CBD’s Neurological Effects

Cannabidiol has been seen to be an anticonvulsant in animals, but controlled studies in humans are lacking. Transdermal CBD is neuroprotective in animals.

Dravet syndrome

Dravet syndrome is a rare form of epilepsy that is difficult to treat. It is a catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy. Initial seizures are most often prolonged events and in the second year of life other seizure types begin to emerge. A number of high profile and anecdotal reports have sparked interest in treatment of Dravet syndrome with CBD. GW Pharmaceuticals is seeking FDA approval to market a formulation of CBD, under the tradename Epidiolex, as a treatment for Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex was granted fast-track status and is in late stage trials following positive early results from the drug. Some cannabis extract preparations containing CBD are marketed as dietary supplements and claim efficacy against Dravet Syndrome. One such preparation is marketed under the tradename Charlotte’s web.

Psychotropic effect

A 2014 Cochrane Review concluded that the evidence is insufficient to conclude that CBD has anti-psychotic effects. Others have concluded it may have antipsychotic effects and may counteract the potential psychotomimetic effects of THC on individuals with latent schizophrenia; some reports show it to be an alternative treatment for schizophrenia that is safe and well-tolerated. Studies have shown CBD may reduce schizophrenic symptoms due to its apparent ability to stabilize disrupted or disabled NMDA receptor pathways in the brain, which are shared and sometimes contested by norepinephrine and GABA. Studies have shown cannabidiol decreases activity of the limbic system and decreases social isolation induced by THC in rats.

Chronic cannabidiol administration in rats was found to produce reactions suggesting anxiety, indicating that prolonged treatment with cannabidiol might lead to anxiety. Those results have been contested by Gururajan, and contradict Réus, whose experimentation cover the same duration.

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