Biochemical Aspects and Therapeutic Mechanisms of Cannabidiol in Epilepsy

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews “Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disease characterized by recurrent epileptic seizures. Studies have shown the complexity of epileptogenesis and ictogenesis, in which immunological processes and epigenetic and structural changes in neuronal tissues have been identified as triggering epilepsy.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major active component of the Cannabis plant and the source of CBD-enriched products for the treatment of epilepsy and associated diseases.

In this review, we provide an up-to-date discussion on cellular and molecular mechanisms triggered during epilepsy crises, and the phytochemical characteristics of CBD that make it an attractive candidate for controlling rare syndromes, with excellent therapeutic properties. We also discuss possible CBD anticonvulsant mechanisms and molecular targets in neurodegenerative disorders and epilepsy.

Based on these arguments, we conclude that CBD presents a biotecnological potential in the anticonvulsant process, including decreasing dependence on health care in hospitals, and could make the patient’s life more stable, with regard to neurological conditions.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33031814/

“Therapeutic properties of cannabidiol in the treatment of epilepsy”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0149763420305832?via%3Dihub

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Cannabis, More Than the Euphoria: Its Therapeutic Use in Drug-Resistant Epilepsy

 See the source image“A significant number of epilepsy patients are refractory to conventional antiepileptic drugs. These patients experience considerable neurocognitive impairments that impact their quality of life and ability to function independently. This need for alternative treatment has generated increased interest in cannabis use as a therapeutic option in these patients.

This review seeks to analyze data presented on the pharmacology, safety, and efficacy of cannabis use in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) and to propose any future recommendations regarding its use.

The two foremost phytocannabinoids of cannabis showing anticonvulsant properties are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Due to the psychoactive properties of THC, most studies focused on CBD use in these patients. The use of CBD as an adjunct resulted in decreased seizure frequency, and secondary benefits observed included improvement in mood, alertness and sleep. Adverse events (AEs) reported were drowsiness, diarrhea, increased transaminases and worsening of seizures.

It can safely be concluded that there is a significant benefit in DRE patients using CBD as adjunctive therapy. However, further controlled and adequately powered studies are needed to assess the pharmacokinetics and impact of the long-term use of cannabis.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32832296/

“The anticonvulsant properties of cannabis have been reported for several years; however, its use as adjunctive therapy in DRE has increased in recent years. Cannabis mediates the ECS, which affects neuronal excitability. This makes it a superior choice for the adjunctive treatment of DRE patients.”

https://www.cureus.com/articles/36299-cannabis-more-than-the-euphoria-its-therapeutic-use-in-drug-resistant-epilepsy

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Interactions Between Cannabidiol and Δ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol in Modulating Seizure Susceptibility and Survival in a Mousae Model of Dravet Syndrome

British Journal of Pharmacology “Extracts from the cannabis plant can dramatically improve the health of children suffering from refractory epilepsies such as Dravet syndrome.

These extracts typically contain cannabidiol (CBD), a phytocannabinoid with well-documented anticonvulsant effects, but may also contain Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9 -THC). It is unclear whether the presence of Δ9 -THC modulates the anticonvulsant efficacy of CBD. Here we utilized the Scn1a+/- mouse model of Dravet syndrome to examine this question.

Key results: Administered alone, CBD (100 mg/kg i.p.) was anticonvulsant against hyperthermia-induced seizures as were low (0.1 and 0.3 mg/kg i.p.) but not higher doses of Δ9 -THC. A subthreshold dose of CBD (12 mg/kg) enhanced the anticonvulsant effects Δ9 -THC (0.1 mg/kg). Subchronic oral administration of Δ9 -THC or CBD alone did not affect spontaneous seizure frequency or mortality while, surprisingly, their co-administration increased the severity of spontaneous seizures and overall mortality.

Conclusion and implications: Low doses of Δ9 -THC are anticonvulsant against hyperthermia-induced seizures in Scn1a+/ mice, effects that are enhanced by a sub-anticonvulsant dose of CBD. However, proconvulsant effects and increased premature mortality are observed when CBD and Δ9 -THC are subchronically dosed in combination. The possible explanations and implications of this are discussed.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32608111/

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bph.15181

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Cannabidiol Anticonvulsant Effect Is Mediated by the PI3Kγ Pathway

Neuropharmacology“The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (PKB/Akt)/mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway has been associated with several pathologies in the central nervous system (CNS), including epilepsy. There is evidence supporting the hypothesis that the PI3Kγ signaling pathway may mediate the powerful anticonvulsant properties associated with the cannabinoidergic system.

This work aims to investigate if the anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol (CBD) are mediated by PI3Kγ.

CDB increased latency and reduced the severity of pilocarpine-induced behavioral seizures, as well as prevented postictal changes, such as neurodegeneration, microgliosis and astrocytosis, in WT animals, but not in PI3Kγ-/-. CBD in vivo effects were abolished by pharmacological inhibition of cannabinoid receptor or mTOR. In vitro, PI3Kγ inhibition or deficiency also changed CBD protection observed in glutamate-induced cell death assay. Thus, we suggest that the modulation of PI3K/mTOR signaling pathway is involved in the anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of CBD.

These findings are important not only for the elucidation of the mechanisms of action of CBD, which are currently poorly understood, but also to allow the prediction of therapeutic and side effects, ensuring efficacy and safety in the treatment of patients with epilepsy.”

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32574650/

“CBD is anticonvulsant in a model of pilocarpine-induced behavioral seizures. CB1 receptor mediates the effects of CBD. PI3Kγ pathway mediates the anticonvulsant neuroprotective effects of CBD.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0028390820302240?via%3Dihub

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A Phase 1, Randomised, Placebo-Controlled, Dose Escalation Study to Investigate the Safety, Tolerability and Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Fed Healthy Volunteers.

SpringerLink“There is increasing interest in the use of purified cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment for a wide range of conditions due to its reported anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, antiemetic and anticonvulsant properties.

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to assess the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of a single ascending dose of a new lipid-based oral formulation of CBD in healthy volunteers after a high-fat meal.

RESULTS:

CBD was well tolerated in the healthy volunteers (mean age: 24.0 years) treated with a single oral dose of CBD. There were no safety concerns with increasing the dose and the safety profiles of the CBD-treated and placebo-treated subjects were similar. The most frequently reported treatment emergent adverse events (TEAEs) were headache (17%) and diarrhoea (8%). There were no reported serious adverse events (SAEs) and no clinical laboratory findings, vital signs, ECGs or physical examination findings that were reported as TEAEs or were of clinical significance during the study. After a high-fat meal, CBD was detected in plasma samples at 15 min postdose; the median time to maximum plasma concentration (Tmax) was 4 h across all three CBD dose cohorts. The CBD plasma exposure [maximum observed plasma concentration (Cmax) and the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC)] increased in a dose-proportional manner and declined to levels approaching the lower level of quantification by day 8. The terminal elimination half-life was approximately 70 h, suggesting that 2-3 weeks are needed to fully eliminate CBD.

CONCLUSIONS:

This new CBD formulation demonstrated a favourable safety and tolerability profile in healthy volunteers that was consistent with the profiles reported for other purified CBD products. No severe or serious AEs were observed in this study and there were no safety concerns.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32409982

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major nonpsychoactive cannabinoid derived from the Cannabis plant that has attracted significant interest due to its anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, antiemetic and anticonvulsant properties. The findings of this study contribute to the evolving knowledge of cannabidiol pharmacokinetics and indicate that this new oral lipid-based formulation of cannabidiol is generally safe and well tolerated at all doses studied. No severe or serious AEs were observed and there were no safety concerns.”

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13318-020-00624-6

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Cannabinoids in epilepsy: Clinical efficacy and pharmacological considerations.

Neurología“Advances in the development of drugs with novel mechanisms of action have not been sufficient to significantly reduce the percentage of patients presenting drug-resistant epilepsy. This lack of satisfactory clinical results has led to the search for more effective treatment alternatives with new mechanisms of action.

The aim of this study is to examine epidemiological aspects of the use of cannabis-based products for the treatment of epilepsy, with particular emphasis on the main mechanisms of action, indications for use, clinical efficacy, and safety.

In recent years there has been growing interest in the use of cannabis-based products for the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including epilepsy. The cannabis plant is currently known to contain more than 100 terpenophenolic compounds, known as cannabinoids. The 2 most abundant are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol.

Studies of preclinical models of epilepsy have shown that these cannabinoids have anticonvulsant properties, and 100% purified cannabidiol and cannabidiol-enriched cannabis extracts are now being used to treat epilepsy in humans. Several open-label studies and randomised controlled clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of these products.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32317123

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0213485320300402?via%3Dihub

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Medical Cannabis for Intractable Epilepsy in Childhood: A Review.

 Logo of rmmj“In recent years, cannabis has been gaining increasing interest in both the medical research and clinical fields, with regard to its therapeutic effects in various disorders. One of the major fields of interest is its role as an anticonvulsant for refractory epilepsy, especially in the pediatric population. This paper presents and discusses the current accumulated knowledge regarding artisanal cannabis and Epidiolex®, a United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved pure cannabidiol (CBD), in epilepsy management in pediatrics, by reviewing the literature and raising debate regarding further research directions.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32017679

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The anticonvulsant effects of cannabidiol in experimental models of epileptic seizures: from behavior and mechanisms to clinical insights.

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews“Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by the presence of seizures and neuropsychiatric comorbidities. Despite the number of antiepileptic drugs, one-third of patients did not have their seizures under control, leading to pharmacoresistance epilepsy.

Cannabis sativa has been used since ancient times in Medicine for the treatment of many diseases, including convulsive seizures.

In this context, Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid present in Cannabis, has been a promising compound for treating epilepsies due to its anticonvulsant properties in animal models and humans, especially in pharmacoresistant patients. In this review, we summarize evidence of the CBD anticonvulsant activities present in a great diversity of animal models. Special attention was given to behavioral CBD effects and its translation to human epilepsies.

CBD anticonvulsant effects are associated with a great variety of mechanisms of action such as endocannabinoid and calcium signaling. CBD has shown effectiveness in the clinical scenario for epilepsies, but its effects on epilepsy-related comorbidities are scarce even in basic research. More detailed and complex behavioral evaluation about CBD effects on seizures and epilepsy-related comorbidities are required.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31954723

“CBD presents anticonvulsant behavioral effects in animal models of epilepsy. CBD induces neuroprotection in animal models of epileptic seizures. Multiple mechanisms of action are associated to CBD anticonvulsant effects. Animal models support CBD therapeutic use for epilepsies treatment.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014976341931067X?via%3Dihub

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Efficacy and Tolerance of Synthetic Cannabidiol for Treatment of Drug Resistant Epilepsy.

Image result for frontiers in neurology“Controlled and open label trials have demonstrated efficacy of cannabidiol for certain epileptic encephalopathies.

However, plant derived cannabidiol products have been used almost exclusively. Efficacy of synthetically derived cannabidiol has not been studied before.

The objective of this study was to evaluate tolerability and efficacy of synthetic cannabidiol in patients with pharmacoresistant epilepsy.

Efficacy and tolerance in our study of synthetic CBD treatment in pharmacoresistant epilepsy is similar to open label studies using plant derived CBD.

Regarding economic and ecological aspects, synthetic cannabidiol might be a reasonable alternative to plant derived cannabidiol.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31920934

“Over the last decade, the therapeutic use of cannabidiol (CBD) in intractable epilepsies has increased considerably. Its anticonvulsant properties have been shown in several animal models for acute and chronic epilepsy.

Recent randomized, controlled trials have demonstrated that CBD is superior to placebo in seizure reduction in children with Dravet syndrome and patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. In addition, open label studies indicate that cannabidiol has anticonvulsive properties in a broader range of epilepsy syndromes and etiologies.

In summary, the results of this study provide class III evidence of efficacy and safety of synthetic cannabidiol in children and adults with pharmacoresistant epilepsy. Additional studies investigating efficacy and tolerance of synthetic CBD in larger cohorts are needed.”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2019.01313/full

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The Endocannabinoid System and Synthetic Cannabinoids in Preclinical Models of Seizure and Epilepsy.

 Related image“Cannabinoids are compounds that are structurally and/or functionally related to the primary psychoactive constituent of Cannabis sativa, [INCREMENT]-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabinoids can be divided into three broad categories: endogenous cannabinoids, plant-derived cannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoids (SCs).

Recently, there has been an unprecedented surge of interest into the pharmacological and medicinal properties of cannabinoids for the treatment of epilepsies. This surge has been stimulated by an ongoing shift in societal opinions about cannabinoid-based medicines and evidence that cannabidiol, a nonintoxicating plant cannabinoid, has demonstrable anticonvulsant activity in children with treatment-refractory epilepsy.

The major receptors of the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS)-the type 1 and 2 cannabinoid receptors (CB1R, CB2R)-have critical roles in the modulation of neurotransmitter release and inflammation, respectively; so, it is not surprising therefore that the ECS is being considered as a target for the treatment of epilepsy.

SCs were developed as potential new drug candidates and tool compounds for studying the ECS. Beyond the plant cannabinoids, an extensive research effort is underway to determine whether SCs that directly target CB1R, CB2R, or the enzymes that breakdown endogenous cannabinoids have anticonvulsant effects in preclinical rodent models of epilepsy and seizure.

This research demonstrates that many SCs do reduce seizure severity in rodent models and may have both positive and negative pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic interactions with clinically used antiepilepsy drugs. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the preclinical evidence for and against SC modulation of seizure and discuss the important questions that need to be addressed in future studies.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31895186

https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00004691-202001000-00004

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