The proposed mechanisms of action of CBD in epilepsy

Epileptic Disord. 2020 Jan 1;22(S1):10-15. doi: 10.1684/epd.2020.1135.


Highly purified cannabidiol (CBD) (approved as Epidiolex® in the United States and as EPIDYOLEX from the EU agency) has demonstrated efficacy with an acceptable safety profile in patients with Lennox-Gastaut or Dravet syndrome in four randomized controlled trials. While the mechanism of action of CBD underlying the reduction of seizures in humans is unknown, CBD possesses affinity for multiple targets, across a range of target classes, resulting in functional modulation of neuronal excitability, relevant to the pathophysiology of many disease types, including epilepsy. Here we present the pharmacological data supporting the role of three such targets, namely Transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 (TRPV1), the orphan G protein-coupled receptor-55 (GPR55) and the equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT-1).

Keywords: GPR55; TRPV1; adenosine; cannabidiol; epilepsy; mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Cannabidiol / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lennox Gastaut Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Seizures / drug therapy
  • TRPV Cation Channels / drug effects


  • Anticonvulsants
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV1 receptor
  • Cannabidiol