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Can CBD Help Treat Epilepsy?

Seizure disorder, or epilepsy, is a neurological disorder resulting from brain abnormalities, and can result in instances of detachment, bodily spasms, or have other effects. It can result from head trauma, genetic factors, environmental conditions, or for no clear reason. It is typically most effectively treated with anti-epileptic medication. There is some evidence that CBD can help treat seizure disorder, but more research is needed to understand the link.

Seizure disorder — more commonly called epilepsy — is a neurological condition characterized by periods of brain abnormality. These periods may result in moments of abnormal behavior, including detachment, twitching, and loss of awareness. Understanding what is seizure disorder, and what causes seizures, are essential in effectively managing the condition.

What Causes Epilepsy?

In many cases, what causes seizures remains unclear, and many people develop epilepsy for no clear reason. However, there are factors that may predispose individuals to epilepsy, including the following:

  • Genetic and familial factors may play a role in causing epilepsy
  • Infections — including meningitis, HIV, and others — can cause epilepsy
  • Prenatal injuries may play a causal role
  • Head trauma can lead to the development of seizures
  • Brain conditions — including strokes, vascular conditions, or dementia — can be a significant cause of epilepsy

How Is Epilepsy Treated?

Treatment of epilepsy first begins with a diagnosis, resulting from a neurological exam, as well as potential blood tests or brain tests (including an EEG, MRI, or other tests). Effective testing can help pinpoint the source of seizures.

Many medications can be quite effective in treating epilepsy. Because there are many types of anti-seizure medications, and dosage can vary widely, it may take time to determine the ideal level of medication for a given individual.

Other techniques are also used to treat epilepsy, including deep brain stimulation, vagus nerve stimulation, and the employment of a ketogenic diet. In some cases, brain surgery can be a useful treatment for seizures.

Can CBD Help Treat Epilepsy?

There is some evidence that the use of CBD coupled with anti-epileptic medications can be helpful in treating epilepsy. There is also some evidence that CBD can reduce seizure frequency in individuals with epilepsy. However, there may be concerns about interactions between CBD and particular anti-epileptic medications, as well as concerns about a link between THC and seizures. 

Ultimately, more research is needed to better understand the role CBD can play in treating seizure disorder. CBD should not be employed as a treatment for seizure disorder unless done so in consultation with a medical professional.

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