As cannabidiol (CBD) becomes increasingly popular, more people are discovering its therapeutic benefits. CBD has become a staple amongst many who are seeking relief from anxiety or chronic pain. However, its therapeutic applications range far beyond these issues. Through its interaction with our endocannabinoid system, CBD is able to bring balance throughout the body, including the brain.
Research suggests that CBD could even help people with neurodegenerative disorders. CBD is known to have neuroprotective properties, and to work against neuro-inflammation. In fact, the United States National Institutes of Health has obtained a patent for CBD in its application as an antioxidant and neuroprotectant.
This — along with other research and evidence — suggests that CBD could help people with neurodegenerative disorders. CBD boasts many therapeutic
What is Neurodegeneration?
Neurodegeneration can be a result of different conditions and injuries; however, neurodegeneration can be generally explained as a loss of nerve structure and function in the brain. As such, neurodegeneration is marked by deterioration resulting in a loss of cognitive abilities. This deterioration manifests in different ways depending on the cause, and no treatments have been identified for these conditions beyond symptom control.
What causes Neurodegeneration?
A small percentage of neurodegenerative conditions are genetic. A majority of cases of neurodegeneration, however, are caused by a buildup of toxic proteins in the brain. These toxins induce cell death, a mechanism to protect nearby brain cells from harmful toxins. Both genetic and non-genetic manifestations of neurodegeneration lead to cognitive deterioration.
CBD for Neurodegeneration
CBD has been shown to have neuroprotective properties. But what does it mean for CBD to be neuroprotective? CBD is known to repair, recover, and reduce the long-term damage associated with traumatic brain injuries and neurodegeneration. Essentially, CBD helps to reduce damage to the brain and nervous system. Further, CBD helps to encourage the growth and development of new neurons. As a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, CBD does not cause the euphoric “high” normally associated with cannabis because it does not directly interact with CB1 receptors (which are abundant in the central nervous system). CBD has different mechanisms of action which include 5HT1a (serotonergic) and TRPV1 (nociceptive) receptor agonism, to which it will exert anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective benefits. Additionally, CBD has been shown to increase endocannabinoid tone, suggesting an indirect relationship with CB1 receptors, which block calcium channels and reduce long-term neuronal damage.
This suggests that CBD may be particularly therapeutic for someone living with neurodegeneration or traumatic brain injury. Early research even suggests that CBD’s neuroprotective properties may also prevent and limit the progression of neurological disorders such as ALS, epilepsy, MS, and Parkinson’s disease. For symptom control and relief from neurodegenerative conditions such as these, a high concentration CBD oil is recommended. We carry a 2000mg CBD tincture called Heal + , a long time favourite of those with more serious conditions needing a higher dose of CBD with effective delivery. Recently, however, we have released the Harmony tincture. At 5000mg, the Harmony CBD tincture is the best option for those consistently using a high dose of CBD for the prevention or management of neurodegeneration.
Beyond CBD’s neuroprotective properties, it has also been shown to reduce or even prevent neuroinflammation. Through its interaction with CB2 receptors, CBD can modulate the activity of immune cells and the release of inflammation-inducing cytokines throughout the body, including within the brain. Due to the various neuroprotective, anti-neuro-inflammatory and antioxidant actions of CBD, researchers believe that it has serious potential as a therapeutic treatment for neurodegenerative disorders, and particularly those that are coupled with inflammation. This includes Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease. A common feature of these neurodegenerative diseases is the release of many pro-inflammatory proteins along with many other biological factors that encourage oxidative stress in the brain. Here, it can be seen that CBD is a promising treatment for this hyperactivation of inflammation and oxidative damage.
Neurodegenerative Disorders and CBD
The following is a brief overview of the research and applications of CBD in the treatment and management of these neurodegenerative and neuro-inflammatory conditions. Research is constantly being done to discover and understand the plethora of therapeutic applications of CBD.
Researchers are studying the use of CBD oil for treating:
It is believed that CBD can be used to help a range of dementia-related conditions including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Recent studies have indicated that CBD can reduce or remove the impact of neuroinflammation, oxygen buildup, and brain cell degeneration. This is important as neuroinflammation has been shown to increase the negative impact of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, in Alzheimer’s patients, an inflammatory response is triggered when immune cells in the brain can no longer clear disorienting blockages. Through its neuro-anti-inflammatory action, CBD can often alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. CBD’s antioxidant action is also helpful for those with Alzheimer’s to attenuate the oxidative stress caused by the condition.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
A 2018 study identified two previously unidentified mechanisms of CBD to manage the clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis and similar conditions. First, it was found that CBD is able to cause an increase in anti-inflammatory cytokines while also causing a decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines. Further, the study concluded that CBD may indirectly manipulate anti-inflammatory mechanisms within the body to inhibit the induction of T-cells: a common process in autoimmune diseases. Overall these two mechanisms result in decreased inflammation, leading the study authors to suggest that CBD may be an excellent candidate for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and similar conditions.
Early research has indicated promising results of cannabinoid therapy for those with Parkinson’s. This research suggests that CBD can be helpful for those living with Parkinson’s in a variety of ways. A small study has indicated that cannabinoid therapy is effective in managing pain associated with Parkinson’s. Another study has suggested CBD’s anticonvulsant properties may help to ease tremors caused by Parkinson’s. A 2009 study in individuals with Parkinson’s experiencing psychosis as a result of the disease found that CBD reduced the severity of the psychosis with no negative side-effects. This is likely due to CBD’s antipsychotic and neuroprotective properties.