“From the beginning of my adulthood, I have had a type of seizure known as myoclonic seizures. Unaware of what they were and unconscious of what brought them on, I lived my younger adult life thinking what I experienced in my most private and painful moments was nothing to be concerned about. The seizures my brain and body experienced, I thought, were normal because of whatever emotional and mental distress I experienced at the different points in my tumultuous young life.
I didn’t know much about epilepsy or even consider anything like seizures. One day, approximately four years ago, I had two violent deaths in my family within a span of one month. Around that same time, I was heavily involved in a stressful love relationship that was turning for the worst. It was during that time that I experienced the most serious seizure episode in my life.
Now, a seizure is not a disease, but a symptom of many different disorders that can affect the brain. A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain that usually affects how a person appears or acts for a short time. The nature of seizures varies, because the lines of the brain control different behavior movement and experiences. So many different things can occur during a seizure. Some seizures can hardly be noticed, while others are totally disabling. Whatever the brain and body can do normally, can also occur during a seizure.
That big seizure I told you about, has a seizure type, it’s known as Focal Onset Seizures. Focal onset seizures can start in one area or group of cells in one side of the brain. When a person is awake and aware during a seizure, it’s called a focal aware seizure. In my case, I was awake and aware at the time my body and brain began to seize.
My tongue became heavy in my mouth and twitched around. My neck began to randomly twitch on its right-side and my arms did a sort of rhythmic jerking. I could not speak despite my attempts. Tears fell from my eyes. During brief periods the jerks stopped, but I could not move my limbs until the jerks returned. This episode went on for a span of half an hour. Over the following months I would have random seizures every other day for two months.
Recently, a friend and avid CBD (Cannabidiol) user, briefed me on CBD and its many uses for a list of medical issues and ailments. Up until that time, I had only known about medical marijuana and its uses (never used) but never heard about CBD or Cannabis’ effect on seizures (weird, I know). So, I went to this guy called “Google” and began my search to learn about CBD. Here’s what I got so far.
Studies on CBD and Epilepsy
According to ‘wiki’, Cannabidiol, also known as CBD (for those of us who don’t have the time or patience to say cannabidiol) is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids isolated from cannabis that has no psychoactive effects (no high). Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid, or Phytocannabinoid (Phyto = plant) accounting for 40% of the cannabis plant extract, and a diverse class chemical compound that acts on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. (Whew!)
From what I can understand so far, about cannabis effects on seizures, there have been several clinical researches. Some resulting in seemingly beneficial effects of CBD on some types of seizures. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD to possess anti-convulsant properties which suppresses seizure activity. Although most of those clinical studies reported were conducted on animals, the results appear promising.
Another scientific review conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, in a clinical study involving 162 human participants there was evidence suggesting that CBD worked just as well as anti-epilepsy medications in treatment-resistant sufferers. The evidence, although slightly significant revealed that CBD reduced seizures in participants by a monthly average of 36.5 percent; only five patients saw their motor seizures completely disappear during the study period of 12 weeks, and only two patients became completely seizure-free.
Can CBD help seizures? Well, yes in some seizure cases, it can.
There is still much research to be done as epileptic seizures are not a one size fits all disorder. There are also setbacks in conducting thorough research because of cannabis being classified as an illegal substance within the US and other parts of the globe. I learned that there is only one scientist authorized to grown and distribute cannabis throughout the scientific research community (raised eyebrow), which also causes another limitation on research.
Studies are also required to fully understand if a product combining Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another Phytocannabinoid derived from cannabis, and Cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce seizures in CBD unresponsive patients. Results have been varied and all research I have come across has not been all inclusive of, a long list of patient factors that I can’t even begin to list them.
As there have been positive reports (one famous report being that of the Charlotte Figi case) on CBD and its effect on seizures despite research limitations and variations of clinical results. In my view the facts are enough for us to consider using CBD to help and reduce epileptic seizures, pain, anxiety and so on.
Currently, I’m not consuming cannabis or any CBD products. However, based on the research I came across thus far, I am encouraged to use Cannabis and CBD products to change my life. I guess it just may be true, marijuana herb is for the healing of the nation. I’ll be sure to tell you about my CBD experiences in future reviews.