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cbd for seizures

At this time, cannabidiol has been proven effective for only a few medical conditions. Due to the side effects, it is recommended to be used with caution.

Seizures are caused by erratic electrical activity in the brain that can spread and cause uncontrolled physical movements and/or alterations of consciousness. Most anti-seizure drugs work by slowing down excitatory nerve activity in the brain.

Epilepsy Doctor Discussion Guide

It is not completely clear why CBD can reduce some types of seizures. It is known to have a range of biochemical effects on nerve cells in the brain, some of which may have an impact on seizures. Medical research on CBD is still in its early stages.

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A multitude of CBD-containing products are on the market, and some people have chosen to use them for seizure control. This trend is likely to grow, especially since the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp-derived products, including CBD, legal at the federal level.  

Summarized below are results from the May 2017 New England Journal of Medicine study examining the effectiveness of Epidiolex (CBD) in people with drug resistant seizures with Dravet syndrome.

Marijuana or cannabis in general has a number of side effects depending on how it is used. For example, if smoked, the negative effect of smoking on a person’s lungs and heart also apply to marijuana.

Results from 214 people who received Epidiolex (99% CBD) in an open-label study (without a placebo control) and who completed 12 weeks or more on the drug were published in 2015 in Lancet Neurology.

Additional Cannabidiol Studies

Cannabinoids are substances in cannabis that act on cells in the body (called cannabinoid receptors) to cause some effect. Two major ingredients include

The Journal of Child Neurology hosted a special report podcast about cannabis on March 6, 2017. In the report, Dr. Alison Christy interviews Dr. Jackie Gofshteyn, a resident in pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, about her article, “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Febrile Infection-Related Epilepsy Syndrome (FIRES) in the Acute and Chronic Phases.” Dr. Christy also speaks with epilepsy.com’s medical cannabis editor, Dr. Anup Patel of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, about his article, “Medical Marijuana in Pediatric Neurological Disorders.” Margo Roemeling, a third year medical student at Oregon Health and Sciences University, shares the learning topic on the history and use of marijuana in the treatment of pediatric neurologic conditions.

The safety data from the trials in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome has shown similar side effects. Tiredness, diarrhea, and upset stomach are reported the most. Interestingly, people getting the placebo also reported diarrhea and upset stomach feeling as well. This may be due to both products being oil.

In this episode of Hallway Conversations, epilepsy.com Editor-In-Chief Dr. Joseph Sirven interviews Dr. Jose Cavazos MD, PhD, professor of neurology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. They discuss Dr. Cavazos’ experience serving as a panelist on the recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drug Advisory Committee review of Epidiolex ® for the treatment of Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.

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EPIDIOLEX is a prescription medicine that is used to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex in patients 1 year of age and older.

About EPIDIOLEX

What Else Should I Know When Taking EPIDIOLEX?

EPIDIOLEX may cause you to feel sleepy, which may get better over time. Other medicines (e.g., clobazam) or alcohol may increase sleepiness. Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how EPIDIOLEX affects you.

Take EPIDIOLEX exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. Do not stop taking EPIDIOLEX without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping a seizure medicine suddenly can cause serious problems.