For many years now, the medical world perceives cannabis and some of its phytocannabinoids as therapeutic means for several disorders including epilepsy.

Specifically, CBD or cannabidiol, a cannabis cannabinoid showed positive preclinical effects in animals with convulsions and epilepsy. CBD even showed effectiveness in treating treatment-resistant types of epilepsy on animal models. Clinical trials on humans since 2015 have shown remarkable success too.

However, although CBD has shown good results as a treatment for epilepsy, according to a study led by Clementino Ibeas Bih, “the specific molecular target(s) through which CBD exerts its reported therapeutic effects remains undetermined.” This means the mechanism to which CBD cures epilepsy is largely unexplained.

In this article, well look into the study in 2015 titled “Molecular Targets of Cannabidiol in Neurological Disorders.” We’ll explore how CBD treats epilepsy in a nutshell.

CBD mechanism on Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that is characterized by recurrent seizures. CBD has consistent records in treating certain spectrums of CBD even its treatment-resistant types. So what’s the role of CBD in inhibiting seizures? Why is it such an effective anticonvulsant? Let’s look into the potential molecular targets of CBD.

CBD Ion Channel Targets in Epilepsy: According to two reports, there has been an increase in TRPV1 mRNA and protein expression on a small number of patients with epilepsy, suggesting that TRPV1 might have something to do with epilepsy. For context, TRPV1 or Transient Receptor Potential Cation Channel Subfamily V Member 1, is a type of protein in humans.

In summary, most of the studies do not suggest that TRPV1’s affects the anticonvulsant effects of CBD. Rather, VDAC1 remains a plausible molecular target of CBD, but according to the study, it’s still too early to tie HDAC1 on the anticonvulsant effects of CBD to an individual. VDAC1 is another form of protein in humans.

CBD Receptor Targets in Epilepsy: CBD shows affinity on receptors 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A. Some 5-HT receptor subtypes are reported to be influenced by CBD on its anticonvulsant effects. 5-HT receptors or serotonin receptors are a group of proteins largely found in the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Final thought

The study has identified a lot of potential molecular targets of CBD. Most of what the study discussed were protein forms of the nervous system. These molecular targets have relevance to the therapeutic effectiveness of CBD as an anticonvulsant.

Even with the extensive literature that the study is working on about CBD’s molecular targets, most of the drawn conclusions on the paper is deemed inconclusive. Therefore, the study warns future researchers on the subject to be extra cautious in interpreting CBD’s mechanism of action.

The most important thing that the study has drawn is, there are a lot of molecular targets that CBD has an affinity with. This evidence alone warrants future studies for CBD and epilepsy.

If literature like this is too specific and too “medical” for one’s understanding, it’s best to rely on doctors and health practitioners when it comes to deciding on whether CBD is good for your condition.



Bih, C. et al. 2015. Molecular Targets of Cannabidiol in Neurological Disorders. Available at: