Advances in the development of drugs with novel mechanisms of action have not been sufficient to significantly reduce the percentage of patients presenting drug-resistant epilepsy. This lack of satisfactory clinical results has led to the search for more effective treatment alternatives with new mechanisms of action.
The aim of this study is to examine epidemiological aspects of the use of cannabis-based products for the treatment of epilepsy, with particular emphasis on the main mechanisms of action, indications for use, clinical efficacy, and safety. We conducted a narrative review of articles gathered from the PubMed, EMBASE, and Google Scholar databases and from the reference sections of relevant publications.
In recent years there has been growing interest in the use of cannabis-based products for the treatment of a wide range of diseases, including epilepsy. The cannabis plant is currently known to contain more than 100 terpenophenolic compounds, known as cannabinoids. The 2 most abundant are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Studies of preclinical models of epilepsy have shown that these cannabinoids have anticonvulsant properties, and 100% purified cannabidiol and cannabidiol-enriched cannabis extracts are now being used to treat epilepsy in humans. Several open-label studies and randomised controlled clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of these products.
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