Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic disorders of the brain affecting around 70 million people worldwide. Treatment is mainly symptomatic, and most patients achieve long-term seizure control. Up to one-third of the affected subjects, however, are resistant to anticonvulsant therapy. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS) are severe, refractory epilepsy syndromes with onset in early childhood. Currently available interventions fail to control seizures in most cases, and there remains the need to identify new treatments. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the first in a new class of antiepileptic drugs. It is a major chemical of the cannabis plant, which has antiseizure properties in absence of psychoactive effects. This article provides a critical review of the pharmacology of CBD and the most recent clinical studies that evaluated its efficacy and safety as adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with LGS and DS.
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