Is CBD An Effective Treatment For Seizures?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in the cannabis plant. Unlike the well-known tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, that is also found in cannabis, CBD has no psychoactive components, although it does affect some chemicals in the brain, according to WebMD. CBD can come in a variety of forms, including oils, gummies, salves, and other options, according to MedicalNewsToday.  

In 2018, the United States Congress passed a law saying that CBD products can be sold as long as they contain no more than 0.3% of THC (per Since that law passed, CBD products have seen explosive growth. The CBD industry is expected to be worth almost $50 billion by 2028, according to GlobalNewsWire. When you look at the potential benefits of CBD, this growth makes sense. The compound may provide pain relief, improve heart health, relieve anxiety, and improve sleep, according to Healthline, although many of these benefits need further research. One benefit of CBD that seems to have proven results, however, is as an effective treatment for seizures.

CBD can treat seizures, but scientists aren't sure how

CBD has been shown to greatly reduce seizures, specifically those connected to Lennox-Gastaur, Dravet syndrome, or tuberous sclerosis complex, according to the Neurology Center for Epilepsy and Seizures. In fact, CBD even has backing from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which approved Epidiolex in 2018 for the treatment of the previously named forms of epilepsy.

How does CBD help treat seizures? Scientists aren't sure. However, it's believed that CBD interacts with your body's endocannabinoid system, which may help regulate appetite and sleep, as well as affect pain and immune responses, according to Healthline. Research on animals shows that CBD may also reduce neuronal activity in two groups of receptors in the brain, according to a 2020 study.

However, despite the promising results of CBD against seizures, there may be side effects to using it. Sleepiness, loss of appetite, and diarrhea are the most common side effects (via Healthline). It's also extremely important to speak with a doctor first before using CBD to help with seizures, as the vast majority of CBD oils are not FDA regulated or approved. In fact, one 2020 study in the journal Neurology even shows that some people may increase their seizures when taking non-prescription CBD.