Research Finds CBD May Provide Neuroprotective Properties
The human body requires a balance, or homeostasis, of chemical compounds to function correctly. The neuro-modulatory system in the human body is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Initial research into this system suggests it is responsible for the regulation of physiological as well as cognitive processes, such as pre- and postnatal development, mood, and memory.
By maintaining homeostasis, the ECS system retains a stable environment inside the body, despite external changes in the environment. Research shows that CBD contains chemicals that match the ECS messenger chemicals and bind to the same receptor sites.
Scientists believe CBD maintains homeostasis primarily by reducing inflation in the brain. According to a study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, because of its chemical properties, CBD has a significant antioxidant action. Other studies have linked brain inflammation to medical conditions like anxiety, depression, memory trouble, stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, fatigue, and brain fog. In addition, the same studies suggest CBD can slow inflammatory responses in the body.
In addition to being an antioxidant, CDB also works on receptors by inhibiting inactivation and increasing activation at other receptor sites, in some pathological conditions such as damage to a developing brain. The most crucial role of CBD when it comes to brain function is to reduce inflammation. By maintaining homeostasis and regulating chemical receptor sites, CBD can decrease or even completely stop the symptoms of some neurological diseases.
Various studies have begun to look at how the neuroprotective properties of CBD offer hope to people who suffer from these conditions:
A study published in the National Library of Medicine explains a link between CBD and help for Alzheimer’s disease. The decline in cognitive ability and physical function associated with Alzheimer’s disease are caused partly by neuroinflammation. The use of CBD in mice prevented social recognition deficit, which includes symptoms of lack of facial recognition and social withdrawal.
A study review in Frontiers in Pharmacology points to multiple trials with mice and rats where CBD showed positive effects on the brain receptors responsible for memory processing. Because these studies have shown that CBD helps maintain homeostasis and reduce inflammation in the brains of mice and rats, scientists are optimistic that the human brain will react in the same way, alleviating many symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2014, researchers studied the effects of CBD on REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) in patients with Parkinson’s disease. RBD is known to cause loss of muscle strength and dynamic dysfunctional behaviors during nightmares. Four patients treated with CBD quickly showed a reduction in the frequency of RBD symptoms. The patients did not report any adverse side effects from the use of CBD.
Another study evaluated the use of CBD in patients with Parkinson’s disease and either dementia or psychiatric conditions. Participants in this study were divided into three groups. One group received high dose CBD treatment, another received low dose CBD treatment, and the third group received a placebo. The high dose group had significant improvement in quality of life measures compared to the placebo group.
In some countries, the medication Nabiximols (Sativex®), a cannabinoid-based oromucosal spray, is an add-on therapy for patients with moderate to severe multiple sclerosis spasticity (MSS) that is resistant to other medications. This drug is currently awaiting FDA approval in the United States as a treatment for cancer pain.
In an observational study, 75% of patients showed a decrease in MSS symptoms after one month of using Nabiximols. After three months of use, 55% of patients were still using Nabiximols, and their MSS symptom scores had decreased by 25%.
Promising studies and reviews show how CBD affects brain homeostasis and functioning. In human trials, many patients report a decrease in symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. Scientists plan to continue exploring these positive results, looking for benefits for other symptoms and illnesses.