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What is Epidiolex?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained in popularity in recent years. As a result, there has been an increase in studies being done on its effects and products being made with it.

Recently there was a CBD-based medication that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is called Epidiolex. But what is it, what does it do and why does it have CBD in it?

Defining CBD

It is only best if we start with the most basic part of this, talking about what CBD is.

In Cannabis plants, like hemp and marijuana, there are many chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. There are over 113 different cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), arguably best-known cannabinoid, creates the high that is so commonly associated with Cannabis.In addition to the cannabinoids are terpenes, which are the compounds that give Cannabis its flavor and smell. 

Another cannabinoid is CBD. This is the cannabinoid that is all the craze right now. There are a few reasons for this, a couple of which we will go into. Part of the excitement is because of the new research being performed on CBD. Some of this research has been focused on things like how CBD may be able to help a number of different people. Another reason is because CBD is not psychoactive and does not create a high like THC does.

Most CBD products are along the lines of oils, capsules, and edibles. They are usually things that you can find at normal stores or ones dedicated to CBD. They are products that are not often prescribed by doctors. However, may they still offer potential help. 

Many of the studies have been looking at the calming effect that CBD seems to have and what it means for those who struggle with keeping calm. For example, this study looked how CBD may be able to help with the anxiety that comes with trying to engage in public speaking. The researchers found that the CBD was able to help keep the subjects calm and focus on the task given to them.

Other studies have been looking at how CBD could help with inflammation. This is encouraging for people who suffer from inflammation as it can make basic movements very difficult. Many of these studies have been incredibly promising. This study, for example, found that CBD was able to greatly help with inflammation because of the way that it interacts with some of the receptors in the body. 

One area that many of the studies have been focused on is how CBD interacts with epilepsy. This where Epidiolex comes into play.

Is CBD legal?

Before we actually get to Epidiolex, there is another question we need to answer; is CBD legal?

As discussed above, CBD is found in Cannabis so is an important to address legality.  While there is a legal stigma surrounding cannabis, it is not really a concern.   

In 2018, the United States Legislature passed a the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill. This bill gets updated and passed every five years. It effects a number of different things that are focused on agriculture. It can even effect what can be grown and sold in the country. The 2018 version of the Farm Bill  bill included an addition that made industrial hemp federally legal to grow and sell in the United States.

Let’s get into why this makes a difference with CBD. The first thing to understand is the difference between hemp and marijuana. One of the big differences between them is the content of certain cannabinoids, specifically THC. Marijuana has high levels of THC. Hemp on the other hand has low levels of THC (in fact, it is defined as having less than 0.3% THC content) and high levels of CBD.

The legalization of hemp was a big deal for those interested in CBD. This is because most CBD manufactures use hemp to make their products instead of marijuana. Hemp’s high CBD content and low THC content makes it ideal for extracting CBD.

As long as a CBD product has been extracted from hemp and has less than 0.3% THC in it, a CBD product is perfectly legal.

What about Epidiolex?

The question of the hour; what is Epidiolex? It is a CBD-based medication that has been approved by the FDA. This was the first pure CBD product to be approved as a medication by the FDA. This is a big and exciting step for the CBD industry. But what does Epidiolex do and how does the CBD help?

Let’s start with talking about epilepsy. It is a neurological disorder that effects brain activity. It causes things like unusual behavior and, most well-known, seizures. These seizures can be scary to deal with. This is especially true since epilepsy is more common in children. So, what does epilepsy have to do with CBD?

We briefly went over what studies have been done on CBD. But there is one area of study that has been very prevalent and exciting. These are studies on epilepsy and CBD. For example, this study found that CBD was able to help calm epileptic seizures in rats. Another study found that CBD was able to help with seizures in animals and humans. These are only a couple of examples of the many studies that have been done on CBD and epilepsy. A quick google search will show you that there a multitude of studies on the subject. Many suggest that CBD may be great for helping people who struggle with epilepsy keep their seizures under control.

These studies have led to the creation of Epidiolex. If you have not guessed, Epidiolex is aimed at trying to reduce the seizures of people with epilepsy. It is for anyone over the age of two that has Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, two rare conditions that are associated with severe epileptic seizure symptoms. 

What side effects are associated with Epidiolex?

This is a question that should be asked about any and every medication or supplement that you are thinking of taking. Afterall, what is the point of taking something if it will just make you more miserable? 

Let’s start with the main ingredient in Epidiolex, CBD. When it comes to side effects associated with CBD, there are not any that are considered all that serious. They tend to consist of things like diarrhea and nausea. They are not life threatening, but that does not mean that they are fun to deal with. They seem to be brought on by taking very high levels of CBD. However, that is only talking about CBD, not Epidiolex.

The main side effect associated with Epidiolex is that it may elevation of liver enzymes, a signal that long term use may result in liver damage. Doctors may require a blood test before starting you on the medication. They may even require your blood be tested throughout the treatment. This is to be sure that your liver is still in proper working order. You should contact your doctor if you notice certain effects while taking Epidiolex. These include change in appetite, fever, yellowing of skin (also known as jaundice) and itchiness, among other things. There is an initial fatigue you may experience with starting Epidiolex; however, it appears to fade after taking the medication for a while.

While Epidiolex is made for everyone two years and older, it is not really known how it effects those younger than two. It is also not recommended for pregnant women, as it may have pre-natal effects.

Beyond those things, like CBD, Epidiolex does not report any other common side effects.

What other CBD products are there?

If you do not have rare forms of epilepsy, your doctor may not be able to prescribe Epidiolex for you. However, there are many over the counter CBD products for you to consider.  We briefly covered what options are out there, but let’s talk about them in more detail as well as the kinds of CBD you can find.

Types of CBD products

The differences between CBD ingredients are based on the other compounds and cannabinoids are in the extract with the CBD. They are CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum. CBD isolate has the smallest number of other cannabinoids and compounds, which is to say that it has no other cannabinoids and compounds. CBD isolate is just CBD and nothing else. CBD isolate provides a “purer” CBD experience, but may not be as strong. Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum are similar. They both have a high number of other compounds and cannabinoids. The difference between them is that full-spectrum has THC in it (less than 0.3%) and broad-spectrum does not. The appeal of these kinds of CBD is something called the entourage effect. This is when compounds work together to make a stronger effect. You can find most products in any of these versions.

Topicals

These are CBD products that you do not take, but instead apply to your skin such as lotions and cremes. Topicals may be better products for uses requiring a localized effect. This is because the CBD in the topicals do not move much beyond where they are placed. The cremes and lotions are often used for helping with skin health and, even, inflammation. There are also CBD hand sanitizers and sanitizing hand cremes. These are sanitizers that are infused with CBD to help with the bacteria killing.

Oils and tinctures

Tinctures are CBD extracts or isolate that has been mixed into a carrier oil like coconut oil. Oils and tinctures are very versatile as you can mix them in with food or drink if you want, or you can place a few drops directly under your tongue. These and the other oral products that are discussed below are a good way to get a better overall CBD effect than topicals.

Capsules and tablets

These are as they sound. They are pill-type products. Soft gels are a common version of these. They are CBD oil made into a soft gel that is easy to swallow and starts working quickly. Tablets are normally placed under your tongue and allow it to dissolve. These also start working fairly quickly.

Edibles

The last kind of product to cover is edibles. These are products that are food and drink with CBD extract mixed in. They are really popular. This is likely because they are easy to take and, usually, taste great. You can find edibles as almost any food, from candy to pasta. They do take the longest to start working. This is because they have to digest before the CBD can enter your system.

There are many different CBD products out there. If you are looking for a good one, take a look around and see what kind of product will work best for you. You may need to try a few to figure it out.

There is much exciting growth and change in the CBD industry that is encouraging and promising. Epidiolex is just one example. It is an example of the many things that CBD may be able to help people with the issues they struggle with. It will be interesting what else comes out of research being done on this cannabinoid.

CBD is an interesting extremely fast-growing industry. If you are looking for a good source of CBD products, you have come to the right place. Here on the Panacea Life Sciences’ website you can find a bunch of different high-quality CBD products. There are also many articles covering just about any question you may have about CBD. On this site you can also contact a member of our team, or you can email any comments, questions or concerns to us at [email protected]