Elife. 2022 Feb 18;11:e73246. doi: 10.7554/eLife.73246.
Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical found in the Cannabis sativa plant, is a clinically effective antiepileptic drug whose mechanism of action is unknown. Using a fluorescence-based thallium flux assay, we performed a large-scale screen and found enhancement of flux through heterologously expressed human Kv7.2/7.3 channels by CBD. Patch-clamp recordings showed that CBD acts at submicromolar concentrations to shift the voltage dependence of Kv7.2/7.3 channels in the hyperpolarizing direction, producing a dramatic enhancement of current at voltages near -50 mV. CBD enhanced native M-current in mouse superior cervical ganglion starting at concentrations of 30 nM and also enhanced M-current in rat hippocampal neurons. The potent enhancement of Kv2/7.3 channels by CBD may contribute to its effectiveness as an antiepileptic drug by reducing neuronal hyperexcitability.