Epidiolex as adjunct therapy for treatment of refractory epilepsy: a comprehensive review with a focus on adverse effects

F1000Res. 2019 Feb 28;8:F1000 Faculty Rev-234. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.16515.1. eCollection 2019.


Medically refractory epilepsy remains an area of intense clinical and scientific interest since a significant porportion of patients continue to suffer from debilitating seizures despite available therapies. In this setting, recent studies have focused on assessing the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD)-enriched cannabis, a plant based product without psychoactive properties which has been shown to decrease seizure frequency in animal models. More recently, several randomized controlled and open label trials have studied the effects of Epidiolex, a 99% pure oral CBD extract, on patients with refractory epilepsy. This in turn has led to the FDA approval of and more recently, to the Drug Enforcement Administration's placement of Epidiolex into schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In this review, we summarize the major findings of several recent large-scale studies using this product with a focus on its adverse effects.

Keywords: cannabidiol; epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Cannabidiol / therapeutic use*
  • Controlled Substances
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Seizures / drug therapy
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Controlled Substances
  • Cannabidiol

Grant support

The author(s) declared that no grants were involved in supporting this work.