When someone suffers from epilepsy, the brain functions differently. Brain cells are continuously connected with each other. During an epileptic seizure, transmission of signals is disrupted. This expresses itself in compulsory contractions of muscles, or even loss of consciousness. Epilepsy is a serious condition, and sadly there is no treatment or cure for it. The possibilities of medical cannabis for epilepsy are increasingly in the news and other media. In this blog, we’ll look into the possibilities of cannabis for epilepsy: is it safe, and to what extent can it help?
Characteristics Of Epilepsy
Life with epilepsy is not easy, to say the least. Image that you could be struck by a seizure at any moment. During such a seizure, the communication of signals within the brain is temporary disturbed. The duration of a seizure can vary from seconds to several hours. Apart from this, the severity, frequency and the way a seizure expresses itself varies from person to person. This is, among other things, dependent on the part of the brain where the seizure originates from.
Most people think of epilepsy as a disease that triggers seizures, that always results in someone falling over, combined with spastic movements in the legs and arms. This is the case for the tonic clonic seizure, which is the most common and known form of epilepsy. However, there are many different forms. Some result in loss of consciousness; others cause a disrupted sense of smell, being socially absent, or behaving out of the ordinary. If you suffer from epilepsy, you are usually supervised by a doctor or professional. Most patients need medication that can help suppress the symptoms of seizures as much as possible.
Fortunately, medical cannabis can contribute to reducing the symptoms of epilepsy. Research has suggested that epilepsy is one of the conditions that reacts well to the active components in cannabis. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabinol) are the two cannabinoids that have shown the most promising results. Especially when normal medication doesn’t reduce or effect your symptoms much, which is the case for 30% of the people that suffer from epilepsy, trying cannabis can be an effective and natural solution.
Cannabis For Epilepsy: How Does It Work?
Cannabis is naturally rich in different active components. The most important ones for epilepsy are the cannabinoids THC and CBD. THC is a psychoactive substance, CBD is non-psychoactive. Both cannabinoids are capable of binding to receptors in the brain, hindering or promoting the forwarding of brain signals. Research shows that THC and CBD can reduce seizures for some patients. The effects of cannabis on epilepsy are not yet fully understood, but fortunately, research is still ongoing, and our insights about the disease and its potential treatment are advancing steadily.
Research On Cannabis For Epilepsy
Since THC has psychoactive effects, which are undesirable for some, the main focus of this research is on the effects of CBD. Unsurprisingly, a medicine called Epidiolex has been developed based on CBD. During this research, cannabinol was used alongside regular medication, whichshowed promising results. After 12 weeks, 37% of the participants experienced fewer seizures, and 2% didn’t experience any seizures at all. The only notable side-effects were fatigue, diarrhea, and sleepiness.
CBD has an effect on epilepsy because it influences the CB1 receptors. THC also binds with these receptors (delta-9-THC and it’s synthetic form WIN 55,212-2). The problem with THC, however, is that it can have an agonistic effect, which means it activates the receptors. CBD has a weak agonistic influence and de-activates the receptor’s functions. When cannabis with both THC and CBD is consumed, the two cannabinoids work together. CBD can enhance the effect of THC, while it can also suppress certain other effects of THC. Read more about this in our blog about how CBD can affect the THC-high.
The Genetic Background Of Epilepsy
As explained before, further research regarding the effects of cannabis on epilepsy is still being conducted. Recently, the University of Colorado reported that researchers are keen to find out more about the genetic background of people suffering from Dravet syndrome (a form of epilepsy). Participants of the study consumed a strain called ‘Charlotte’s Web’, which is high in CBD and low in THC. What is especially remarkable, is that some participants noticed a great deal of improvements, while others noticed no difference at all. Researchers are trying to find out why this is the case, and genetic backgrounds might explain thisGenetic research, might reveal in advance whether someone who suffers from epilepsy can benefit from medical cannabis or not.
During a 2019 study conducted by the Children’s Hospital in Colorado, young patients suffering from epilepsy were given a cannabis extract, containing THC and CBD. 57% of those children noticed improvements by experiencing less epileptic seizures. 33% noticed an improvement of at least 50%. This research shows that cannabis can have a considerable positive effect.
The Influence Of The Endocannabinoid System
Cannabinoids like CBD and THC work through the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system is responsible for maintaining a natural balance within the body. The ECS could very well play a role in epilepsy. Some researchers think that epilepsy could be caused by a disruption of the ECS, a condition called an endocannabinoid shortage. CBD and THC can recover the balance of the ECS, and help supplement the cannabinoids in the body, which could explain why they can ease the symptoms of epilepsy.
Which Cannabis Strains Are Suitable For Epilepsy?
When using cannabis for epilepsy, you could opt for strains with lower THC values and higher CBD percentages. This way, you can benefit optimally from the effects of CBD on epileptic seizures, while alleviating the psycho-active effects of THC.
Cannabidiol From CBD Oil
If you would you rather not use THC at all, then CBD Oil might be the perfect fit for you. The SupMedi CBD Oilcontains no noticeable amounts of THC (less than 0,2%), and can be a good alternative. Beside our multiple varieties of Full Spectrum CBD Oil, we have many CBD Nutrition products to choose from. The choice is up to know, do you like coffee, oatmeal, or chocolate?
Cannabis Seeds With THC
THC can also be beneficial, especially when just CBD isn’t enough to prevent seizures. In addition to this, different cannabinoids can work together and amplify or alleviate their effects. This is called the entourage effect . This effect explains why CBD and THC can have a more powerful effect when working together, then one would have on it’s own. One option is to combine ‘normal’ higher THC cannabis with your daily dose of CBD. The easiest and best option would be to find a strain that naturally produces a balanced CBD:THC ratio.
Anyone looking for a high quality strain with a high CBD percentage should give our Blue Monkey CBD seeds a try. This special CBD strain produces flowers with CBD:THC ratios of about 30:1. Above all, Blue Monkey CBD is a beautiful, strong, and resilient strain that can cope with challenging environmental factors. The strain can also develop amazing deep purple colours when temperatures drop below 17 degrees Celsius. For anyone who likes a challenge, growing your own Blue Monkey CBD would be the perfect task. If you are looking for more certainty and fast results, you can order our Full Spectrum CBD Oil online instead!
If you suffer from serious conditions like epilepsy, always discuss the use of CBD with your doctor and never experiment without informing them. Amsterdam Genetics and SupMedi advocate responsible and well informed decisions, so make sure to be open and transparent to your doctor about the use of cannabis related products.