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CBD to fight epilepsy

Written by: Arthur Leclerc


CBD to fight epilepsy

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Cannabidiol, or CBD, has shown promising results in the treatment of many conditions. These include anxiety , depression , arthritis , cognitive disorders, diabetes, and even obesity. CBD also has certain neuroprotective mechanisms and can in particular act against epilepsy .

What is epilepsy?

Normal brain function is a balance between excitation and inhibition. Any disturbance of this balance can thus result in an epileptic attack. The inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and the excitatory amino acids glutamate and aspartate are essential for maintaining the stability of neuronal activity in the brain. It is believed that an excess or shortage of these elements causes a reaction in neurons and therefore an epileptic seizure.

During a crisis, a person may present an alteration or loss of consciousness or behavioral abnormalities. She may also have sensory disturbances, abnormal motor activity, or autonomic dysfunction.


The cannabis plant contains over 100 biologically active compounds called cannabinoids. The most abundant of all these molecules are THC and CBD . Researchers have been working on the role of these two in the body for many years.

Marijuana and other high-THC cannabis extracts are generally used recreationally. They are therefore not suitable for medical purposes, mainly because THC is associated with many adverse effects such as sedation and poor coordination. These effects are the complete opposite of what epilepsy patients need.

Pure CBD extract, having no negative psychoactive effects, can be used for its anticonvulsant benefits. Numerous studies have in fact established the benefits of CBD in the treatment of epilepsy.

CBD against epilepsy: What is its role?

CBD acts on two different types of receptors, called cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2), which are in the endocannabinoid system . CB1 receptors are found mainly in neurons. CB2 receptors are in microglial cells, support cells of the central nervous system that remove damaged neurons and maintain the health of the central nervous system. Thus, CBD, by acting with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, can influence these neuronal functions.

Studies have in fact revealed that endocannabinoids play an important role in the control of nerve transmission. CB1 receptors are located at the presynaptic terminals of nerves releasing glutamate (excitatory neurotransmitter) and GABA (inhibitory neurotransmitter). Binding of CBD to these receptors results in the inhibition of neurotransmitter release. As the concentration of glutamate is reduced in the synapses, the uncontrolled excitation of neurons is blocked .

What the research says 

A study done with CBD on 120 children and young adults with Dravet syndrome and drug- resistant epilepsy had promising results. By administering 20 mg/kg/day of CBD for a period of 14 weeks, the frequency of seizures was reduced from 12.4 to 5.9 in patients who received CBD. And 43% of patients experienced a more than 50% reduction in seizure frequency. 

Other work including 162 patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome has been published. Patients there were treated with 2 to 5mg/kg of CBD per day with a dose of up to 50mg/kg/day for a period of 12 weeks. The study found a 36.5% reduction in seizures; with the greatest reduction recorded in patients suffering from atonic (loss of muscle tone) and focal (impaired consciousness) seizures.

Conclusion on CBD for epilepsy

CBD is therefore a natural alternative for treating many conditions, including neurological disorders. The evidence regarding the use of CBD for epilepsy and related disorders is compelling enough to represent a serious lead . If you are taking treatment for these disorders, talk to your doctor, he will be able to advise you on CBD.

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