Cannabidiol (CBD) found in the cannabis family of plants like the hemp and marijuana is popular for its therapeutic and medical benefits. Some of the benefits are anxiolytic, anticonvulsive, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and vasodilatory effects. Because of this, people are using health and wellness products made using it for treating various common ailments like headaches, skin rashes, minor wounds, and burns. Apart from this, research has shown that cannabidiol has good neuroprotective effects, and it is useful for treating various neurodegenerative disorders. Read on to know more about the use of CBD for treating neurodegenerative disorders.
An Introduction About Cannabidiol (CBD)
CBD is one of the major phytocannabinoids found in cannabis, especially the hemp plant. You must also know that these cannabinoids are similar in structure and function to the endocannabinoids naturally produced by our bodies. This is the reason for the therapeutic and medical effects you get when you consume CBD health and wellness products. Moreover, cannabis products are used in many oriental medicines for thousands of years. For example, they are used for treating pain, cramps, mental disorders, etc. This also led to the development of pharmaceutical drugs like Cesamet and Dronabinol.
The cannabinoids THC and CBD produce their therapeutic effects by interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CB1 receptors are mainly expressed in the central and peripheral nervous systems, while CB2 receptors are exclusively expressed in the immune system. THC primarily binds to the CB1 receptors, and CBD has more affinity towards CB2 receptors. Besides, CBD has the effect of reducing the affinity of CB1 receptors towards THC, and thereby reducing the severity of its adverse effects like paranoia and hallucinations.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
CBD produces its therapeutic effects due to its positive effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of chemical messengers and neurotransmitters spread through the body, and it regulates homeostasis. So, it plays an important role in the regulation of cognitive functions, and emotional response due to its influence on neurological function in the hippocampus, cortex, and amygdala. Also, it regulates pain perception, movement, posture, respiratory functions, gastrointestinal function, body temperature, metabolism, inflammatory response, etc. Moreover, research has shown that CBD is effective for treating the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease due to its influence on ECS signaling.
Cannabidiol (CBD) For Treating Neurodegenerative Disorders
Alzheimer’s Disease: Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world, and it is especially high among the aging population. It is characterized by gradual diminishing of memory, progressive impoverishment of language and intellectual abilities, and deterioration of behavioral skills. The primary reason for its cause is neuronal inflammation and damage due to neurofibrillary tangles, senile plaques, and amyloid angiopathy.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is useful for treating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease because administering it reduces the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damages neurons. It increases the survival rate of cells due to this. Invitro studies show that CBD inhibited the production of nitric oxide synthase and nitrate that causes neuroinflammation. These are the two major reasons for CBD’s neuroprotective effects, and this makes it useful in Alzheimer’s disease treatment and prevention.
Parkinson’s Disease: Parkinson’s disease is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. It develops due to the degeneration of neurons in the substantia nigra part of the brain, and this results in lower dopamine production. Also, this condition is more common in the older population, and it is characterized by symptoms like tremor, muscle rigidity, changes in speech, loss of balance and posture, slowed movement, and changes in writing.
Studies have shown that CBD is useful for treating Parkinson’s disease due to its neuroprotective effect. It reduces the toxicity caused by 6-hydorxydopamine, and it also protects neurons against oxidative stress. As a result, it slows down the progress of neurodegeneration and helps with maintaining dopamine levels. Apart from this, it also activates TRPV1 or vanilloid and adenosine receptors. Because of these reasons, administering CBD reduces the tremors, muscle rigidity, and thereby improves the mobility of patients suffering from this condition.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative condition that destroys the motor neurons of the brain and the spinal cord. This results in muscle atrophy leading to paralysis and eventual death. Because of the generalized paralysis, it causes respiratory failure in patients. This condition is mainly caused due to neuroinflammation and administering cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) can help slow down the progress of ALS. It has been found from studies that this is achieved through endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. Besides, it also proves the involvement of cannabinoid receptors in the development of ALS. Motor neurons are mainly part of the peripheral nervous system, and CB2 receptors are also a part of this system. Therefore, CBD is effective for treating symptoms of ALS.
These are some important things that you must be aware of when using cannabidiol (CBD) for treating the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders.