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Neurodegeneration & CBD Oil: Can It Rebuild & Reverse the Damage?

Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease are terrifying and relatively common conditions. While more research is needed, CBD oil seems to exhibit neuroprotective effects and may be an effective option for managing these complicated illnesses.

Simply put, neurodegeneration is the degeneration of the nervous system. It usually refers to the central nervous system, that is, nerve cells found in the brain and the spinal cord.To date, there is no cure for these conditions and medical treatment options can carry a range of nasty side effects.

While far from being a cure, CBD oil may be able to restore and protect neurons in the brain and provide symptom relief without the same side effects.

Benefits of CBD Oil for Neurodegeneration

As it stands, treatments for neurodegenerative conditions leave a lot to be desired. At best, they slow the progression of the disease but can cause undesirable side effects; at worst, they do nothing much at all.

Neurodegenerative diseases may all stem from damage to the central nervous system but they are all different in the symptoms they produce. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is rapid in its progression and patients often only live for 3 to 5 years after the first sign of symptoms. Contrastingly, the progression of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s tends to be slow, and patients can live for many years after receiving a diagnosis.

What makes CBD oil so interesting as a possible treatment for these conditions is its ability to help stabilize motor control, reduce widespread inflammation, relieve pain, and, in some cases, promote neuroregeneration.

All of these potential effects existing in one compound is an exciting prospect for researchers and patients alike.

Effectiveness of CBD Oil for Neurodegeneration

One of the best ways to explore the effectiveness of CBD oil for neurodegeneration is to break down the research that’s been done on neurodegenerative conditions.

CBD Oil for Mad Cow Disease

Mad cow disease is a prion disease and neurodegenerative condition that is not widely understood. The build-up of prions, proteins that cause abnormal brain folding, that accompanies mad cow can cause significant damage. In a study performed on laboratory mice, CBD was found to stop the accumulation of these prions and extend the lifespan of the mice that had been infected.

The researchers concluded that CBD may be able to protect the neurons from the neurodegenerative damage caused by prion toxicity. The study concludes, “CBD may protect neurons against the multiple molecular and cellular factors involved in the different steps of the neurodegenerative process, which takes place during prion infection.”

That said, BSE is very rare and one would not generally ‘treat' it. The emphasis here is, researchers found that in mice infected with BSE, CBD displayed neuroprotective benefits. So one could hypothesize that the same would be the case for humans and thus could be relatable to other neurodegenerative illnesses. (Although it's important to note that BSE is transmissible, so has a different pathogenesis to Alzheimer's etc)

It should be mentioned that there is some controversy around this study. It is the only one to date that has produced these results and the successful doses of CBD were extremely high and only effective immediately following infection. The few humans with mad cow disease worldwide are not diagnosed until weeks or months after the infection.

CBD Oil for ALS

A study performed at the Institute of Neurology at University College London displayed significant potential for the use of phytocannabinoids in exerting neuroprotective effects and slowing down the progression of ALS in mice. Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, and include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD); the study focused on THC.

Test mice modified to display ALS symptoms were treated with a synthetic compound similar to a cannabinoid and the results showed a significant delay in disease progression and “significant neuroprotective effects in this model of ALS.”

Another study out of the California Pacific Medical Center of San Francisco examined the effects of THC on mice with excitotoxic and oxidative cell damage, which are believed to contribute to the neurodegenerative effects of ALS. It was shown to be effective when administered both before and after the onset of ALS. When administered at the first sign of tremors, cannabinoids were found to delay motor impairment and prolong survival.

While THC and CBD are not the same thing, these results show that phytocannabinoids, in general, could hold great potential in the treatment of these conditions. Further research is needed that assesses whether CBD alone is also effective.

CBD Oil for Alzheimer’s Disease

In dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers, there is often an immune-mediated inflammatory response to the disease process in the brain. This inflammation can worsen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and lead to oxidative stress, which can, in turn, worsen neurodegeneration.

A 2017 review examined several CBD studies on neuroinflammation and oxidative stress caused by Alzheimer’s disease. After examining the various results, the report states, “CBD promises potential for the multimodal treatment of AD [Alzheimer’s disease] through its neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.”

One of the things that is commonly observed in Alzheimer’s patients is a steadily progressive brain atrophy, which causes cognitive impairment and the destruction of neural pathways. In numerous animal studies, CBD oil has been found to not only prevent brain atrophy, but actually promote neurogenesis, or the regrowth of brain cells.

CBD Oil for Huntington’s Disease

A 2017 study explored the use of a 1:1 CBD:THC combination in the treatment of Huntington’s disease in mice. Movement disorders like Huntington’s have been associated with a decreased metabolic function in the parts of the brain that are responsible for smooth and controlled movements. This CBD and THC combination was found to decrease the drop in metabolic function and even reversed some of the neurodegenerative effects of the disease.

A 2011 Spanish study found similar results. The researchers found that cannabis-based medications like Sativex, which contains both CBD and THC, exerted neuroprotective properties and slowed the progression of Huntington’s in the mice studied.

More research into the uses of CBD oil for neurodegenerative conditions is required before any definitive conclusions can be drawn, but it certainly appears that there is significant potential for CBD to delay the progression of neurodegenerative illness and in certain instances, reverse some of the damage.

How to Use CBD Oil for Neurodegeneration

CBD oil comes in a handful of delivery formats and the one you choose to use will depend on your needs and your lifestyle. Each format has its benefits and you may find that it is a combination of products that provides the best relief. Once you have talked to your doctor about using CBD oil safely, you can decide exactly how you want to take it.

CBD Oil Capsules and Edibles

CBD oil capsules and edibles are both convenient and familiar to most people. Both of these formats provide a consistent dose of CBD oil and are easily worked into a daily routine. Unfortunately, capsules and edibles can be slow to show effects. Because the CBD must pass through the digestive system before it is absorbed into the blood, it could take up to an hour to work depending on your rate of metabolism and the amount of food already in your stomach. But the good news is that once the effects start to show, they can last from 4 to 6 hours.

CBD Oil Tinctures and Drops

CBD oil tinctures and drops are discreet and offer incredible dose control. These formats are administered through a small dropper, enabling the user to take a little more or a little less as needed. Placed under the tongue, tinctures and drops are absorbed through the skin in the mouth and often start to work within 30 minutes. The effects last for a slightly shorter period of time than capsules and edibles, typically wearing off after 2 to 4 hours. Portable and relatively fast-acting, tinctures and drops are great if you need a dose while on the go but they are perhaps most effective for daily supplementation.

CBD Oil Inhalants

CBD vape oil, e-liquids, and CBD flower are the fastest acting of all the delivery formats. Absorbed into the bloodstream directly through the lungs, these formats show effects within minutes. But, the effects do not last long, and are gone within an hour. Because these formats work so quickly, however, it is easy to take another dose when needed. These formats are best for sudden onset of pain, inflammation, spasms, or anxiety. Remember, smoking or vaping is not always appropriate so you may want to have another delivery format handy as well.

CBD Oil Topicals and Transdermal Patches

CBD oil topicals (e.g. CBD lotions, creams, salves) are perfect for targeting pain. Simply apply to the site and wait. Transdermal patches, on the other hand, can provide time-released relief throughout the body. Both CBD topicals and transdermal patches are relatively slow in showing their effects. The length of time it takes depends on a number of factors like the amount of hair on the skin and the amount of fatty tissue below it. But, the effects can last for some time. CBD topicals can last for over 5 hours while transdermal patches can last between 24 and 48 hours.

Dosage of CBD Oil for Neurodegeneration

The right dose of CBD oil for neurodegeneration is determined on an individual basis. What is right for one person may not be what’s right for the next.

It is always best to start with the lowest recommended dose on your CBD oil product. Once you have determined how your body will respond to CBD, you can slowly adjust the dose.

At CBD Oil Review, we have analyzed hundreds of products and come up with a standard serving suggestion:

The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25 mg of CBD, taken twice daily

If this doesn’t provide the results you want, you can increase the amount by 25 mg every 3 to 4 weeks until you find relief.

Best CBD Oil for Neurodegeneration

The best CBD oil for neurodegeneration will depend on your personal preferences. There is not a single brand or product that is best, however, there are products and brands out there to avoid.

When choosing the best CBD oil for you, it is important you buy a high-quality product. Here are some things to keep in mind while shopping:

  • Understand the law.  Before you make any CBD oil purchase make sure it is legal for you to do so in your state. Hemp-derived CBD oil with a THC content of 0.3% or less is legal at the federal level, but states have determined their own laws.
  • Read the label.  When checking the label, look for an organic CBD product. It will help you avoid contamination from harmful pesticides. Also look for the THC concentration. In states with legal access to cannabis, you may come across CBD oil products with THC concentrations higher than 0.3%. If you live in a state with restrictive cannabis laws or would rather not consume THC, look for a product advertised as “broad-spectrum” CBD or CBD isolate.

Check the Certificate of Analysis (COA).  Try to purchase from brands that post COAs for each batch of CBD oil products they produce. COAs are lab results that will tell you exactly what is and is not found in your CBD oil. It will help you to verify the CBD and THC concentrations listed on the label and alert you to any heavy metal, microbial, and chemical contamination.

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