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Using CBD to Treat Seizures

The FDA’s late June approval of the cannabis-based drug Epidiolex has confirmed what many already know—that cannabis can be used as medication. To be clear, certain extracts from the plant can be used to treat various ailments, and it does matter how one applies the medication. For example, smoking cannabis leaves may do more harm than good, not to mention the user must endure the undesirable side effects of THC. However, ingesting CBD extract from the plant is usually regarded as safe for healthy individuals and doesn’t cause the “high” feeling people experience with the whole cannabis plant. As scientists learn more about the medical and dietary uses for the cannabis plant, consumer options for how they treat their illnesses will continue to grow.

According to the FDA’s press release on Epidiolex, the drug was approved to treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Their study on CBD as it relates to these two syndromes found that it can dramatically reduce the frequency of seizures that one experiences. For sufferers of these syndromes, especially for those who have not found relief with other medications, this is hopeful news. These syndromes usually begin early in life and can lead to significant learning and physical delays. People with either of these syndromes may need significant assistance with their daily activities. Positive results from this drug can be a huge relief for both the patient and their caregivers. For patients in states where medical cannabis is still illegal, the FDA ruling on Epidiolex comes as a grateful surprise.

Who Can Use CBD-Based Seizure Medication?

Since the two syndromes explained above are so severe, it’s best that those affected use the strictly controlled CBD-based medication under the guidance of their doctor. CBD may interfere with certain medications, so it’s important to discuss the contraindicators before individually deciding to use CBD-based treatments.

This is the first CBD-based medication approved by a federal governing body, but the FDA has assured patients that they will continue to research CBD-based medical alternatives for other illnesses, so more types of patients can benefit. While Epidiolex is the only CBD-based drug that is currently nationally approved, those in cannabis-friendly states may be able to find CBD-based alternative remedies for their own maladies or be prescribed cannabis medications by their doctors.

With a prescription, patients are given dosing information that the doctor believes will best treat their ailments. Those using CBD capsules from other sources may need to experiment with dosage to find the right balance for them. Often, users will start with one capsule and increase the dose if they don’t experience any intended effects. Dosage will also be affected by the user’s size and the ailment being treated. Taking CBD in capsule form makes it easy to determine the best dosing for users and medical patients alike.

It’s important to note that use of CBD doesn’t always come without side effects. While many use CBD capsules everyday as dietary supplements and have noticed no issues, some have experienced:

  • Nausea

  • Lethargy

  • Insomnia

  • Rash

  • Diarrhea

  • Anxiety

If any concerning side effects result from the use of CBD, it’s important for users to contact their doctor right away. If their doctor prescribed them CBD-based medications, the doctor may want to find a replacement before stopping the medication altogether.

Sourcing CBD

Although CBD-based products can be found across the nation, patients with major medical ailments should always consult a doctor before using them. It’s also important to research the source of the medication, as not all supplements on the market are trustworthy. Since there are a lot of gray areas when it comes to CBD and the law, some medications can be mislabeled or improperly purified. Some may even be classified as illegal in some states. It’s up to the user to determine whether or not cannabis sourced products are legal in their state.

As the law continues to move toward separating CBD from the whole cannabis plant and classifying them as different substances, we may see more regulations on the CBD industry as a whole, ensuring safer products for all. However, the best producers of CBD products will already be holding their inventory to high standards to help and gain the trust of their customers. Just because a CBD-based product hasn’t been approved by the FDA yet doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. But, consumers would be wise to at least check out the source before ingesting any type of supplement or medication.

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