“Definitely works for focus and calming, kids also seem to be sleeping better.”
Whether brought on by childhood epilepsy or autism, seizures in children can be frightening – not just for the child but for the parents too. While there are anti-seizure medications available, a growing body of scientific and anecdotal evidence points to cannabidiol (CBD) as an effective natural remedy.
While CBD offers a myriad health benefits, for parents whose children are plagued by seizures, one of the more encouraging discoveries is its potential to control these with limited side-effects. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US has approved a CBD-based medication, Epidiolex, for the treatment of two severe forms of childhood epilepsy – Dravet’s syndrome and Lennox-Gastut syndrome. Both of these conditions do not respond well to mainstream medication, yet studies suggest that CBD shows promise as an effective treatment.
One study of Epidiolex observed 199 epileptic patients with an average age of nine. Participants were divided into three groups – the first group received a high dose of Epidiolex, the second group was prescribed a lower dose and the third group was given a placebo. Researchers reported that seizures fell by 47% in the high-dose group, 56% in the lower dose group and only 30% in the placebo group.
But CBD’s benefits aren’t limited to seizure control. By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD is able to help regulate a number of physiological processes, offering relief from pain, insomnia and anxiety – all of which can occur as a result of epilepsy, particularly the more severe forms.
CBD works to promote relaxation and boost mood by elevating the natural production of serotonin, otherwise known as ‘the happy hormone’. For children battling with heightened levels of anxiety brought on by their seizures, this offers a welcome alternative to anti-depressants. Research also suggests that CBD can help to regulate sleep cycles, which has a positive impact on anxiety levels and mood in general. Add to this CBD’s potent analgesic capabilities and it’s no wonder it’s become a popular choice amongst parents.
Furthermore, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may offer additional value. Recent research suggests there is a link between inflammation and seizures, namely that inflammation may trigger seizures or result in sustained seizure activity. By reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine molecules and elevating the anti-inflammatory cytokines, CBD reduces inflammation, which in turn may contribute to fewer seizures.
As with any medication, finding the right dose is key to CBD’s success as a therapeutic treatment. While side-effects are limited, it is always best to start on a lower dose and increase it incrementally.