s knowledge to control multi-drug resistant seizures and most of them reported improvement in their seizures. Read the full study here.
Interesting fact - Cannabinoids are synthesised naturally within our central nervous system. They are known as endocannabinoids and have a role in decreasing the release of neurotransmitters that excite the nervous system to cause seizures. Read more about endocannabinoids here.
We encourage our readers to conduct a thorough research about cannabis treatment for epilepsy and consult their physicians for more knowledge. The facts mentioned above are for disseminating general knowledge and should not be taken as medical advice.