Highly purified cannabidiol in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsies: A real-life impact on seizure frequency, quality of life, behavior, and sleep patterns from a single Italian center

Epilepsy Behav. 2023 Oct:147:109409. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2023.109409. Epub 2023 Sep 6.


Seizure frequency in treatment-resistant epilepsies seems to be decreased by cannabidiol (CBD), but contrasting data are available on its effect on sleep, behavior, and quality of life (QoL), and no data is reported on its effect on parental stress in patients with epilepsy (PWE). Thus, we conducted a retrospective study on a cohort of children and adults with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) who had been treated with highly purified, pharmaceutical-grade CBD to evaluate its effects on seizure frequency, QoL, behavior, parental stress, and sleep. Eighteen patients (12 adults and 6 children) were included in the cohort and followed for a median of 9 months. At the last follow-up (Tn), nine patients (50%) were considered CBD responders with at least a 50% decrease in seizure frequency. No serious adverse effects were found. No statistically significant differences were found concerning sleep, including daytime sleepiness, and no statistically significant effect was found on parental stress at Tn. An improvement was found for social interaction in quality of life (p < 0.05) for all patients. Our results demonstrate that CBD is a safe and effective antiseizure medication (ASM). CBD doesn't seem to affect sleep measures in adults and children or worsen daytime sleepiness. However, CBD improves specific QoL measures, which could indicate a possible use of CBD for other childhood disabilities. No impact of CBD was seen on parental stress, which could possibly be due to the limited follow-up or could mean that parental stress is not dependent on seizure frequency.

Keywords: Cannabidiol (CBD); Epilepsy; Parental stress; Quality of life (QoL); Seizures; Sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Cannabidiol* / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence* / chemically induced
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy* / chemically induced
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures / chemically induced
  • Seizures / drug therapy
  • Sleep


  • Cannabidiol
  • Anticonvulsants