The number of adults and children with epilepsy, a central nervous system disorder, has increased over the years. With this upsurge came the pressure to find a new treatment. Individuals diagnosed with epilepsy have been, and are still treated with heavy narcotics that have alarming side effects such as suicidal thoughts. However, with the awareness of CBD and its benefits, there has been an increase of privately funded studies that intend to target which types of epilepsy can be treated by CBD. This also includes the dosage and side effects, if any.
This central nervous system disorder develops due to abnormal brain activity, specifically in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a hub in the brain where the exchange of information takes place, but when the exchange is interrupted, a disconnect occurs causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, or loss of awareness. The seizures can be triggered for a variety of reasons, but common triggers include fatigue, stress, malnutrition, alcohol, and not taking prescribed medication. As to where it comes from, some individuals are born with a structural abnormality in the hippocampus, others inherit the gene, and a rare few develop epilepsy with age.
“Each day in Canada, an average of 42 people learn that they have epilepsy.” – Epilepsy Canada
Pertaining to CBD, there are two theories that can partially explain its effects and how it interacts with the human body. One theory explains that CBD plays a role in the hippocampus – where seizures stem from. The endocannabinoids send signals from the neurons to astrocytes which showcases a crucial contribution to the maintenance of epileptiform discharge in the hippocampus, ultimately reducing seizures. The second theory is based on the protective effects and properties of cannabinoids, specifically the NMDA receptors. These receptors play a major role in learning and memory, and cannabinoids could have a way of interacting with these receptors to enable less disconnect in the hippocampus.
The results found in recent cannabinoid-related clinical studies for epilepsy remain promising. Individuals are feeling a sense of relief that their physical and mental health has a new potential alternative to pharmaceutical drugs. However, more research with larger sample sizes need to be conducted before neurologists can prescribe CBD to patients. Furthermore, once the government and the Epilepsy Association stand behind CBD as a treatment, they will play a key role in the policies regarding CBD prescriptions and dosages.
DISCLAIMER: While the information provided in this blog is derived from published scientific studies it is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.