The potential activity of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive constituent of marijuana, in preventing damage caused by cerebral ischemia was studied. Cannabidiol (1.25-20 mg/kg) was given 5 min after 10 min bilateral carotid occlusion in freely-moving awake gerbils. Seven days after ischemia, it antagonized the electroencephalographic flattening of total spectral power, with a dose-dependent bell-shaped curve; the neuroprotective effect was greatest with 5 mg/kg. One day after ischemia cannabidiol completely antagonized ischemia-induced hyperlocomotion, at all doses. Rectal temperature did not change during the first hour after occlusion. Histological examination showed complete survival of CA1 neurons in cannabidiol-treated gerbils. These findings suggest a potential therapeutic role of cannabidiol in cerebral ischemia, though the clear mechanism of action remains to be elucidated.