Can Cannabis Help With Seizures?
Seizures happen when there’s an instant uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. When such actions occur, it causes a change in behavior, stiffness or twitching of muscles, and sometimes a loss of consciousness.
However, when you have more than two seizures within a 24-hour window without an identifiable cause, it’s referred to as epilepsy.
Seizures occur for various reasons and are more common than you think. According to the CDC, about 3.4 million people have seizure-related disorders.
There are many types of seizures, and the seriousness of the symptoms varies depending on what part of the brain they originate. A seizure can occur within a few seconds to minutes, depending on the type. Thankfully, recently, more and more patients are finding that medical cannabis for seizures is beyond helpful for managing symptoms. Let’s talk about how cannabis can help seizures of all types.
What causes seizures?
Several conditions can cause seizures, including stroke, head trauma, brain tumors, or infections in the central nervous system. However, most of the time, the cause of a seizure is unknown.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know when a person is having a seizure. Some seizures cause a person to seem confused, while others force a person to become unaware of their environment.
However, medical practitioners classify seizures into two types – focal and generalized seizures. The type of seizure depends on the area of the brain where the uncontrolled activity begins.
In cases where the origin of the brain activity is unknown, the doctor diagnoses it as an unknown onset.
What are the different types of seizures?
Focal seizures occur when an abnormal activity starts in one brain area. Often, the seizure spreads to other areas of the brain, causing mild or severe symptoms in different brain areas.
Focal seizures can cause the person to lose or retain consciousness.
Focal Awareness or Simple Seizures
During simple seizures, the person remains aware of what is happening but experiences a change in sensation. These sensations range from nausea to mood swings.
Other experiences include a temporary loss of speech, involuntary muscle spasms, and dizziness.
Focal Seizures with Unconsciousness or Complex Seizures
A person experiencing an episode of complex seizures will feel dazed or confused. During a bout of complex seizures, the person may seem awake but unable to respond to questions or stimuli.
Focal seizures can spread to other brain parts when they’re not promptly attended to, causing complex seizures
These types of seizures happen when abnormal activity occurs in all brain areas.
Generalized seizures can fall into any of the following groups:
- Absence seizures: Absence seizures often occur in children and cause involuntary body spasms such as rapid eye blinking or blank stares into space.
- Atonic seizures: Atonic seizures cause involuntary muscle spasms, making you lose muscle control. You may suddenly collapse, drop your head, or fall during the seizure. They’re also known as “drop seizures.”
- Clonic seizures: When they occur, the muscles repeatedly jerk on their own. These seizures usually affect the arms, neck, and facial muscles.
- Myoclonic seizures: When myoclonic seizures occur, you may not lose consciousness. However, the symptoms of this type of seizure are sudden twitches or jerks in the arms or legs.
- Tonic seizures: These seizures affect the back, arms, and legs, often causing you to lose consciousness and collapse.
- Tonic-clonic seizures: Formally known as grand mal seizures, these seizures may occur from either focal or generalized seizures. Tonic-clonic seizures may cause a sudden loss of consciousness, collapse, or muscle spasms. Also, they often last for several minutes.
Does cannabis help people with seizures?
So, can marijuana help with seizures? Can weed help seizures? Yes, medical marijuana is beneficial to seizure patients. Here’s how.
Although federal regulations have slowed research on how weed helps with seizures, patients with varying medical conditions have found relief with few side effects when using cannabis.
Patients with epilepsy and other seizure disorders have positive reports when they use weed.
Ordinarily, medical marijuana treats the symptoms accompanying seizures, including nausea, dizziness, spasms, and anxiety.
Researchers are still figuring out how marijuana and seizures interact, but there are a few theories.
The body has cells called cannabinoid receptors which interact with substances found in cannabis called cannabinoids. These receptors are primarily found in the brain, so when you use cannabis, the cannabinoids interact with these receptors, providing relief.
The two main components found in marijuana are Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and Cannabidiol, or CBD.
Can you use THC for seizures?
THC is the cannabinoid that gives you a high feeling. The effects of using THC for seizures may not be pleasant, especially if you don’t want to deal with the psychoactive effect.
Also, a study found that patients taking commercial cannabis products had a 70 percent seizure increase compared to patients using prescribed cannabis products.
The cause of this may be that commercial cannabis products contain higher levels of THC, which could trigger seizures in patients.
So, make sure your THC usage is due to your doctor’s prescription.
Can you consume CBD for seizures?
CBD is used for most treatments and cannabis products. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a high in the body. This makes using CBD for seizures more effective compared to using THC for seizures.
Researchers also found that using CBD for seizures may reduce the effects of anti-seizure medications and improve the patient’s health.
Has the FDA approved any cannabis medications for epilepsy?
In recent years, the positive benefits of marijuana for treating ailments and disorders have reduced the embargo on hemp.
Now, different state laws permit the use of marijuana to treat qualifying ailments, including epilepsy and seizures.
For patients seeking to use CBD for seizures, it gets better still. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved a pharmaceutical product containing CBD – Epidiolex – to treat patients with seizures.
The cannabis-based drug, which comprises 99 percent cannabidiol or CBD, is used to treat three types of seizures: disorders-Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex.
Epidiolex is cannabis oil for epilepsy treatment and is suitable for patients two years and older. Compared to other medical marijuana products, it contains no trace of THC.
Does CBD oil help with seizures and seizure disorders?
CBD Oil for Dravet Syndrome
Dravet syndrome is an unusual type of epilepsy that causes seizures that are unresponsive to other forms of medication.
However, patients who took Epidiolex had a 39 percent drop in seizures compared with other medications.
CBD Oil for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
In child epilepsy cases, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome makes up 2 to 5 percent. The effectiveness of Epidiolex CBD oil for treating people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome showed 44 percent fewer seizures when the patient used 20 milligrams of Epidolex.
CBD Oil for Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
Tuberous sclerosis complex occurs in about 1 in 6000 people. It’s a rare genetic condition that causes noncancerous tumor growth in several body parts. When tumors grow in the brain, it leads to seizures in some people.
A study on the effects of Epidiolex on this rare condition showed a 48 percent improvement for patients who used 25 mg/kg of Epidiolex.
Can children consume CBD for seizures?
Epidiolex is approved to treat children with epilepsy and seizures caused by Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Research shows that the drug, which comes in strawberry flavoring sesame oil-based solution, shows effectiveness for children with Dravet syndrome when administered 20 mg/kg of Epidiolex.
The good thing about the drug is that it creates no euphoric effects in children and adults because it contains no THC.
Are there any side effects of Epidiolex?
The possible side effects of Epidiolex include drowsiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and sleep problems.
However, CBD-based drugs are non-addictive, reduce seizures and report fewer side effects than other placebos.
Can you prevent seizures? How?
Seizures can get in the way of life when they keep reoccurring. An excellent way to prevent seizures and epilepsy is through proper lifestyle management and reducing your exposure to triggers.
With these management tips, you can better manage the risk of epilepsy and seizures.
- Speak to a medical professional to know more about your condition.
- Don’t skip your seizure medications.
- Avoid your seizure triggers.
- Get adequate sleep, at least 7-8 hours.
- Exercise regularly and safely each day.
- Eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid substance abuse, including alcohol and tobacco.
- Reduce your exposure to stress.
- Have a support system.
- Protect your head from traumas.
- Talk to your doctor about health concerns.
- If you have any other health conditions, keep them in check.
What should you do in case you see someone having a seizure?
Seizures are sudden and, sometimes, leave those around confused about what to do.
If you notice a child or someone around you exhibiting any seizure symptoms, you can take these first aid measures and then call the emergency services.
- Remain calm.
- Place a pillow or cushion under their head.
- Lay them on their side to maintain airflow.
- Create space around them to prevent bodily injuries.
- Take note of the time the seizure begins and ends.
- Stay with them until the seizure passes and call the doctor.
How do you get a medical marijuana card for seizures?
Understanding epilepsy and seizures are complex, especially with children. You should also note that self-medicating CBD oil may have potential side effects.
But we at Elevate Holistics are here to ease your process. We’ve tailored our services to help you understand the benefits of medical marijuana for seizures and getting access to it – from answering your questions on seizures and other related conditions to getting your MMJ card.
We can help you set up an appointment with a qualified medical professional who will be happy to evaluate you and answer your questions from the comfort of your home.