Epilepsy & Seizures
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an astonishingly safe drug. Currently, the biggest safety concern is that at high doses it can alter the metabolism of other pharmaceuticals. That means CBD might amplify the toxicity of other drugs. This has come to a fore with epilepsy treatment, since overdosing anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) is very dangerous.
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By the Editors of Reader’s Digest & Project CBD: Everything You Need to Know About What It Helps, Where to Buy It, and How to Take It.