Medical CBD and epilepsy.

CBD or cannabis oil?

As you may have seen, cannabis oil in the UK has been on the news lately. The media attention recently centered around the story of Billy Caldwell who’s parents have been battling with the government to allow their son to be the recipient of medicinal cannabis oil. Billy is severely epileptic and has been using cannabis oil since 2016 in an effort to control his condition.

‘Billy had been suffering as many as 100 seizures a day before being prescribed the cannabis oil containing THCA by a doctor in Northern Ireland. His mother said he had been free of seizures for about 300 days due to the treatment, but the Home Office recently ordered the doctor to stop prescribing the oil.’ – BBC

This exposure has ignited debate and put the real benefits of cannabis oils, into the crosshairs of mainstream media outlets. Something that would have been taboo last month, never mind last year. It also brings the questions: what is the difference between CBD oil, and cannabis oil? How does the endocannabinoid system affect an epileptic brain?

Medical cannabis oil for epilepsy

The medicinal cannabis oil that Billy Caldwell has been taking is different from that which is currently legal in the UK. The use of cannabis is prohibited by the UK under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 mainly due to the psychoactive properties of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is what gives you the ‘high’ when cannabis is consumed- this is due to the stimulation of the ECS to give that feeling of ‘happiness’ and ‘euphoria’. THC has also been attributed to physical health & wellbeing benefits. The cannabis oil that Billy has been using, has a much higher concentration of THC than legal CBD oils (which have a limit of 0.2%). It is this banned substance along with CBD that stimulates the endocannabinoid system which has an effect on the frequency of seizures.

“Several lines of evidence suggest that cannabinoid compounds are anticonvulsant. However, the anticonvulsant potential of cannabinoids and, moreover, the role of the endogenous cannabinoid system in regulating seizure activity has not been tested in an in vivo model of epilepsy that is characterized by spontaneous, recurrent seizures. Here, using the rat pilocarpine model of epilepsy, we show that the marijuana extract….. completely abolished spontaneous epileptic seizures... In some animals, CB1 receptor antagonism resulted in seizure durations that were protracted to a level consistent with the clinical condition status epilepticus…. These data indicate not only anticonvulsant activity of exogenously applied cannabinoids but also suggest that endogenous cannabinoid tone modulates seizure termination and duration through activation of the CB1 receptor….these studies define a role for the endogenous cannabinoid system in modulating neuroexcitation and suggest that plasticity of the CB1 receptor occurs with epilepsy.”-

Although this is a preliminary study, this proves that cannabinoids stimulate the CB1 receptor and the endocannabinoid system directly affects the symptoms of epilepsy. Surely, if this is the case, we know that with the correct stimulation of the endocannabinoid system, the suffering of epilepsy sufferers could be significantly reduced.

CBD oil for epilepsy

As many of you may know, our products are all CBD based. They contain the UK legal requirement of 0.2% of THC or lower. Before discussing further, we would like to stress that we do not make any medical claims about our products. We are discussing this theoretically based on how the endocannabinoid system works in the body.

The cannabinoid CBD, unlike THC, has absolutely no psychoactive effect on the brain. It does, however, also have some health and wellbeing benefits. The endocannabinoid system is partly responsible for the preservation of well-being in the body. It regulates basic human functions and helps the body repair and function ‘normally’. This includes the regulation of (and sometimes cause) illnesses such as epilepsy and inflammatory conditions. We know that the CB1 receptor is directly involved in the reduction of seizures and an overstimulation can trigger or lengthen seizures.

CBD and THC are two endogenous cannabinoids that stimulate the endocannabinoid system in different ways and can be used to help supplement a deficient ECS –

The cure for epilepsy?

It is proven that the CB1 directly effects the symptoms of epilepsy and has an impact on the way in which the brain works. It is also proven that our endocannabinoid system can work to regulate the symptoms of epilepsy. The combination of cannabinoids which stimulate our bodies needs to be tailored in each individual case and much more reaseach needs to be done.