The cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) has potent anti-seizure properties and has been a documented epilepsy treatment for over a century. (1) In fact, Epidiolex, a CBD compound, is FDA approved for the treatment of severe types of pediatric epilepsy. However, another cannabinoid — cannabidivarian, or CBDV–may also be effective in controlling seizures.

CBDV is a propyl analogue of CBD first isolated in 1969. While less is known about CBDV compared to CBD, research has indicated that it may act at both cannabinoid receptors and transient receptor potential (TRP) channels. (1) It has also been shown to inhibit the primary synthetic enzyme of cannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). (2)

Researchers at the University of Reading in the UK were curious about the potential for CBDV as an anti-convulsive agent and set out to explore its mechanism of action. (1,2)

These researchers employed a pre-clinical model of epilepsy in which seizures were induced using electric shock, audio, or drugs, and utilized both in vitro and in vivo methods. The results from this set of experiments showed that CBDV reduced seizure-related electrical activity in brain slices and reduced convulsions. Additionally, it had no effect on motor function. (1)

In their next study, researchers used genetic techniques to measure the molecular effects of CBDV treatment. They found that CBDV reduced expression of genes up-regulated by seizures and that this effect was correlated with treatment response, indicating that CBDV exerts its anti-convulsive effects through these pathways. (2)

This body of work supports continued research into the potential anti-seizure properties of CBDV.

References

  1. Hill, A.J., et al., “Cannabidivarin Is Anticonvulsant in Mouse and Rat.” Br J Pharmacol, vol.167, no.8, 2012, pp. 1629-1642.
  2. Amada , N., et al., “Cannabidivarin (CBDV) Suppresses Pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)-induced Increases in Epilepsy-related Gene Expression.” PeerJ, vol.21, no.1, 2013, pp. 1-18.