Purpose: We assessed the anticonvulsant potential of the phytocannabinoid Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (Δ9-THCV) by investigating its effects in an in vitro piriform cortex (PC) brain slice model of epileptiform activity, on cannabinoid CB1 receptor radioligand-binding assays and in a generalized seizure model in rats.
Methods: Δ9-THCV was applied before (10 μmΔ9-THCV) or during (10–50 μmΔ9-THCV) epileptiform activity induced by Mg2+-free extracellular media in adult rat PC slices and measured using multielectrode array (MEA) extracellular electrophysiologic techniques. The actions of Δ9-THCV on CB1 receptors were examined using [3H]SR141716A competition binding and [35S]GTPγS assays in rat cortical membranes. Effects of Δ9-THCV (0.025–2.5 mg/kg) on pentylenetetrazole (PTZ)–induced seizures in adult rats were also assessed.
Results: After induction of stable spontaneous epileptiform activity, acute Δ9-THCV application (≥20 μm) significantly reduced burst complex incidence and the amplitude and frequency of paroxysmal depolarizing shifts (PDSs). Furthermore, slices pretreated with 10 μmΔ9-THCV prior to induction of epileptiform activity exhibited significantly reduced burst complex incidence and PDS peak amplitude. In radioligand-binding experiments, Δ9-THCV acted as a CB1 receptor ligand, displacing 0.5 nm [3H]SR141716A with a Ki∼290 nm, but exerted no agonist stimulation of [35S]GTPγS binding. In PTZ-induced seizures in vivo, 0.25 mg/kg Δ9-THCV significantly reduced seizure incidence.
Discussion: These data demonstrate that Δ9-THCV exerts antiepileptiform and anticonvulsant properties, actions that are consistent with a CB1 receptor–mediated mechanism and suggest possible therapeutic application in the treatment of pathophysiologic hyperexcitability states.