Epilepsy & Seizures

When CBD Isn't Enough to Treat Epilepsy

Adult epileptics turn to THC when CBD falls short.

When CBD Isn't Enough to Treat Epilepsy

Chelsea Leyland, an adult epileptic wearing a white flowing dress and hugging a cannabis plant taller than she it.

At night you might find Chelsea Leyland, a 31-year-old British celebrity DJ, juggling beats at a flashy Miami party while rocking a Simone Rocha dress that complements her honey-hued hair and brown eyes. By day she shifts into activist mode, traveling the country, giving interviews, talking at conferences and filming a documentary — all on the complex and controversial subject of medical marijuana. Leyland wants people to know how she has overcome a crippling neurological illness.

What Causes Seizures?

Girl hooked up to electrodes

A variety of different things may happen as a result of a seizure, depending upon the region of the brain that is affected. There may be sudden changes in sensory perception, such as visual disturbances or the smell of an unusual odor. There may be rapid and inexplicable emotional or cognitive changes. There are often involuntary muscle movements, and sometimes even complete loss of control over the movement of one’s body. Obviously, this could lead to serious consequences if someone has a seizure while, for example, driving a car.

CBD for Epilepsy in New South Wales

EKG of the brain

Part of why doctors remain wary of cannabis medicine is the lack of randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trials — the gold standard for medical research. Because of cannabis’ status as an illicit drug, research is often relegated to retrospective surveys, which are useful but more likely to be biased. But there are methods in between these two schemes, such as open-label trials. In an open label study, patients are not blinded to which medicine they receive and the protocol is often less strict.

Dosing Pure CBD

Roadsigns pointing in two directions

CBD is clearly a useful medicine in the treatment of some types of epilepsy, yet patients are faced with dilemmas when they must decide which product to use, how to incorporate it with other medications, and how to begin dosing. Isolate CBD products have the advantage of being standardized, although they suffer from numerous limitations. There is plentiful evidence that orally ingesting high doses of pure CBD reduces pediatric seizures.

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