Use of cannabidiol in the treatment of epilepsy

Neurol Neurochir Pol. 2022;56(1):14-20. doi: 10.5603/PJNNS.a2022.0020. Epub 2022 Feb 25.


Introduction: Cannabis sativa has been cultivated for human use for about 5,000 years, and has likewise been used in the treatment of epilepsy for thousands of years.

State of the art: Cannabidiol (CBD), which was isolated from cannabis sativa in 1940, has an anti-seizure effect and no psychoactive activity. Its effectiveness in reducing various types of seizures has been proven in animal seizure and epilepsy models. Recent randomised, placebo-controlled trials have confirmed its effectiveness in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Clinical implications: The aim of this position paper was to present the specific mechanism of CBD's anti-seizure action and current indications for CBD's use in epilepsy. The only cannabis-derived drug that has successfully passed clinical trials and has obtained United States Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency approval for epilepsy is Epidiolex®. This paper presents the outcomes of the completed clinical trials with the use of this drug.

Future directions: CBD may be an effective drug in drug-resistant epilepsy, particularly in Dravet Syndrome, Lennox- Gastaut Syndrome and seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex. Additional randomised, placebo-controlled studies with CBD are needed.

Keywords: Dravet Syndrome; Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome; cannabidiol; drug-resistant epilepsy; tuberous sclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacology
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Cannabidiol* / pharmacology
  • Cannabidiol* / therapeutic use
  • Epilepsies, Myoclonic* / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lennox Gastaut Syndrome* / drug therapy


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Cannabidiol