“Recently, cannabis has been suggested as a potential alternative therapy for refractory epilepsy, which affects 30% of epilepsy patients including children who do not respond to current medications.
There is a large unmet medical need for new antiepileptics for refractory epilepsy and conditions associated with refractory seizures that would not interfere with normal function.
The two chief cannabinoids are delta-9-tetrahyrdrocannabinol, the major psychoactive component of marijuana, and cannabidiol (CBD), the major non-psychoactive component of marijuana.
There are claims of clinical efficacy of CBD-predominant cannabis or medical marijuana for epilepsy, mostly from limited studies, surveys or case reports.
However, the mechanisms underlying the antiepileptic efficacy of cannabis remain unclear. This article highlights the pharmacological basis of cannabis therapy, with an emphasis on the endocannabinoid mechanisms underlying the emerging neurotherapeutics of CBD in epilepsy.
CBD is anticonvulsant, but it has a low affinity for the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors; therefore the exact mechanism by which it affects seizures remains poorly understood.
A rigorous clinical evaluation of pharmaceutical CBD products is needed to establish the safety and efficacy for the treatment of epilepsy.
Identification of mechanisms underlying the anticonvulsant efficacy of CBD is additionally critical to identify other potential treatment options.”