Does CBD have Neuroprotective Properties?
Many researchers believe that CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and other signaling systems in the brain may provide benefits for those living with neurological disorders. Unsurprisingly, one of the most studied applications of CBD is in treating neurological disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Although the research in this area is still relatively new, several studies have shown extremely promising results.
The oral administration of CBD has been found to be a safe and effective way to reduce muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis. One study in particular found that CBD was able to reduce spasms in 75% of 276 people with multiple sclerosis who were experiencing muscle spasticity that was resistant to medications. Another study gave 214 people with severe epilepsy between 0.9 to 2.3 grams of CBD per pound of bodyweight. In the end, their seizures reduced by a median of 36.5%. Yet another study found that CBD significantly reduced seizure activity in children with Dravet syndrome – a complex childhood epilepsy disorder.
CBD has also been researched for its potential in treating several other neurological diseases and disorders. As an example, several studies have shown that the administration of CBD improved quality of life and sleep quality for those with Parkinson’s disease. Further, animal and test-tube studies have shown CBD’s potential to decrease inflammation and help to prevent the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This was seen in an animal study where mice genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s were given CBD, ultimately preventing cognitive decline. Additionally, CBD is known to promote neurogenesis and neuroplasticity that repairs damage from concussions and other injuries, while also building new brain cells.
Neurodegeneration is a progressive loss of nerve cell function. It can be caused by oxidative stress and inflammation (also associated with aging), or be a side product of brain trauma, strokes and other conditions such as MS (multiple sclerosis). There are also neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Neuroprotection is the idea of preventing neurodegeneration. Studies indicate that CBD is neuroprotective in a variety of ways, including its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and its effects on other bodily mechanisms such as astrocyte functioning. Astrocytes are a type of cell in the central nervous system which play a major role in brain function. When nerve cells are damaged, astrocyte levels increase and their functioning changes – this process is involved in neurodegenerative disorders, and regulating this process has become a potential target for therapy.
Astrocytes also contain cannabinoid receptors, suggesting a role of cannabinoids in treating these conditions. Studies have shown that CBD suppresses astrocyte activity in models of neurodegenerative conditions, in addition to other beneficial effects such as improving associated psychiatric symptoms. This is one of several mechanisms in neurodegenerative disorders being explored with CBD – other studies have also achieved positive results using CBD alongside other treatments, such as stem cells. We encourage you to research it, try it for yourself, and support research towards a better future.