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Neurotherapeutics. 2015 Oct;12(4):747-68. doi: 10.1007/s13311-015-0375-5.

Cannabinoids and Epilepsy.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, Neuroscience Institute, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, 10016, USA.
2
School of Pharmacy, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AP, UK.
3
Department of Neurology, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, 10016, UK. od4@nyu.edu.

Abstract

Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat seizures. Recent anecdotal reports, accumulating animal model data, and mechanistic insights have raised interest in cannabis-based antiepileptic therapies. In this study, we review current understanding of the endocannabinoid system, characterize the pro- and anticonvulsive effects of cannabinoids [e.g., Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol (CBD)], and highlight scientific evidence from pre-clinical and clinical trials of cannabinoids in epilepsy. These studies suggest that CBD avoids the psychoactive effects of the endocannabinoid system to provide a well-tolerated, promising therapeutic for the treatment of seizures, while whole-plant cannabis can both contribute to and reduce seizures. Finally, we discuss results from a new multicenter, open-label study using CBD in a population with treatment-resistant epilepsy. In all, we seek to evaluate our current understanding of cannabinoids in epilepsy and guide future basic science and clinical studies.

KEYWORDS:

Epilepsy; THC; cannabidiol; cannabinoids; cannabis; seizures

PMID:
26282273
PMCID:
PMC4604191
DOI:
10.1007/s13311-015-0375-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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