BENEFITS OF CBD OIL IN THE TREATMENT OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS
CBD has been seen to have neuroprotective properties, meaning that it helps to protect our nerve cells. The anti-inflammatory effect helps prevent or reduce the damage done by autoimmune diseases like arthritis where the immune system attacks the myelin sheath on nerve cells. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to regulate our bodies communication molecules, which may explain why it can help reduce frequency of seizures in people with epilepsy.
There are many factors that impact our neurological health, and while the frequency of many neurological disorders has declined for many countries between 1990 and 2015, we are seeing an increase in the overall number of people affected by neurological disorders across the world. Many neurological disorders are hard to treat due to the blood-brain barrier, which selectively allows certain compounds to pass through.
Cannabidiol CBD has been available on the retail market for a few years now and is being used by customers to improve their quality of life. Many customers report that using CBD has been great for improving sleep, reducing muscular tension, and reducing anxiety and depression. So what is CBD, and can we establish if CBD oils benefit neurological disorders?
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
CBD oil is made up from a carrier oil - often coconut oil - with the CBD (cannabidiol) in it. There are different types of CBD oil available, from CBD isolate that only contains the CBD cannabinoid, to full spectrum CBD, which contains all the compounds in the cannabis plant (including Tetrahydrocannabinol THC, the psychoactive ingredient).
At SMOKO we use broad spectrum CBD oil, which is the same as full spectrum CBD but with the mind altering THC removed. We believe this to be the best way to deliver the benefits of CBD because of something called ‘the entourage effect’ - this is where the presence of multiple cannabinoids increases the effectiveness of other cannabinoids; something that is lost when using CBD isolate.
HOW DOES CBD OIL AFFECT THE NERVOUS SYSTEM?
The nervous system is our body’s communication highway, and CBD has been shown to help regulate neurotransmitters - the body’s communication molecule. Dopamine is required for smooth and purposeful muscle activity, and is itself a neurotransmitter. Our endocannabinoid system controls the transmission of dopamine at significant places in our brain, and CBD activates the production of more endocannabinoids, so taking CBD should encourage proper function of the nervous system!
It is our nervous system that triggers the release of many types of chemical messengers, including those required to regulate inflammation. Using CBD could help to regulate and reduce chronic inflammation, which is known to cause some neurodegenerative diseases - among many other problems!
HOW DOES CBD OIL HELP WITH NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS?
Hypertension is the second most common cause of death, and the primary cause of stroke - which has recently been re-classified as a neurological disorder. CBD has been shown to be a vasodilator, meaning it widens the blood vessels, which has the effect of lowering blood pressure - reducing hypertension.
The endocannabinoid system helps to regulate the use of dopamine, and some neurological disorders - like Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia - are due to disturbances to, or imbalances in, dopamine levels. Taking CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system, which in turn helps regulate communication between the systems in the body.
WHAT ARE NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS?
Neurological disorders are afflictions that affect the brain as well as the nerves found throughout the human body and spinal cord. Sudden onset conditions are neurological disorders resulting from injury to the brain or spinal cord, intermittent conditions include epilepsy and the early stages of multiple sclerosis, and progressive conditions like Parkinson’s worsen over time. Neurological conditions that remain the same are known as stable neurological conditions.
Common neurological conditions include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and dementia.
THE USE OF CBD OIL FOR TREATMENT OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS
In Parkinson’s disease, the cells that produce dopamine in the brain die, and the falling of dopamine levels causes abnormal nerve firing patterns which can cause movement issues. Frustratingly, by the time Parkinson’s symptoms display, 60-80% of the dopamine producing cells have already died. It may be that taking CBD could act as a preventative against Parkinson’s disease by stimulating dopamine production.
In epilepsy, neuron function is impacted, causing interruptions to the electrical signal - this interruption leads to seizures. Studies suggest the use of CBD shows promise in instances of treatment resistant epilepsy in infants through to teenagers; one study concluding the addition of CBD to other anti-epileptic drugs may have a beneficial effect. A Healthline media article cites two clinical trials for childhood epilepsy where CBD was given versus a placebo, and in each study CBD significantly reduced the number of seizures when compared with a placebo group.
Multiple sclerosis is caused by the demyelination of nerve cells - myelin is a fatty substance that wraps around our nerve cells as protection, and the erosion of this leads to damage to the nerve cell, causing the synapses to function incorrectly. There is some evidence to suggest that CBD plays a role in the myelination process, so taking a CBD supplement may help stave off the onset of multiple sclerosis.
Alzheimer’s disease is another neurological disorder that CBD has shown promising effects on. In Alzheimer’s, there are build ups of amyloid proteins between neurons that form plaques, disrupting cell function. A study from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University showed that a two week course of high doses of CBD helps restore the function of two proteins that clear debris from the brain - like amyloid plaques!
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN USING CBD OIL FOR TREATMENT OF A NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER
CBD isn’t without potential side effects - it can interact with other medications, cause liver injury, lower sperm production and cause serious harm to an embryo or foetus. CBD has also shown a vasodilatory action - it widens the blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. It is therefore essential to have a conversation with your doctor before you start taking CBD.
When purchasing your CBD, make sure to check reviews for the company, and if they have a certificate of analysis for their CBD products - one study in the US found the contents indicated on the labels of many cannabinoid products were not correct, so this can make getting the right dose of CBD impossible, so make sure to buy from trusted sources!
At SMOKO, our broad spectrum CBD oil is cryogenically extracted from organically grown cannabis sativa L plants in the USA - and made here in the UK, bringing you a high quality CBD product you can trust. For most conditions we would suggest starting at low strength CBD and increasing the potency if necessary.
BENEFITS OF CBD OIL IN THE TREATMENT OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS CONCLUSION
Neurological disorders are problems that involve damaged or malfunctioning nerves, and as these are the communication pathways through our body, the effect of CBD appears to be a positive one due to its role in regulating this communication in a number of ways.
CBD appears to protect the nerves themselves (through myelination) and reduces the firing of synapses between nerves (reducing spasticity), leading to more relaxed muscles. The vasodilating effects of CBD help to reduce blood pressure, reducing the risk of a number of conditions from stroke to heart attack. CBD also promotes sleep and reduces anxiety - both important for eliminating chronic stress, which can exacerbate most conditions, or lead to conditions all on it’s own.
As the use of CBD increases, more studies are being done to establish the mechanisms that CBD acts on to bring us some of the benefits mentioned in this article. If you have a condition that you think may be helped by CBD, you can find some more information on how CBD can be beneficial to you on SMOKO’s blogs page, and be sure to consult your doctor if you think CBD could help you! If you are at the stage of purchasing CBD Oral Drops or CBD Gummies, you can find out more about SMOKO’s CBD products here