Researchers are bang in the middle of arguing whether CBD can help slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases or not. Although the jury still isn’t out, existing research suggests that CBD could have a role to play in this regard.
CBD and Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurodegenerative disorders involve the rapid loss of neural activity in some areas of the central nervous system. This rapid decline is linked to a host of cognitive problems, such as dementia, indecision, and even death.
CBD has shown medicinal potential as a neuroprotective agent to treat several neurodegenerative conditions, including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Spinal cord injury
- Prion disease (minor improvement)
- Parkinson’s disease
However, CBD’s interaction with the central nervous system is not clearly understood. This is mainly because CBD is known to offset several triggers in our brain, instead of simply targeting one process at a time.
The general idea is that CBD regulates our central nervous system’s internal balance, also called neural homeostasis. Meaning, it buffers several critical neural centers associated with inflammation, neurological functions, synaptic responses, neuron transmission, and immune response.
Some of the basic mechanisms through which CBD combats neurodegenerative disorders revolve around:
- Slowing down or fighting neural inflammation
- Stopping T-cells from diffusing across the blood-brain barrier (autoimmune protection)· Antioxidant back up ( prevents DNA damage)
- Treats underlying conditions associated with neurodegeneration, such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and spasms.
CBD and Alzheimer
Alzheimer’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disease. Alzheimer patients experience a gradual buildup of toxic metabolites, the most important being beta-amyloid plaque, in several neural centers. This leads to cell death and cognitive decline.
One of the prime culprits behind Alzheimer’s disease is neuroinflammation. As CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory effects, some studies have shown that it could combat Alzheimer’s.
CBD and Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease attacks the basal ganglia, where our dopamine inventory is stored. Dopamine is also called the “bliss molecule” and responsible for regulating our mood and performing other “blissful” functions. Parkinson’s drains our dopamine reserves, which causes cognitive debility, muscle spasms, and a whole host of other cognitive complications.
Like Alzheimer’s, the onset of Parkinson is also believed to be due to hyper inflammation in the bran. Therefore, just like in Alzheimer’s, CBD can use its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties to shield against Parkinson’s spread.
CBD and Prion Diseases
Prion diseases like Creutzfeldt – Jakob disease (CJD) are rare. However, they can wreak havoc on their victims. Prion diseases occur due to the replication of a particular protease-resistant protein known as PrPres.
Because PrPres isn’t receptive to protease, it stops the healthy breakdown of neural cells and allows for the uncontrolled accumulation of protease protein. With time, protease undergoes replication and clogs important neural regions, thus interfering with healthy brain functions.
Currently, prion diseases have no cure. Although inflammation is an integral component of prion disease progression, studies have found CBD to treat many other underpinning symptoms associated with these diseases, including resisting the accumulation of PrPress.
CBD and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
ALS is another incurable neurodegenerative disease. It causes gradual disgruntling of important neural signals associated with voluntary muscles and ultimately leads to death.
Right now, CBD science investigating CBD as a potential treatment for ALS is scarce. However, some studies do suggest that CBD oil could provide hope for people with ALS.
The most convincing argument for this surfaced in 2010 when the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care published a paper that recommends CBD use for ALS patients. Researchers found that CBD has a host of therapeutic properties, such as analgesia, appetite and sleep promotion, and saliva control.
This research followed a literature review in 2017, which studied the efficacy of CBD for ALS, Parkinson, and Alzheimer’s. The results were quite promising; however, the researchers recommended extensive “human clinical trials” to further understand CBD’s link and these neurodegenerative diseases.
CBD and Huntington’s disease
Huntington’s disease is quite similar to Alzheimer’s, in the sense that both are genetic neurodegenerative disorders and involved miscoded proteins. In the case of Huntington, the miscoded protein in question is Huntington, rather than Press.
People with Huntington produce overly long Huntington proteins, which is why they build up around neurons and clog neural pathways, ultimately contributing to cell death. As Huntington disease progresses, it causes neurodegeneration on a large scale, causing rapid and widespread inflammation.
Like most neurodegenerative conditions, Huntington’s doesn’t have a cure. However, CBD has shown some promise in resisting its spread and combatting many of its underlying symptoms.
CBD and Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
SCA is another genetic neurodegenerative condition centered on the cerebellum. The cerebellum is an important part of the central nervous system, regulating motor skills and muscle movement.
Unfortunately, most SCA cases never recover. Existing treatment is palliative at best, focusing on treating Spinocerebellar Ataxia underpinning symptoms — all of which CBD may help.
CBD and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
SMA is a rare neurodegenerative disorder affecting the motor neurons controlling the muscles. Eventually, the disease causes loss of muscle function and muscle wasting. Like many other neurodegenerative disorders, the condition results from a dysfunction in producing a particular protein in the brain.
Over time, these dysfunctional proteins buildup, resulting in the death of the neurons. There is no cure for this condition.
It’s unclear whether CBD is beneficial to those with SMA. The majority of side-effects of this condition involve muscle weakness — something CBD isn’t thought to improve.
CBD and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple Sclerosis autoimmune variant of neurodegeneration. In MS, sprawling neuroinflammation weakens nerve cell defenses, giving passageway to immune cells to freely attack myelin sheath protecting their structures. This results in a gradual loss of neuron function.
Because CBD is well-known for its immunomodulatory and neuroprotective properties, it may play a role in slumping MS progression. Additionally, it may also help combat MS’s subsidiary symptoms, such as muscle spasticity.
Tips for Maximising CBD’s potential To treat Neurodegenerative Disorders
- Use a full-spectrum CBD oil.
- Couple CBD with other traditional treatments and healthy lifestyle choices
- Don’t slack on dosing. Any noticeable beneficial effects can take up to three months to appear when it comes to neurodegenerative conditions.