Epilepsy is a neurological syndrome characterized by recurrent seizures. In recent consensus, epilepsy is divided in two main categories: primary (idiopathic) where there is no structural brain lesion, and secondary where there is a distinguishable structural lesion. Idiopathic epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological conditions seen in companion animals and humans.
The main treatment goal is to improve the quality of life for the patient by reducing the frequency, duration, severity, post-ictal phase and the total number of seizures over a period of time. Repeated epileptic seizures result in numerous negative side effects on the central nervous system (CNS) and the brain including disturbance of the blood–brain barrier function, neuronal death, and persistent inflammation.
Identification of THC, CBD and the endocannabinoid system in the mid-20th century has led to advancement of cannabis-based therapies for epilepsy. CBD interacts with many, non-endocannabinoid signaling systems. Cannabidiol has a wide range of biologic effects with multiple potential sites of action in the nervous system: antagonism of GPR55, which is expressed in excitatory and inhibitory synapses; agonist at several TRP cation channels (A1, V1 – 3, V4); agonist at the 5-HT1 A receptor, an inhibitor of adenosine reuptake at voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1) and inhibition of diverse voltage-dependent currents from sodium, potassium, GABA A receptors and other channels.
Due to its properties CBD is considered as a multidrug. Growing studies of the potential benefits of cannabis-derived treatment in epilepsy and its anticonvulsant properties can lead to better management of the disease in dogs, cats and horses suffering from seizures and epilepsy.