Epilepsy is defined as a neurological disorder caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain that causes:
Loss of or altered consciousness
Declined cognitive ability
Epilepsy isn’t just one disease, it is the name of a group of syndromes and diseases which induce seizures of varied types and intensities and, according to the World Health Association, Epilepsy affects more than 50 million people across the world.
Throughout the years, sufferers of these conditions have treated their symptoms with marijuana or CBD, but it wasn’t until recent years that research really began into the many benefits of CBD and how it actually helps to reduce seizures and their intensities, and how it helps manage other symptoms and side effects from medications for these diseases.
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid extracted from the hemp plant. Not to be confused with THC in marijuana, cannabidiol doesn’t cause you to feel “high”, according to Harvard Health Blog. There are no psychoactive effects in CBD itself, so there is no chance of abuse or dependency.
Most vertebrates, including humans, have an endocannabinoid system throughout the body that produces cannabinoids called CB1 and CB2. CBD stimulates the body to produce more of its own cannabinoids.
CB1 is found in the brain and is connected to pain, coordination, emotions, appetite and cognitive abilities
CB2 is found in the immune system and is tied with pain and inflammation.
Image from medicalcannabisoutreach.com
LGS AND DRAVET SYNDROME
There are two forms of Epilepsy in particular that have benefitted from the properties of CBD - Lennox Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome.
LGS is a type of developmental disorder which is diagnosed in early childhood. Characterized by various types of seizures that tend to vary in intensity, many cases of LGS are resistant to most epilepsy medications and are often coupled with cognitive and physical side effects, as well. Lennox Gastaut Syndrome is one of only two forms of Epilepsy approved to be treated by Epidiolex, the only FDA approved CBD based medication.
Dravet Syndrome is the only other form of epilepsy that can be treated with Epidiolex. Dravet Syndrome is characterized by multiple types of seizures, including seizures induced by high fevers in children and is also diagnosed in early childhood. Dravet Syndrome also causes both cognitive and behavior difficulties.
Charlotte Figi started having seizures within the first few months after being born. By three months old, Charlotte's little body was being ravished by hundreds of seizures a month and by the age of three years old, she was nonverbal, in a wheelchair and unable to eat. Charlotte was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome.
After Charlotte's family made the decision to put her in a medically induced coma in order to give her body a break from the seizures, her grandfather began to read stories about children with similar seizure disorders being treated with CBD - and having success. One story in particular also involved a little boy with Dravet Syndrome who was finding relief and gaining his life back. Her family did their research and decided on giving CBD a try and Charlotte's experienced improvement after the very first dose!
Meanwhile, the Stanley brothers, growers and cultivators or medical marijuana in Colorado, had created a strain of medical marijuana that was higher in CBD than THC. Because of the higher concentration of CBD, “Hippie’s Disappointment” showed potential for health benefits without the feeling of a high from THC. When Charlotte and so many other children started to show improvement with the use of their new strand and other similar CBD oils, the Stanley brothers renamed it “Charlotte's Web”, which is what it is known by today.
Charlotte Figi now lives a full life as an active, verbal little girl, only experiencing 2-3 seizures a month, thanks to the benefits of CBD.
According to a study by the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), CBD has shown to not only help reduce seizures and their intensity but it has also been shown to have antidepressant, antipsychotic, and neuroprotective properties, as well.
They believe the neuroprotective properties are derived from CBD having incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The NCBI found cannabidiol to be safe and effective in reducing the number of seizures, their intensity, and the effects after the seizure in infants, children and teenagers.
Keywords: just, disease, group, syndromes, diseases, induce, seizures, varied, isn’t, types, epilepsy, intensities
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