Efficacy of the FDA-approved cannabidiol on the development and persistence of temporal lobe epilepsy and complex focal onset seizures

Exp Neurol. 2023 Jan:359:114240. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2022.114240. Epub 2022 Oct 7.


Presently there is no drug therapy for curing epilepsy. Despite many advancements in epilepsy research, nearly 30% of people with epilepsy remain refractory to current antiseizure medications (ASM). Cannabidiol (CBD) has recently been approved as an ASM for pediatric refractory seizures, but it has not been widely tested for adult epileptogenesis and focal onset seizures. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of the FDA-approved CBD in controlling epileptogenesis and complex focal onset seizures using the mouse kindling model of human temporal lobe epilepsy. We also tested combination regimens of CBD with other ASMs. The two primary outcome measures were disease modification and suppression of generalized seizures. In the epileptogenesis study, CBD had a striking effect in attenuating kindling development, with a dose-dependent decrease in behavioral and electrographic seizure activity. In the retention study, mice previously treated with CBD had significantly reduced overall seizure burden, suggesting disease modification. In a fully-kindled seizure study, CBD produced rapid and atypical U-shaped dose-dependent protection against generalized seizures (ED50, 52 mg/kg, i.p.). In a time-course study, CBD showed a maximal protective effect within 1 h of injection, and it declined within 4 h with a biphasic response. In the combination study, CBD produced synergistic/ additive protection when given with midazolam and ganaxolone but not with tiagabine, indicating its strong potential as an adjunct ASM. Finally, the protective effects of CBD were not associated with motor and functional impairments. These preclinical findings demonstrate the potential of adjunct CBD for controlling adult complex focal onset seizure conditions.

Keywords: Afterdischarge; Cannabidiol; Epileptogenesis; Ganaxolone; Kindling; Midazolam; Seizures; Temporal lobe epilepsy; Tiagabine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacology
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Cannabidiol* / pharmacology
  • Cannabidiol* / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Seizures / drug therapy


  • Cannabidiol
  • Anticonvulsants