The recent approval of CBD products such as Epidiolex to treat various forms of epilepsy has highlighted the cannabinoid’s therapeutic potential. Yet, the cost of such prescription medications makes them unsuitable for many patients. For this reason, “artisanal CBD” – which can be produced at home or purchased from a non-pharmaceutical source – has become highly popular among those suffering from epilepsy, inflammation, chronic pain, and a range of other conditions. According to new research, epilepsy patients who use these alternative CBD products can expect to experience a significant improvement in their overall health and quality of life.
Artisanal CBD And Epilepsy
Published in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior, the new study analyses the outcomes experienced by 280 epilepsy sufferers who routinely ingest artisanal CBD, as well as 138 patients who do not use the cannabinoid. Strikingly, the authors noted that the CBD-using group tended to require fewer prescriptions medications, with this being driven by a reduced need for anticonvulsant drugs.
Those in the CBD group tolerated their epilepsy medications far better than those who didn’t use the cannabinoid, with significantly fewer side effects occurring. Overall, psychiatric health was better among the patients taking CBD, who were less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression. In their write-up, the authors explain that this may be a direct result of the therapeutic properties of CBD or could be due to the cannabinoid’s capacity to ameliorate the emotional dysregulation that is often produced by epilepsy drugs.
Epilepsy patients who used CBD also reported better sleep and fewer visits to the emergency room than those who did not use CBD. Unsurprisingly, therefore, they also reported a higher quality of life, while their caregivers tended to experience less strain than those caring for epilepsy sufferers who are not treated with cannabinoids.
It’s important to note, however, that the use of CBD was not correlated with a reduction in seizures, although this may be because most participants in this study took doses of the cannabinoid that were lower than those generally recommended for seizure control. These findings are very much in line with those of another recent study that found that CBD improves the quality of life among epilepsy patients via a mechanism that is independent of seizure control.
Can CBD Treat Seizures In Epilepsy Sufferers?
These findings should not be interpreted to mean that CBD can’t help to reduce seizures in epileptic patients. Research into this topic is currently ongoing, with several studies providing some extremely encouraging results.
For instance, research carried out in 2018 revealed that highly concentrated CBD formulations can drastically cut seizure frequency and severity. Three months into the study, the average seizure severity rating of the 132 study participants had dropped by 50 percent – an improvement that was maintained for a full two years.
On the whole, however, it appears that CBD is most effective at treating epilepsy when combined with THC. In one notable study published in 2019, seven children with severe epilepsy were treated with a cannabis extract consisting of 95 percent CBD and five percent THC. When given a dosage of around 10 milligrams of cannabis extract per kilogram of body weight, all children in the study experienced a dramatic reduction in seizures, with just under half seeing their convulsions stop altogether.