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Neuro-degenerative diseases and cannabidiol: what effects?

Here's how CBD can relieve the symptoms of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's

Cannabidiol is one of the most important active ingredients of cannabis and - according to a large part of the medical community - represents a treatment that could be effective against the symptoms of epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis.

In fact, all cannabinoids have enormous potential in the treatment of chronic pain and some neuro-degenerative diseases. Such molecules could be preferred to drugs used to treat the same diseases, because their side effects are better tolerated than those of opioid-based medicines. According to some studies, low doses of THC can even increase the analgesic effects of morphine and codeine . A combined therapy of opioids and cannabinoids therefore produces long-term pain-relieving effects for both acute and chronic pain, in doses so low as to be free of substantial side effects.

Studies measuring the effects of isolated CBD in the treatment of acute pain do not demonstrate beneficial effects, contrary to what has been demonstrated for the treatment of pathological pain . CBD , on the other hand, has a powerful analgesic action against inflammatory conditions, and can be used medicinally to treat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.

CBG (Cannabigerol) is a minor cannabinoid with analgesic properties against inflammatory pain; It works by increasing the endocannabinoid tone , allowing the anandamide to act over a longer range and to synergistically increase the pain-relieving effects of THC . The same can also be said for Cannabichromene (CBC) , which enhances the pain-relieving effects of THC.

CBD and epilepsy: what happens?

Epilepsy is a disease of the central nervous system in which the activity of nerve cells in the brain stops causing seizures, periods of unusual behavior, and loss of consciousness . Symptoms can vary from case to case: during the crisis some people stare at one point for a few seconds, while others may contract their arms and legs repeatedly. Even mild seizures need to be treated , because they can be dangerous during activities such as driving or swimming. Treatment based on drugs and/or surgery is able to keep the condition under control in 80% of cases.

Unfortunately, there are some very serious forms of epilepsy that resist pharmacological treatments. CBD oils , with a small amount of THC, also reduce seizures by more than 50% in children suffering from severe drug-resistant epilepsy.

Experts at the University of Saskatchewan tested a healing oil based on 95% CBD and 5% THC on children suffering from severe forms of drug-resistant epilepsy. Analyzing the data collected following the administration of this drug, the researchers noticed that in three of the seven children participating in the study the epileptic seizures had disappeared and, in general, in all the children the epileptic seizures had decreased even more than 50% .

CBD and multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that progressively wears out the central nervous system, brain and spinal cord. Following the degeneration of the nervous system, patients experience symptoms such as the progressive loss of motor skills and vision , the weakening of the muscular system , the appearance of problems relating to the urinary system, as well as chronic pain , sleep disorders and spasticity .

CBD is a very powerful ally in the treatment of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis : it is essential for reducing muscle spasms - thanks to its muscle-relaxing capacity; it helps reduce pain, thanks to its analgesic power, relieves sleep disorders and can even play a role in fighting urinary problems.

A study conducted by the University of Catania analyzed the clinical data of 1534 MS patients, revealing that, after the first month of treatment with therapeutic cannabis administered in the form of a spray , 61.9% of patients had experienced a decrease in symptoms such as cramps and night spasms.

There is another important aspect linked to the degeneration caused by multiple sclerosis: the drugs used to treat its symptoms - often strong antidepressants and antispasmodics - have important side effects and, in the long term, cause cognitive decline and alteration of the state of consciousness ; according to the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) and the related study “Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Controversial and unconventional therapies”, the impact of medical cannabis on cognitive abilities is significantly lower than that of conventional pharmacological treatments.

CBD and Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a chronic degenerative disease that affects the brain and is partially characterized by selective neuronal loss and cognitive deficits . According to scientists, the causes of Alzheimer's are partly genetic and partly environmental; A number of risk factors have been identified, such as lack of exercise , obesity , hypertension , diabetes , depression and smoking .

Preclinical studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system protects against excitotoxicity , i.e. the excess release of neurotransmitters, oxidative stress and inflammation, which are the triggers of Alzheimer's syndrome. Furthermore, it has been shown that endocannabinoids decrease the permeability of the neuronal membrane , preventing the β-amyloid protein from crossing it and killing neurons.

The protection of neurons, in fact, reduces the progression of cellular degeneration and helps preserve cognitive and motor abilities with the result of alleviating symptoms and improving the patient's quality of life.

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