For example in MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s
The endocannabinoid system ensures that endogenous cannabinoids do their work (also see the section cannabinoids in the body). The endocannabinoid system is involved in many important bodily processes, including deciding whether cells die or survive. From so-called phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids derived from plants, such as CBD), we know now that they have neuroprotective properties, i.e. protective against neuronal damage. This is an important effect, because loss of nerve cells in the central nervous system (CNS) is characteristic of a number of seriously impairing diseases, such as MS. Currently, doctors have great difficulty to treat these conditions, due to the poor effectiveness of existing neuroprotective medication. CBD is a good candidate to become a future medicine, because it has several characteristics that are important for neuroprotection. For example, CBD can influence the activity of certain neurotransmitters , it contains anti-oxidants and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
There are three reasons why phytocannabinoids (such as CBD) have such a broad spectrum of protective properties. Firstly, phytocannabinoids work on cannabinoid receptors (such as CB1 and CB2), as well as on the FAAH enzyme. These play an important role in neuroprotective processes . Secondly, phytocannabinoids selectively influence nerve cells which are involved in processes of degradation, protection and repair . In other words, they work effectively. Finally, some phytocannabinoids seem to be able to mimic the nerve cells just mentioned, and can thereby counteract the processes that cause damage to the brain [3,4].
Advice on using cannabinoids against nerve damage
Clinical research is currently lacking, but nevertheless phytocannabinoids are very interesting as (preventive) agents against nerve damage. Results from laboratory studies are very promising in that respect. It is advisable to opt for a Full Spectrum hemp oil when you are considering to use CBD preventively against nerve damage. If you are already suffering from a disease it is advised to consult with your doctor or specialist first, probably you can use hemp oil in addition to your usual medication. Click here to read more about safe use of cannabinoids.
- Hill, A.J., Williams, C.M., Whalley, B.J., and Stephens, G.J. (2012) Phytocannabinoids as novel therapeutic agents in CNS disorders. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 133: 79-97
- Galve-Roperh, I., Augado, T., Palazuelos, J., and Guzmán, M. (2008). Mechanisms of control of neuron survival by the endocannabinoid system. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 14: 2279-2288
- Fernández-Ruiz, J., Garcia, C., Sagredo, O., Gómez-Ruiz, M. and de Lago, E. (2010). The endocannabinoid system as a target for the treatment of neuronal damage. Expert Opinion in Therapeutic Targets, 14: 387-404
- Pacher, P. and Mechoulam, R. (2011). Is lipid signaling through cannabinoid 2 receptors part of a protective system? Progress in Lipid research, 50: 193-211.