Cannabinoids and Epilepsy - Evan C. Rosenberg1 & Richard W. Tsien1 & Benjamin J. Whalley2 & Orrin Devinsky3 / The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc. 2015
Cannabinoids and Epilepsy
Evan C. Rosenberg1 & Richard W. Tsien1 & Benjamin J. Whalley2 & Orrin Devinsky3
The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc. 2015
Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat seizures. Recent anecdotal reports, accumulating animal model data, and mechanistic insights have raised interest in cannabisbased 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 .seizures . cannabinoids . cannabidiol . THC . cannabis
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0375-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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