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J Epilepsy Res. 2017 Jun 30;7(1):16-20. doi: 10.14581/jer.17003. eCollection 2017 Jun.

Could Cannabidiol be a Treatment Option for Intractable Childhood and Adolescent Epilepsy?

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Changwon Gyeongsang National University Hospital, Changwon, Korea.
2
Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, Severance Children's Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

Epilepsy is an important disease that affects brain function, particularly in those under 3 years old. Uncontrolled seizures can affect cognitive function and quality of life. For these reasons, many trials have been conducted to investigate treatments for pediatric epilepsy. Currently, many antiepileptic drugs are available for the treatment of epilepsy, but cases of intractable epilepsy continue to exist. In the past, cannabis has been tested as a potential treatment of intractable epilepsy. Since 2013, 10 epilepsy centers in America have conducted research regarding the efficacy of cannabis to treat epilepsy. Cannabis has many components, including cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC has psychoactive properties exerted through its binding of the cannabinoid receptor (CBR) whereas CBD is a CBR antagonist. The inhibition of epilepsy by CBD may therefore be caused by various mechanisms, although the detailed mechanisms of CBD actions have not yet been well defined. In most studies, trial doses of CBD were 2-5 mg/kg/day. Several such studies have shown that CBD does have efficacy for treatment of epilepsy. Reported adverse effects of CBD were mostly mild, including drowsiness, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. Severe adverse reactions requiring treatment, such as status epilepticus, have also been reported but it is not clear that this is related to CBD. Furthermore, many previous studies have been limited by an open-label or survey design. In future, double-blind, controlled trials are required and the use of CBD to treat other neurological problems should also be investigated.

KEYWORDS:

Cannabidiol; Cannabis; Epilepsy

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