Best CBD Oil For Seizures

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Epidiolex contains cannabidiol (CBD) from the marijuana plant. It is approved to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Learn about safety and more. Best CBD Oil for Seizures & Epilepsy in 2022 According to the Michigan Epilepsy Foundation, 1% of Americans suffer from some form of epilepsy — a recurring neurological disorder known for There is evidence that Epidiolex – an FDA-approved CBD oil – could reduce epilepsy symptoms for people with certain syndromes. Find out more.

Cannabidiol (CBD) for Epilepsy Treatment

Epidiolex, a precription form, is approved for some seizures

Heidi Moawad is a neurologist and expert in the field of brain health and neurological disorders. Dr. Moawad regularly writes and edits health and career content for medical books and publications.

Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Meredith Bull, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a private practice in Los Angeles. She helped co-author the first integrative geriatrics textbook, “Integrative Geriatric Medicine.”

Cannabidiol (CBD)—a component of the marijuana plant—has gotten a lot of attention for medical use, including the treatment of epilepsy. Epidiolex is the only prescription form of CBD available, and it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2018 for the treatment of seizures in two hard-to-treat forms epilepsy—Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex is approved for adults and children over the age of 2 who have one of these rare disorders.

How It Works

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.

However, LGS and Dravet syndrome may be treated with medications that aren’t commonly used for most types of epilepsy. Additionally, they often require two or more anti-seizure drugs for seizures to be under control.

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.

Indications

Prescription CBD is specifically recommended for control of seizures in LGS and Dravet syndrome.

LGS is a developmental disorder that begins in early childhood and is characterized by multiple seizure types, as well as physical and cognitive deficits. The seizures of LGS are difficult to control and are managed with a different medication regimen than that which is used for most epilepsy types.

Dravet syndrome is a developmental disorder that begins in early childhood and is associated with multiple seizure types as well as seizures triggered by fevers. People with Dravet syndrome often have behavioral challenges and learning difficulties.

Even with treatment, people with LGS or Dravet syndrome may continue to experience persistent seizures.

However, studies have shown that CBD, when taken with other anti-seizure medications, reduces the frequency and severity of seizures in people who have these disorders.  

A 2019 review of studies on Epidiolex showed a sustained seizure frequency reduction of between 30 and 63 percent.   Additionally, seizures were about half as severe and the postictal (after seizure) state was less severe as well.

What About Other Seizure Types?

Studies using CBD for seizure control are focused on refractory seizures, which are seizures that are not easily controlled with anti-seizure treatments. It’s still too soon to tell whether it will be beneficial and tolerable for people with other seizure types. As such, CBD is not approved for other types of seizures or epilepsy itself at this time.

Cannabidiol is a controversial treatment because it is one of the components of marijuana, a widely known recreational drug. There are strong opinions about the drug, and proponents advocate for its legalization for medical uses, while some advocate for the legalization of recreational use as well.

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.

If you have questions regarding whether cannabidiol is an appropriate treatment for you or someone you know, talk to your healthcare provider first. You can use our Doctor Discussion Guide below to help start that conversation about treatment options and more.

Epilepsy Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Dosing

Epidiolex comes in an oral solution (liquid form), and the recommended dose is initiated based on weight.

It is generally started at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg twice per day and increased weekly. It can be increased up to a dose of 20 mg/kg per day if needed, but increased side effects have been found to occur at the higher dose.

Anti-seizure medications should be taken at the regularly scheduled times without skipping or combining doses.

Sometimes, children and adults who have LGS or Dravet syndrome have some difficulties taking oral medication due to difficulty swallowing, behavioral problems, and/or cognitive issues. It may be a challenge to get your child to take any medication, and you might need to develop strategies to help with this process.

Side Effects

The side effects of CBD that have been reported in the studies when it was added to other antiseizure medications included:

  • Fever
  • Upper respiratory tract infection/rhinitis
  • Drowsiness
  • Generalized fatigue
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Weakness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Rashes
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting (prolonged seizure requiring emergency attention)
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy

In studies, these were more common in the first two weeks on Epidiolex, after which time they tended to diminish. Additionally, many of the studies on the drug involved at least one other anti-seizure drug as well, so the side effects may not all have been due to Epidiolex.

More severe side effects, which you should contact your healthcare provider about right away, include:

  • Symptoms of liver injury:Jaundice (a yellowish color of the skin and eyes), abdominal pain, vomiting, and dark colored urine
  • Mood changes: Depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation

Myth Buster

CBD itself does not have abuse potential and does not produce the “high” that is typical of marijuana, so you do not need to worry about your child abusing the drug or becoming addicted to it. However, it is possible that others may misunderstand the effects of the drug, particularly because it is new and because it is derived from the same plant that marijuana is derived from.

Interactions

There’s still much to be learned about how CBD interacts with other anti-seizure drugs.  

It’s possible that CBD may raise the blood level of certain other anticonvulsants such as Topamax and Onfi (clobazam), and may result in side effects.

When used with other anti-seizure drugs, CBD can cause elevated liver enzymes, which is often a sign of liver injury.

In the aforementioned 2019 review of studies on this drug, however, researchers found that while adding Epidiolex to a treatment regimen may increase certain specific side effects, it may actually decrease the overall amount of side effects participants experienced.

Over-the-Counter CBD Products

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.  

However, these products aren’t regulated by the FDA and are largely untested. The FDA has warned that CBD products are often mislabeled or overpromise their supposed benefits.  Dosage and quality are likely to be far less consistent with other CBD products, which may put you at risk for more seizures.

In fact, the FDA has issued warnings to many CBD businesses for illegal practices, including those related to the marketing of their products. In some cases, actual CBD content was negligible or less than 1 percent of what the label claimed.

A 2017 study published in JAMA found that 26 percent of products purchased online contained less CBD than their labels claimed.  

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Warning

Some other CBD products contained other compounds from the marijuana plant, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the part that gets you “high.”

A Word From Verywell

Given that CBD is a fairly new therapy for epilepsy, you may experience challenges when it comes to health insurance coverage or availability of the medication. If you do, be sure to involve your healthcare provider, who can provide documentation that can help you get an approval for coverage and may be able to refer you to a source that will fill your prescription.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

US Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA News release: FDA approves first drug comprised of an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy. June 25, 2018.

Gaston TE, Bebin EM, Cutter GR, Liu Y, Szaflarski JP. Interactions between cannabidiol and commonly used antiepileptic drugs. Epilepsia. 2017;58(9):1586-1592. doi:10.1111/epi.13852

Bonn-miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708-1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909

Reddy DS, Golub VM. The Pharmacological Basis of Cannabis Therapy for Epilepsy. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2016 Apr;357(1):45-55. doi: 10.1124/jpet.115.230151. Epub 2016 Jan 19.

By Heidi Moawad, MD
Heidi Moawad is a neurologist and expert in the field of brain health and neurological disorders. Dr. Moawad regularly writes and edits health and career content for medical books and publications.

Best CBD Oil for Seizures & Epilepsy in 2022

According to the Michigan Epilepsy Foundation, 1% of Americans suffer from some form of epilepsy — a recurring neurological disorder known for frequent, often unprovoked seizures.

Epilepsy compromises all aspects of a person’s daily life. The violent tremors caused by a seizure attack can put the individual in grave danger, not to mention that people with epilepsy are also prone to suffer from sleep issues, migraines, anxiety disorders, and depression.

Of all epilepsy forms, up to 40% are drug-resistant, meaning the patient doesn’t react to Antiepileptic Drugs (AEDs). For these patients, AEDs are simply ineffective, or the side effects are too severe to allow for continuous treatment.

As a result, many turn to natural resources to help manage their condition. CBD oil is one promising option whose antiepileptic effects have been thoroughly studied by scientists.

In this article, I’ll cover the potential benefits of CBD oil for epilepsy and seizures — and share the top brands I trust when it comes to manufacturing high-quality CBD oil.

Best CBD Oil Brands for Epilepsy & Seizures

There are lots of different CBD companies trying to make their name in the market with their CBD oil. Some brands provide high-quality products and can back up their claims with third-party lab reports. In contrast, others tend to take advantage of unaware consumers with lots of fancy buzzwords and unrealistic promises.

If you want a clean and potent CBD oil, you need to find a manufacturer that makes organic products with proper quality assurance.

Don’t have time for that? Don’t worry — I did the research for you.

Here are my top 3 brands that make premium CBD oil for different types of consumers.

1. Royal CBD

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Pros:

  • Royal CBD comes from organic hemp grown on American farms
  • The company employs CO2 extraction so their extracts are clean and safe
  • Their CBD oil comes in three different strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 2500 mg
  • Up to 83.3 mg of CBD per mL
  • Hemp extract is suspended in premium MCT oil
  • Every batch of product has been tested by a third-party laboratory

Cons:

  • No vapes or vape oils available (yet)
  • The price is on the higher end, although justified
My Thoughts on Royal CBD:

Royal CBD is a premium brand that uses only high-quality ingredients in its product lineup. The company’s product range includes every basic CBD format, from sublingual drops to gummies and capsules.

The oil and capsules are full-spectrum, meaning they also contain other cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp. Gummies, on the other hand, contain 99% pure isolate.

The Royal CBD oil comes in three different potencies: 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 2500 mg. The strongest option gives you 83 mg of CBD/mL. I would recommend this variant for stronger symptoms. Those who need noticeably higher doses of CBD may find the weaker bottles cost-prohibitive.

If you don’t want to measure out the oil each time you need CBD, you may switch to Royal capsules. Each softgel carries 25mg of full-spectrum cannabidiol in an easy-to-swallow form.

All Royal CBD products are sent to third-party laboratories for content analysis — checking the potency of CBD as well as purity levels.

2. Gold Bee (Best Organic)

Pros:

  • Unique product selection
  • Non-GMO, Colorado-grown hemp
  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • Extracted with CO2
  • Up to 2400 mg of CBD per bottle (80 mg/mL)
  • Sweetened with organic honey
  • Third-party lab tested for potency and purity

Cons:

  • No high-strength oils
  • Not available in-store
My Thoughts On Gold Bee:

Gold Bee specializes in all-organic CBD products, including full-spectrum CBD oil, high-potency CBD capsules, gummies, and delicious honey sticks. The company’s CBD oil is available in two potency options, 1200 mg, and 2400 mg.

This concentration translates into 40 mg of CBD in each milliliter. The oil has been suspended in premium-grade MCT oil and infused with natural terpenes to enhance the synergy between CBD and other compounds in hemp. There are two flavors available: natural and kiwi. The kiwi flavor is sweetened with organic honey, which only adds to the product’s value.

I’ve been taking the Gold Bee CBD oil for 30 days, using the dosage based on the recommended serving size. At first, I was skeptical because I got used to higher doses in my routine — low doses could hardly calm my nervous system.

To my surprise, 1 mL a day split into two doses was enough to boost my resistance to stress and outside stimuli. After two weeks, I slightly decreased the dosage and was still getting pretty good results. This was the first time a potency lower than 1500 mg lasted more than 1 month for me.

3. CBDPure

Pros:

  • CBDPure products come from organic hemp grown in Colorado
  • The company uses CO2 extraction
  • All products are tested by 3rd-party laboratories for potency and purity
  • Available in 60 mL bottles
  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed program — you can send your order back within 90 days for a full refund

Cons:

  • CBDPure only sells CBD oil and capsules
  • The oil is slightly less potent than Royal CBD

My Thoughts on CBDPure:

CBDPure was established in 2016 by a group of cannabis advocates from Colorado. The company has a simple mission, which is to make premium-quality CBD oils from organic hemp.

Although CBDPure has a very narrow product range — offering only CBD oil and capsules — they seem to have perfected these products. All extracts from CBDPure are obtained using supercritical CO2 and tested in a certified laboratory for quality assurance.

The oil isn’t as potent as the one offered by Royal CBD, but if you benefit from lower doses, their 60-mL bottles will get you supplied for months to come. Their oils are a good option for people who use CBD for general health care or to ease mild symptoms.

If you’re looking for something potent, try CBDPure capsules — each softgel is infused with 25 mg of full-spectrum CBD for easier dosing and extra convenience.

CBDPure has a Satisfaction Guarantee program, so in case you ended up unsatisfied with your purchase, you can get a full refund if you send the order back within 90 days.

4. CBDistillery

Pros:

  • CBDistillery uses Colorado-grown hemp
  • Their products are available as full-spectrum or isolate
  • They have an impressive product selection
  • Each batch is sent to a 3rd-party lab for content analysis
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Their hemp isn’t organic

My Thoughts on CBDistillery:

CBDistillery is a company founded in Denver, Colorado. They’ve been offering high-quality CBD oil products for over 5 years now. One of the driving forces behind the brand is to manufacture CBD oil for every budget and promote research and education among consumers all over the country.

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CBDistillery has many different forms of CBD, from sublingual tinctures to capsules, gummies, topicals, and vapes. Their CBD oil is available as ‘full-spectrum’ or isolate.

These oils come in two different sizes — 15 mL and 30 mL

The potency of the 15 mL bottle ranges between 150–1,000 mg of CBD. The 30 mL bottle offers from 2,500–5,000 of total CBD.

With such a wide potency range, CBDistillery oils may suit both novice and experienced consumers alike. The only downside to the company’s product range is that they’re not made with organic hemp.

However, this becomes understandable once you consider the price of CBDistillery products. The company may not sell the best CBD oil on the market, but they offer the best CBD products in this price range.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a cannabis extract with high concentrations of CBD. This product can be sourced from both marijuana and hemp, two members of the cannabis plant family.

It’s worth noting that marijuana-derived CBD oil contains higher levels of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for getting users “high.”

CBD oil from hemp has only trace amounts of THC — typically below 0.3% — and thus can’t produce any psychoactive effects.

That’s because CBD is non-psychoactive per se.

CBD oil reportedly has a plethora of health benefits. However, the best-documented evidence thus far comes from epilepsy trials.

Does CBD Oil Work for Seizures?

The earliest studies proving the effectiveness of cannabis compounds in the treatment of convulsions came from animal research from the 1970s. The researchers analyzed the anticonvulsant properties of both THC and CBD oils, concluding that both extracts had substantial effects on mice.

Early experiments reported that the seizure activity might in part, be regulated by the endocannabinoid system — an interconnected network of cannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids.

The Mechanism Behind the Antiepileptic Effects of CBD

The endocannabinoid system works to keep the body in a state of equilibrium, maintaining chemical balance and controlling biological functioning, from appetite to motor control, sensory perception, sleep, and inflammation.

It sends signals to various bodily systems through its chemical messengers called endocannabinoids to do. These molecules bind to the cannabinoid receptors which occur in the brain and throughout the body. By doing so, endocannabinoids help the endocannabinoid system to maintain the healthy functioning of an individual.

Once endocannabinoids have done their work, they get broken down by enzymes to prevent overaccumulation.

As a cannabinoid, CBD is almost identical in its chemical structure to endocannabinoids produced by your body. When you ingest CBD, it’s able to affect cannabinoid receptors on top of acting on several other pathways.

While scientists still don’t know exactly how CBD oil works for seizures, they’ve observed the following interactions which may explain the positive effects:

  1. Endocannabinoids are neuroprotectants, lowering the risk of seizures caused by neurotoxicity. When a person ingests CBD, they introduce more cannabinoids to their system—potentially improving the performance of the endocannabinoid system with their neuroprotective properties.
  2. The endocannabinoid system also modulates neuroexcitation, a process that may trigger seizures. A properly functioning endocannabinoid system, bolstered by additional cannabinoids from CBD oil, may prevent the overexcitation of neurons.
  3. CBD is also an anti-inflammatory agent. Seizures may be triggered, or their frequency may be increased by brain inflammation. By curbing neuroinflammation, CBD may reduce both the severity and frequency of seizure attacks.

Now, let’s elaborate on the scientific findings regarding the antiepileptic properties of CBD oil.

What the Research Says

The majority of specific case studies from the late 1990s, and the early 2000s focused on the effect of THC/CBD solutions on epilepsy. Due to the psychoactive nature of THC, the eyes of modern medicine turned to CBD.

In June 2018, the FDA approved the first CBD-based drug. The oral spray, called Epidiolex, contains 99% pure CBD. It’s used for treatment-resistant forms of childhood epilepsy — such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Both diseases begin during early childhood and often lead to delayed or poor development of the child’s motor skills, language, intellectual aptitude, and ability to communicate with others.

Before receiving the FDA’s approval, Epidiolex went through three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials examining 516 patients with either syndrome. When administered along with other medications, Epidiolex successfully reduced the participant’s frequency of seizures compared to the placebo group. Besides, CBD improved other associated symptoms for the participants, such as sleep and anxiety.

Currently, Epidiolex can be officially used to treat these two types of epilepsy. However, recent research suggests that CBD may help relieve other forms of this disease as well.

For instance, a 2015 study analyzing the reports from Epidiolex patients from 11 epilepsy centers across the country showed that the frequency of seizures decreased by 36.5% after a 13-week treatment.

All subjects had severe, childhood-onset forms of epilepsy, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet Syndrome. The researchers started with a dose of 2–5 mg/kg per day and gradually increased it to 25–50 mg/kg per day.

Can You Develop a Tolerance to CBD Oil for Seizures?

People who have treatment-resistant epilepsy tend to experience a “honeymoon” period upon switching to a new therapy. In other words, they stop feeling the effects of their new treatment after a few months. In late 2018, scientists observed that the same pattern might apply to CBD treatment.

The study examined nearly 100 patients, of which about one-third developed a tolerance to CBD. The tolerance showed up about seven months after they began the therapy. From then on, they had to increase the dose to maintain the effects. When the dose was higher, nearly half of the examined sample experienced their previous response level.

The good news, though, is that for two-thirds of participants, CBD proved effective in the long run.

How to Use CBD Oil for Epilepsy

CBD can take many forms. Epidiolex, the only approved CBD treatment for epilepsy, is an oral solution containing 99% pure CBD.

If you want to use CBD in a more natural form to see how it works for your symptoms, you may try the following formats:

  • Sublingual drops: The most common form of CBD. The drops are administered via a dropper under the tongue, where they get absorbed through special membranes into the bloodstream. Sublingual drops provide the most consistent blood absorption rates according to studies.
  • Capsules: CBD capsules are sold as pills and softgels. You just swallow them like any other pill. They offer a fixed dose of CBD in each serving, which makes dosing easier than sublingual drops, not to mention you can avoid any natural hemp taste.
  • Vape oils: this form of CBD is inhaled through a vaporizer or vape pen. Many people prefer vape oils over other products because they find the act of inhalation relaxing, and they like the flavoring of vape oils. But most importantly, vape oils deliver more CBD to your system than any other consumption method.

CBD Oil Dosage for Epilepsy & Seizures

The dose-finding process will vary between patients. As with every new substance, a conservative approach and slow dosage increase will minimize the chance of severe side effects and leave room for adjusting the dose from the starting point.

For each individual, the optimal CBD dosage will depend on the following:

  • CBD concentration
  • Cannabinoid spectrum
  • Route of administration
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Metabolism
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Medications the patient is already taking

Dr. Karen Keough, Chief Medical Officer at Compassionate Cultivation, created general dosage guidelines for dosing CBD oil to both adults and children who have epilepsy.

Dosing Recommendations for Children

Depending on the severity of symptoms, children may go through low-dose initiation and high-dose initiation.

Low-Dose Initiation instructions:

  • Start with 0.25 mg/lb/day
  • The minimum dose is 10 mg
  • Target dose ranges between 1–5 mg/lb/day. Higher doses are tolerated but at the cost of some mild side effects, such as dry mouth, dry eyes, low blood pressure, sedation, and dizziness.
  • Average dose is 1–3 mg/lb/day
  • Increase the dose every 1–2 weeks by 0.5 mg/lb/day, topping to the nearest 10 mg as long as there are no side effects.
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High-Dose Initiation in Children:

  • Start with 0.5mg/lbs/day
  • Target dose ranges between 1–5 mg/lb/day
  • Average dose is 1-3 mg/lb/day
  • Increase the dose every 1–2 weeks by 0.5 mg/lb/day and monitor the effects
  • If side-effects occur, leave more time between dose increases and go up more gradually

Dosing Recommendations for Adults

Considering the factors above, such as body weight and metabolism, adults with epilepsy need more CBD in their regime than children. Use the following guidelines to reach an effective dose:

Low CBD dose in adults:

  • Start with 25 mg twice daily
  • Go up by 25 mg per dose every 1–2 weeks
  • Target dose ranges between 100–300 mg twice a day if no side effects are observed. Clinical trials have utilized doses as high as 1,500 mg of CBD daily, but such high doses might not be necessary to achieve seizure relief in most patients

High CBD dose in adults:

  • Start with 50 mg twice daily
  • Go up every 1–2 weeks by 50 mg/dose
  • Target dose ranges between 200–500 mg twice a day if tolerated. You may stop sooner if seizures are gone to prevent further dosage increase and possible side effects.

Where to Find CBD Oil for Sale for Epilepsy & Seizures

CBD oil is available both in cannabis dispensaries and online retail stores. Dispensaries give you access to a wide range of cannabis products, including CBD oil from hemp. However, these places may not always carry the best products, and the bottles have probably spent some time on the shelves before being sold so that they may lose potency over time due to poor storage.

That’s why I buy my CBD oil online. The majority of CBD stuff is sold this way, so you have more options to choose from. Also, you can verify the reputation of your potential vendor with the help of online research. Read user reviews, check for third-party lab reports, and learn how your company sources its CBD to make sure you’re getting a clean and potent product.

The delivery time for CBD oil is usually 2–3 business days. But in my opinion, it’s worth it to wait a few days more to get a high-quality product for a good price — CBD oil ordered online is usually less expensive than what you see in a dispensary.

Using CBD Oil for Seizures: Will It Help?

Cannabinoids have many proven beneficial effects on health, particularly in the treatment and management of epileptic seizures. Epilepsy is currently the only FDA-approved condition for treatment with CBD — although this approval doesn’t apply to hemp-derived CBD oil.

Still, if you want to try CBD oil for better management of your symptoms, I hope this guide has helped you understand how to use it to get the most out of its benefits. Just remember to start low and slow with the dosage.

But above all, consult with your doctor before purchasing any CBD product — just to make sure it won’t negatively interfere with any medications you’re taking.

Do you know any examples of people who successfully reduced the frequency of their seizures with CBD oil? Share your stories in the comments below!

References:

  1. Filloux, F. M. (2016). Cannabinoids for Pediatric Epilepsy? Up in Smoke or Real Science? Translational Pediatrics, 4(4), 271–282.
  2. Perucca, E. (2017). Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last? Journal of Epilepsy Research, 7(2), 61–76.
  3. Devinsky, O. et al. (2016). Cannabidiol in Patients With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy: An Open-Label Interventional Trial. The Lancet: Neurology, 15(3), 270–278.
  4. Mannila, J., Jarvinen, T., Jarvinen, K., Jarho, P. (2007). Precipitation Complexation Method Produces Cannabidiol/Beta-Cyclodextrin Inclusion Complex Suitable for Sublingual Administration of Cannabidiol. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 96(2), 312–9.
  5. Millar, S.A., Stone, N.L., Yates, A.S. & O’Sullivan, S.E. (2018) A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9, 1365.
Nina Julia

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

Should you take CBD oil for seizures?

There is evidence that Epidiolex – an FDA-approved CBD oil – could reduce epilepsy symptoms for people with certain syndromes. Find out more.

People have been using cannabis (also known as marijuana) to treat epilepsy for centuries. In the United States it only became legal to take marijuana products for medical reasons relatively recently. And, in 2018, a CBD oil for seizures called Epidiolex was approved by the FDA to treat certain epilepsy syndromes (CBD is a chemical found in cannabis plants).

Around one third of people with epilepsy have drug-resistant epilepsy, which means traditional medication does not control their seizures. For people with drug-resistant epilepsy (also known as refractory epilepsy), the possibility that medical marijuana could help them reduce or even end seizures is, of course, exciting.

Here is everything we know about Epidiolex, CBD oil and seizures.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol – known as CBD – is a chemical found in cannabis plants and it is believed to help treat a number of conditions. CBD can be extracted from marijuana plants and it is usually turned into an oil that you swallow. The FDA has approved one brand of CBD oil – Epidiolex – for the treatment of people with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex.

How does CBD oil stop seizures?

Researchers are still not exactly sure how CBD affects seizures, but it may help protect brain cells from becoming ‘over excited’ in a few different ways.

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Epidiolex – a CBD oil for seizures

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a new drug called Epidiolex for the treatment of three forms of epilepsy:

The medication was approved after several trials showed a significant reduction in seizures for people with these conditions (in combination with their existing anti-epilepsy drugs).

If you or someone you know has Dravet Syndrome, tuberous sclerosis complex or Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and you would like to use this CBD oil for seizures, talk to your epilepsy specialist about Epidiolex.

Buying CBD oil for seizures at health food stores

It is possible to purchase CBD oil from health food stores in most, but not all, US states (the rules vary, so you should always check with your healthcare provider). Many companies promote the use of CBD oil for a range of conditions – from anxiety to insomnia to chronic pain. However, the Epidiolex brand is the only CBD oil that is FDA-approved to treat seizures.

If you wish to purchase CBD oil for seizures, you should always speak with your doctor first.

Side effects and interactions between CBD oil and seizure medicine

While Epidiolex (and other CBD oils) may provide some relief from seizures, it should always be taken with caution and under guidance from a medical professional. This is because of:

  • Side effects: CBD oil can cause sleepiness, diarrhea, fatigue, decreased appetite and, potentially, liver damage
  • Interactions: CBD oil may interact with other anti-epilepsy drugs. People taking valproic acid may see an increase in liver enzymes which could cause liver damage, while people taking Clobazam may feel especially tired

Cautious optimism about CBD oil for seizures

It is always positive to learn about a new treatment for epilepsy, and the potential benefits of CBD oil Epidiolex for seizures are exciting. However, we are still learning about how CBD affects people with epilepsy, so until we know more it should not be seen as a replacement for standard treatments.

If you would like to find out more about Epidiolex, CBD oil and seizures, speak to your doctor about how it might work for you and whether it is safe for you to try it.

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