Intractable epilepsies have an extraordinary impact on cognitive and behavioral function and quality of life, and the treatment of seizures represents a challenge and a unique opportunity. Over the past few years, considerable attention has focused on cannabidiol (CBD), the major nonpsychotropic compound of Cannabis sativa. Basic research studies have provided strong evidence for safety and anticonvulsant properties of CBD. However, the lack of pure, pharmacologically active compounds and legal restrictions have prevented clinical research and confined data on efficacy and safety to anecdotal reports. Pure CBD appears to be an ideal candidate among phytocannabinoids as a therapy for treatment-resistant epilepsy. A first step in this direction is to systematically investigate the safety, pharmacokinetics, and interactions of CBD with other antiepileptic drugs and obtain an initial signal regarding efficacy at different dosages. These data can then be used to plan double-blinded placebo-controlled efficacy trials.
A PowerPoint slide summarizing this article is available for download in the Supporting Information section here.