Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects a person´s normal brain activity, leading to seizures, periods of unusual behavior and sensations.

  • What is Epilepsy?
  • Epilepsy & cannabinoids
  • Text references, literature discussion
    & clinical trials

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects a person´s normal brain activity, leading to seizures, periods of unusual behavior, and sensations.1

The development of the type of seizure depends on where the disturbance of brain activity begins and how far it spreads to other regions of the brain. Temporary symptoms may be but are not limited to:2

  • Uncontrollable movement
  • Sensations in both vision, hearing, and taste e.g. staring spell
  • Mood changes
  • Cognitive impairment e.g. fear, anxiety, and Déjà vu

Types of seizures1

Focal seizures
Affect only one-area of the brain and is thereby partial (focal)

  • Focal seizure with no loss of consciousness (temporary symptoms)
  • Focal seizure with loss of awareness and consciousness

Generalized seizures
Six types of seizures exist and they affect all areas of the brain.

  • Absence seizures
  • Tonic seizures
  • Atonic seizures
  • Clonic seizures
  • Myoclonic seizures
  • Tonic-clonic seizures

Up to this date, the exact cause of epilepsy is not fully understood, meaning that about half of the patients suffering from epilepsy do not know what caused this condition. In the other half of the patients, epilepsy may be due to the following factors:2

  • Genetics
  • Trauma to the head e.g. a traumatic head injury from a traffic accident
  • Other brain diseases e.g. stroke and/or tumors
  • Infectious diseases e.g. meningitis, AIDS
  • Injury of the fetus during pregnancy e.g. lack of oxygen or malnutrition
  • Developmental disorders e.g. autism
  • Cannabinoids
  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Endocannabinoids

  • 11-OH-Δ9-THC
  • CBD
  • THC
  • THCA
  • THCV
  • CBN
  • CBDV
  • Δ8THC

  • CB1
  • CB2
  • TRPV1
  • GlyR
  • BK
  • GPR55

  • 2AG
  • Anandamide
  • PEA
  • Terpenes
  • Strains
  • Enzymes
  • Metabolites

  • Caryophyllene
  • Eugenol
  • Linalool
  • Limonene
  • Myrcene

  • MAGL
  • DAGL
  • FAAH

The connection between Epilepsy
& cannabinoids


It is suggested that several cannabinoids may be therapeutic in the treatment of epilepsy as plant cannabinoids and several terpenes can play a role in boosting the endocannabinoid system and aid in maintaining neuronal activity balance.3

In addition, it is suggested that seizure control can be improved by adjunctive use of CBD in people suffering from specific epilepsy syndromes.4

Note: If you have any further information relevant to the connection between Epilepsy and cannabinoids, or find any of the information inaccurate, outdated or incomplete please contact us here.

Text references, literature discussion
& clinical trials

  • Text references
  • Literature discussion
  • Clinical trials

In the rat PTZ model of epilepsy, seizure incidence was shown to be reduced by THCV (0.25 mg/kg) (Hill et al., 2010).

In a mouse model of epilepsy (Maximal Electro Shock), CBD (120 mg/kg), Δ9THC (100mg/kg), 11-OH-Δ9THC (14 mg/kg), 8β-OH-Δ9THC (100 mg/kg), Δ9THCacid (200–400 mg/kg), Δ8THC (80 mg/kg), CBN (230 mg/kg), and Δ9α/β-OH-hexahydro-CBN (100 mg/kg) were shown to exhibit anti-convulsive effects (referenced within: Devinsky et al., 2014).

Clinical trials

Two clinical trials in the 1980s aimed to assess the therapeutic effects of CBD in epilepsy. It was demonstrated that CBD produced positive effects in 50% of patients, with seizure occurrence being reduced by >50% (Cunha et al., 1980; Pickering et al., 2011).

It was also shown that quality of life was improved by CBD in children with epilepsy (Rosenberg et al., 2017).


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