Seizing an opportunity for the endocannabinoid system

Epilepsy Curr. 2014 Sep;14(5):272-6. doi: 10.5698/1535-7597-14.5.272.


Exogenous cannabinoids can limit seizures and neurodegeneration, and their actions are largely mimicked by endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). Endocannabinoids are mobilized by epileptiform activity and in turn influence this activity by inhibiting synaptic transmission; both excitatory and some inhibitory synapses can be suppressed, leading to potentially complex outcomes. Moreover, the endocannabinoid system is not a fixed entity, and its strength can be enhanced or reduced. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are altered by epileptic seizures in ways that can reduce the efficacy of both exogenous and endogenous cannabinoids in sometimes unexpected ways.