Many health conscious people are enthusiastic about cannabidiol and use it for many complaints. Do you also already use CBD oil? In this article, we will introduce you to another possible field of application for this active ingredient from the commercial cannabis plant.
It is still largely unknown to the general public that cannabidiol could also have positive effects in seizure disorders. Scientific research in this area is not yet complete. However, initial research approaches are promising.
What is epilepsy?
It is a neurological disease that is associated with, among other things, seizures and loss of consciousness. Neurological diseases are examined in the field of neurology, which includes diseases of the nervous system.
It is estimated that over 50 million people around the world are affected by epilepsy.
Unfortunately, about 30% of the patients do not respond to the usual medication in this area. The medical term for the lack of effect of drugs is therapy resistance.
It is very stressful for those affected that despite taking medication, they keep suffering from seizures. The level of suffering and restriction of everyday life and quality of life can be overwhelming.
That is why those affected hope for treatment alternatives. Whether active substances of the cannabis plant can be such an alternative, we will take a closer look in this article.
Symptoms, causes and course of disease
The term epilepsy has an ancient Greek language root that describes terms such as assault and attack. In the past, the term falling sickness was also associated with the disease. Cerebral seizure disorder is still found today in the specialist literature as a description of the disease.
Even a seizure can be the basis for the diagnosis of the seizure.
In contrast to other diseases of the central nervous system, epileptic seizures do not have any obviously recognisable triggers or causes.
The epileptic thrust seems to come out of nowhere. When we talk about cramping, we are actually talking about epilepsies (plural) because they are groups of neurological disorders.
The classic picture of an epileptic seizure is characterised by non-arbitrary uniform (stereotypical) disturbances of movements and sensations.
Arbitrary in this context means that the person affected has no control over the corresponding motor phenomena and disturbances of consciousness for a certain period of time. They are unconscious to him. The epileptic seizure can therefore have a very frightening effect on outsiders.
Normally it stops after 1-2 minutes by itself, although those affected can injure themselves in between by uncontrolled movements.
However, the seizure disorder is not always accompanied by the known reflex-like twitching that seems to be characteristic of it. There are many different forms of the disease, as new possible influencing factors are also being discovered as before.
Behind an epileptic seizure are spontaneous electrical discharges of nerve cells in the area of our brain.
Electrical impulses play a major role in the transmission of nerve impulses and thus information in the brain. In epileptics, overactivity in various areas of the brain occurs. Two factors determine the probability of developing the disease:
Firstly, 10% of all people are genetically predisposed to epileptic seizures. This predisposition (disposition) can be detected with an EEG (electroencephalography). The EEG measures certain fluctuations in the brain, which can be more intense if there is an increased tendency to seizures.
On the other hand, external influence is regularly added.
Combination of various factors
As a rule, genetic predisposition alone is not sufficient to fully develop the disease. In most cases an externally acquired brain damage is added. Here, for example, a lack of oxygen at birth can lead to the development of a child's seizure disorder and finally consolidate the increased willingness to seize.
If there is an increased readiness to seize, external triggers often cause the acute seizure. What has a trigger function for the person concerned varies from person to person. Convulsive disorders occur for the first time in all age groups.
Frequent cases are in childhood and beyond the 60s of a person.
In some cases one seizure leads to a diagnosis, in others several seizures do not confirm the diagnosis.
For example, people can suffer from sleep deprivation, alcohol withdrawal, certain metabolic disorders, diseases during pregnancy such as eclampsia, poisoning and seizures caused by certain drugs.
The widespread febrile convulsions in children can also be seen in this category.
Inflammations in the brain trigger cramps.
In all these cases, the disease is not epileptic seizure.
The classic seizure disorder in epileptics has no recognisable cause and initially no clearly identifiable trigger.
Course and prognosis
As a rule, the seizure disorder develops into a chronic disease. However, the progression as well as the symptoms are very different.
Some sufferers experience repeated relapses, others remain episodes.
Very different areas of the brain can be affected by the discharges, so that the symptoms are also differently noticeable.
As a result, some epileptics feel little affected by the disease, while others perceive it as a handicap.
This applies, for example, when the risk of specific seizures prohibits driving.
The classic treatment of the disease
Various so-called seizure blockers - anti-convulsive drugs - have been developed.
They should help to reduce the frequency of seizures.
In this context, names for drug classes and individual drugs such as benzodiazepines, oxcarbazepine, eslicarbazepine acetate, carbamazepine, valproic acid (valproate), phenytoin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, lacosamide, phenobarbital, pregabalin, ethosuximide, topiramate, retigabine, zonisamide and perampanel should be mentioned.
Sometimes surgical interventions are also considered as therapy.
However, the development of a successful therapy in individual cases is often difficult. Side effects and resistance to therapy can demand a lot of patience from those affected. Success does not come in every case.
Effect approaches of cannabidiol and other cannabis active substances
It is not yet clear what the potential effect of the cannabis substances is based on.
Interestingly, so-called full-spectrum oils - here cannabidiol is embedded in other accompanying substances from the cannabis plant - seem to be more effective in epilepsy.
Results of studies to date
Canadian scientists were able to prove that cannabidiol has an antispasmodic effect.
Their conclusion is, among other things, that cannabis oils can be a good treatment alternative, especially in cases of resistance to therapy.
The use of the oils not only reduced the frequency of attacks, but also the quality of life in general. The effect of the cannabis oils could even be proven in the EEG as a reduced fluctuation intensity.
Products with entourage effect at an advantage
Brazilian researchers examined several studies under a very specific aspect. They wanted to know whether full spectrum oils were more effective than purified and isolated oils.
An entourage effect is described for cannabidiol oils. Various concomitant substances from the cannabis plant seem to be able to enhance the effect of cannabidiols.
In addition to cannabidiol, the plant also contains terpenes and other plant substances. Full spectrum oils seem to have a more intensive effect. A synergetic effect is suspected.
The Brazilian scientists also found this out when they analysed studies on the use of CBD oils for cramping disorders.
Interactions with medicinal products
Previous study results show that cannabidiol could interact with various classical anti-convulsant drugs. So far, this has been assumed for eslicarbazepine, clobazam, rufinamide, zonisamide and also for eslicarbazepine. This could lead to an increased impact.
Cannabidiol has a considerable antispasmodic potential in seizure disorders. This could offer a new treatment approach in cases of therapy resistance.
The interrelationships in the effect are not clearly clarified. It is known that cannabidiols can dock to specific receptors in the human nervous system. They influence, for example, the sensation of pain and sleep.
This effect could also play a role in cramping disorders.
As far as the dosage and practical use of cannabidiol oils against seizures is concerned, nothing is yet certain. Users are dependent on their own experience.
If you are an epileptic yourself and want to try CBD oil, you should use a full spectrum oil. These oils seem to be able to produce a more intensive effect according to previous knowledge about the entourage effect.
Some caution is required if you are already taking medication for your cramping condition. Here it is advisable to discuss the use of cannabidiol with your doctor in advance.
Obviously, cannabidiole can enhance the effect of these drugs. This can lead to unwanted side effects for you.
All in all, the use of CBD for cramp problems can be an alternative for you, especially if the usual drugs have not worked for you in the desired way.
Note: In this article we report on prescription cannabis, prescription CBD or over-the-counter or legal CBD. This Article does not make any proposal as to the possible purpose of the proposal and is for information and education purposes only. Promises of healing and benefits are excluded.