CBD is a promiscuous modulator of voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels

In his pre-clinical drug discovery blog, Marc Rogers provides expert insights on how CBD, found in marijuana, may affect ion channels, explaining its therapeutic potential, as highlighted in recent literature and drug discovery efforts.


After academic research as a neuroscientist and 20 years of commercial ion channel drug discovery, Marc Rogers now works as a freelance blogger, advisor and consultant for clients in the UK, EU and US where he shares his expertise and enthusiasm for all aspects of ion channel screening. He is particularly interested in automated patch clamp, and exploiting the potential of human iPS stem cell assays to facilitate the successful translation of new drugs into the clinic.


There is growing evidence that Cannabidiol (CBD), a constituent of the marijuana plant, can modulate a wide range of ion channels. This polypharmacology may underlie the therapeutic effects of CBD, including as an anti-convulsant, but questions remain around the specificity of CBD interactions with ion channel proteins and the potential role of membrane lipid changes. This blog summarises recent literature, revealing shared mechanisms of state-dependent modulation of neuronal and cardiac Nav, Kv and Cav channels by CBD. High resolution cryo-EM structures have identified novel binding sites of CBD on Nav and TRP channels which may facilitate further drug discovery efforts across a range of disease indications.