Cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient in marijuana plants, has become subject of series of research for its natural solutions to many common ailments. Unlike its cannabinoid ‘counterpart’ – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – CBD is not psychoactive, making it a great natural treatment.
THC and CBD are the two most widely recognized cannabinoid molecules. The latter has been valuable in treating; pain, anxiety, acne and more interestingly, neuroprotection.
CBD’s success in treating neurological diseases is attributed to its ability to protect neurons from degeneration.
- its purpose as an antioxidant
- what it means to be neuroprotective and
- the results of several studies carried out
First off, what is neuroprotection?
Neuroprotection is an effect that aids the recovery or regeneration of the nervous system, the neural structure and its functions. It can be classified into the primary and secondary neuroprotection.
Primary neuroprotection has to do with the prevention of necrotic or apoptotic neuronal cell death, while secondary neuroprotection refers to the protection of the myelin, axons and neurons.
CBD as an antioxidant
Antioxidants are simply natural substances that deter oxidation, a chain of chemical reactions that cause damage to major cells. Considering this role, they are vital in sustaining the proper health and function of most organs.
In a study published in 1998, cannabidiol was found to contain certain antioxidant properties more powerful than Vitamins C and E, two strong antioxidants.
Though these natural substances are produced by the body, CBD provides an extra supply to efficiently inhibit the production of free radicals.
Stroke, parkinson’s disease and Alzherimer’s disease are some of the diseases combated by CBD and other antioxidant-rich diets.
CBD is neuroprotective. How true?
Different factors – including autoimmune and genetic disorders – cause oxidative stress, eventually causing neural damage. Several studies have proven that CBD can act as a neuro-protectant against this damage and also improve the growth and development of new ones.
CBD’s neuroprotective capabilities were further proven against an excitatory transmitter and an oxidant induced neurotoxicity. Both cases were solved using a concentration of 10µM.
Dextranabinol, a synthetic cannabinoid, has also successfully worked in experiments against the effects of stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Specific research and results obtained
Though researches on the neuroprotective properties of CBD are still relatively new, results obtained have offered true prospects in the field. Let’s consider a few.
Spasms: In a study carried out on 276 people suffering muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis, 75 % of them had reduced spasms. The tests were carried out using Sativex, an oral spray made from CBD and THC.
THC vs. CBD: In a research aimed at comparing these two common derivatives of marijuana, the brains of chronic marijuana smokers were compared with the amount of THC and CDB in hair samples.
It was shown that THC has a neurotoxic effect on certain areas of the brain, while CBD had a neuroprotective effect on same areas of the brain.
Dementia: When testing different medications against dementia, it appeared that CBD reduced the symptoms of psychosis in people with Parkinson’s disease and showed a couple of other good prospects.
At this point, it will be quite presumptuous to claim that CBD prevents dementia; however, effects shown have been positive.
Epilepsy: In a study conducted on some 214 people with severe epilepsy, 36.5 % (median) had reduced seizures. The samples were treated with grams of CBD oil relative to their body weight. Using a range of 0.9 – 2.3 per pound.
Success was also recorded when used on children with Dravet syndrome.
Alzheimer’s: CBD was shown to prevent cognitive decline when given to a mice genetically predisposed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Possible side effects
It should be noted that some who passed through these tests suffered some adverse reactions. As a result, it is of utmost importance to be used under the strict watch of a professional.
Some of the side effects recorded are;
- Sleeping difficulties
- Dry mouth
- Mood swings
When using other medications, avoid using CBD oil without the knowledge of your doctor as CBD interacts negatively with several medications.
The interest in CBD has grown rapidly because of this significant advantage over other cannabinoid compounds: it offers several medical benefits without causing feelings of intoxication, a feeling normally associated with marijuana.
The neuroprotective properties displayed are great and worth trying, however caution must be applied.
Author: Karen Stuart