CBD and Epilepsy: The Charlotte Figi Story


They bought all of it and had a friend extract the oil. 

After they administered the extracted CBD oil, their daughter saw a remarkable reduction in seizures.

In fact, she didn’t have another seizure for 7 days. 

Her father, Matt, described to CNN following her continued treatment that, “I literally see Charlotte’s brain making connections that haven’t been made in years.” 

In comparison, there were points where Charlotte couldn’t walk before she began CBD therapy.

Today, the legal barriers surrounding CBD’s potential as an anti-seizure drug have been all but pulled down. 

33 states offer medical marijuana and 10 more offer cannabis for all adults.

As cannabis’ acceptance has grown over the past decade, CBD has been adopted in the mainstream.

Late last June, the FDA approved Epidiolex, making it the first government-sanctioned cannabis-derived substance for those with severe forms of epilepsy.

Now, like Charlotte, those 2 years of age and older with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) who do not respond to current medications may use epidiolex.

As cannabis acceptance grows nationwide, demand for chemicals derived from the plant, including CBD, has increased.

But why does CBD help those with severe seizure disorders?

To answer this question, we must go inside the body’s endocannabinoid system or ECS. 

We also will examine how anxiety, a common co-occurring disorder, may color CBD’s effects.

The ECS exists throughout the human body as a system of receptors and chemicals. 

Endocannabinoid systems can be found in animals as well as humans, and they provide useful models for investigators to further understand the human ECS and how cannabis chemicals like CBD act upon it.

Two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2, populate the ECS. These receptors work together with ECS chemicals to regulate many important physiological processes

These include but are not limited to hunger, pain sensation, memory, wakefulness, and, important for our purposes, processes specific to seizure reduction.

Inside your endocannabinoid system, your body produces chemicals known as endocannabinoids. 

These endocannabinoids, like anandamide or 2-AG, bind to and block the CB1 and CB2 receptors that make up the ECS, working in a sequence as regulators for bodily processes.

For example, when the ECS releases anandamide, it produces feel-good effects similar to that of an endorphin. 

After a certain amount of time, fatty acid amide hydrolase, or FAAH, is released, which metabolizes anandamide. 

FAAH acts like an anandamide break, switching on and off to regulate things like sleep, appetite, and digestion.

Studies show that cannabis-related chemicals like CBD and THC will bind to your CB1 receptors, blocking FAAH, and therefore extending its feel-good effects. 

In particular, FAAH’s action may help explain CBD’s vast anecdotal evidence as a seizure aid.



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