Neurodegenerative disorders affect a large number of people across the world, holding a great threat to humans. Though some combinations of traditional treatments are available to treat neurodegenerative diseases, there’s no cure as such. According to a report published by the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, approximately 6.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and this number is likely to increase significantly by 2030.
Amongst the list of different treatments suggested for neurodegenerative diseases, cannabis is the most trending one. The use of medical marijuana has been linked with the potential treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. Well, the matter is a bit controversial as different ideologies have been given to it.
In this guide, we will be discussing the relationship of medical marijuana with neurodegenerative disorders and also, what science has to say about this. Let’s go.
What are Neurodegenerative Diseases?
Neurodegenerative is derived from two words neuro and degenerative where neuro means brain-related and degenerative means the process of deterioration or decline. So, it refers to the progressive loss of functions of neurons in the process called ‘neurodegeneration’. The process could ultimately result in cell death.
Simply put, a neurodegenerative disorder is when the nerve cells lose function over time and eventually die. There are different types of neurodegenerative disorders.
Common Types of Neurodegenerative Diseases Are:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Multiple system atrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Prion diseases
Common Symptoms of Neurodegenerative Diseases Are :
- Memory loss
- A loss of inhibition
- Mood swings
- Disturbed sleep
- Changes in blood pressure
- Abnormal movements
- Difficulty in speaking
As stated before, there’s no particular cure for neurodegenerative diseases, however, doctors follow a multi-disciplinary approach to treat the patients and improve their quality of life. The best possible treatment could include a combination of different treatments such as physiotherapy, speech pathology, occupational therapy, and behavioral therapies.
What is Medical Marijuana?
Marijuana is a popular name for the cannabis plant which contains hundreds of different chemical compounds some of which are cannabinoids. Now, medical marijuana basically refers to the medical use of marijuana. Thanks to the growing legalization trend in America, people with a debilitating medical condition and a medical marijuana card online can access medical cannabis products without panicking about legal ramifications.
Medical marijuana holds great potential in the medical field; it has been used in the management and treatment of different health conditions, such as chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, glaucoma, cancer, and neurological disorders.
Medical Marijuana For Neurodegenerative Diseases: Understanding the Relationship
Over the years following the rising legalization trend of medical marijuana in more and more US states, people have actually started acknowledging the plant’s potential. The cannabis plant and its cannabinoids enjoy a huge following for their therapeutic properties. One of the medical conditions that medical marijuana can possibly help with is neurodegenerative disorders.
Different research and studies have been conducted on marijuana for neurological disorders which show that cannabinoids contain neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties which could help prevent, manage or slow down the progression of some of the neurological disorders. CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are two of the most prevalent cannabinoids well-regarded for their therapeutic capacity. While CBD is widely used for its anxiolytic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties, THC is the psychoactive component of the plant known for inducing the ‘high’ effect that is linked with marijuana consumption.
CBD being the most prevailing and healing compound of cannabis, more research on neurodegenerative diseases has been CBD-centric.
Role of Cannabinoids in Managing Mental and Motor Dysfunction in Neurodegenerative Diseases
Cannabinoids like CBD, THC and CBN (cannabinol) play a crucial role in influencing some of the underlying processes connected with different medical conditions. Research has shown that CBD might help manage some of the symptoms related to neurodegenerative disorders like anxiety, frustration, low energy, etc. Please note that cannabinoids can only help manage a few symptoms and are not a cure.
Separate studies and trials (on animal models) have been conducted on cannabinoids for different types of disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The research showed that CBD helps reduce neuronal cell death in different parts of the brain like in the subcortical basal ganglia of the forebrain.
All the measures of studies concluded that cannabinoids exert a neuroprotective role in the management of a few symptoms of neurological disorders. The scientific community strongly believes that a lot more descriptive and structured research is required to study the long-term effects of cannabinoids on people with different types of neurodegenerative disorders.
Is Medical Marijuana Safe to Consume?
Yes, medical marijuana is generally considered safe for consumption. Even the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved only one CBD-prescription medicine named ‘Epidiolex’ which is used to treat two severe forms of epilepsy (Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS) ) in children.
In one of the assessments, the World Health Organization (WHO) also acknowledged the medical potential of CBD and deemed it well-tolerated by human bodies. So, CBD consumption in moderate quantities is generally safe. However, CBD could also lead to some of the short-term risks if consumed in excess or by a beginner ( in some cases). Common side-effects include:
- Changes in weight
How to Find Quality Medical Marijuana Products?
Given the fact that medical cannabis has been largely acknowledged and has a huge demand, chances of fraud brands entering the cannabis market are more likely. So, it’s vital for a customer to be aware of the product he/she is purchasing. Below are some of the key things you need to keep in mind before making a CBD purchase:
- Always check for the certificate of analysis (COA). It is evidence that a product has gone through third-party lab testing.
- Read about the company’s reputation and consider customer reviews.