This review focuses on the possible roles of phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and "transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily V, member 1" (TRPV1) channel blockers in epilepsy treatment. The phytocannabinoids are compounds produced by the herb Cannabis sativa, from which Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) is the main active compound. The therapeutic applications of Δ9-THC are limited, whereas cannabidiol (CBD), another phytocannabinoid, induces antiepileptic effects in experimental animals and in patients with refractory epilepsies. Synthetic CB1 agonists induce mixed effects, which hamper their therapeutic applications. A more promising strategy focuses on compounds that increase the brain levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid produced on-demand to counteract hyperexcitability. Thus, anandamide hydrolysis inhibitors might represent a future class of antiepileptic drugs. Finally, compounds that block the TRPV1 ("vanilloid") channel, a possible anandamide target in the brain, have also been investigated. In conclusion, the therapeutic use of phytocannabinoids (CBD) is already in practice, although its mechanisms of action remain unclear. Endocannabinoid and TRPV1 mechanisms warrant further basic studies to support their potential clinical applications. This article is part of the Special Issue "NEWroscience 2018".
Keywords: Cannabinoids; Cannabis; Epilepsy; Seizure; Vanilloids.
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