Before I tell you about my experience with using CBD for epilepsy, there is some important information I feel you should know. Epilepsy is a very unique condition. The complexity of the disorder, coupled with individual biological factors, make it unpredictable, so no two cases are alike. Consequently, no two treatments are alike, either. Just because I took it upon myself to experiment with CBD hemp oil doesn’t mean it’s safe for everyone – in fact, one could argue that what I did was reckless. But I know my condition and, more importantly, I told my doctor about what I was about to do. I suggest you always let your doctor know before you experiment with CBD hemp oil for your condition.
As a medical marijuana recipient, I have used CBD oil derived from marijuana, not hemp, for several years. It allowed me to reduce the dose of one of one of my seizure medications to prevent some of the undesirable side effects. When I heard about CBD hemp oil, I decided to give it a try. I’ve documented my experience for your reference, but I can’t stress enough that this is no substitute for clinical research. There were no double-blind studies or peer reviewed papers here ¾ just one person with epilepsy hoping to shed light on an industry and a product muddled by ambiguity and a lack of documented research.
That being said, there have been instances where people with epilepsy successfully used CBD hemp oil to control seizures, so I wasn’t too nervous. I also used it a bit differently, which I’ll get into later.
My Medical Background
Before I get into my experience, it’s important for me to mention the types of seizures I used to suffer from. This is a critical factor when it comes to treatment, since seizure types vary in category and severity.
Currently, I take two medications – Lamotrigine and Epival (valproic acid) – to control convulsive seizures and absence seizures respectively. I was put on Lamotrigine at age 14, and started taking Epival at age 20. I took well to the Lamotrigine, but with Epival being an older drug that reputably didn’t mix well with Lamotrigine, I started experiencing a variety of negative side effects. While these vary from person to person (and in some cases don’t occur at all), mine included occasional nausea, difficulty paying attention, short-term memory problems, anxiety and tremors (shaky hands).
A few years later, I was finally able to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana. I use CBD marijuana oil on a daily basis to complement my current therapy and reduce the Epival level from 1000mg per day to 750mg. This change led to a dramatic decrease in side effects to the point where they were negligible or non-existent (depending on the day).
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CBD Hemp Oil Type
Before I get into the details, I want to take a moment to talk about the CBD hemp oil that I used. Like any product, CBD hemp oil varies in quality. This can be due to a number of factors, such as the hemp source, contamination and processing methods. A lot of the CBD oil we see comes from low-grade industrial hemp, making it less reliable (yet equally expensive).
My CBD hemp oil was premium quality, grown from Colorado hemp that was specifically bred for maximum CBD content.
In terms of concentration, the product contained 240mg of CBD in a 10mL bottle. I took one milliliter per dose, which amounts to a little under 25mg of cannabidiol.
The amount of CBD marijuana oil I normally take, on the other hand, is 0.5mL. This amounts to roughly 12.5mg of CBD per dose.
Initially, I wanted to further reduce my medication by another 250mg, but my doctor was quick to tell me that this would be too low of a dose. I took his advice, and didn’t change anything in that area.
The reason I wasn’t too concerned with the switch to hemp oil was because the Epival controls my absence seizures. If the oil were ineffective, I’d start “blanking out” immediately, which wouldn’t pose a risk to my safety (unless I’m driving, which I made sure to avoid for the first three days). I would never take chances with my convulsive seizure medication.
Now I want to explain why I used twice as much CBD hemp oil as I do with my prescription variety. My prescription contains about 2.5% THC content, whereas CBD hemp oil can’t legally contain more than 0.3% THC. Research has shown that cannabis products are most effective due to the entourage effect, meaning that a product works best when THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in cannabis are able to function in combination with each other. Because of the much lower THC content, I decided it would be best to double the dose of the CBD hemp oil to one milliliter.
Using a syringe to accurately measure the amount, I started using the hemp oil at the same time each morning (8:00 AM), along with my prescription drugs. To avoid skewing the results, I also made sure to maintain my regular breakfast diet of fruit and grains (cereal or bread) so that absorption wouldn’t slow down or speed up. I then went about my day.
Naturally, days one and two were the most nerve-racking, even though (as I explained before), I had little to worry about from a medical or safety standpoint. By day three, however, I felt I could breathe a little easier.
As of the writing of this article, it’s now been five days of continuous use without any issues. This is promising, but before I close the case, I’d like to mention some potential mitigating factors.
Historically, my condition has been like a roller coaster. The dosage of my medications increased and decreased over time for reasons that I can’t get into without writing a dissertation. It’s entirely possible that my years of marijuana oil use, as well as other potential changes to things like tolerance or susceptibility to seizures could be different. Prolonged use of anti-seizure drugs can permanently improve – in some cases even cure – the underlying condition. Again, epilepsy is a tricky thing.
My lifestyle has also changed in recent years. I’m eating better and exercise more, both of which can help with epilepsy.
The bottom line is that toying with epilepsy is risky business. My experience with hemp oil thus far has been promising, but I’m not a medical expert.
I realize that what I’m saying may have a “do as I say, not as I do” tone to it, but I simply don’t want to let my advice or experience put you or your loved ones in danger. I know my condition, which is why I took it upon myself to try this experiment.
CBD hemp oil for epilepsy is definitely worth a shot. But no matter what, run it by your doctor before trying it.