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2023 Study: CBD for Epilepsy, MS, & Parkinson's

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CBD for Epilepsy, MS, & Parkinson's Study

An October 2023 study entitled "A Literature Review on the Therapeutic Applicability of Cannabidiol in Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson's Disease" that was published in the Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology had the goal of providing "an overview of the endocannabinoid system and a summary of the clinical and preclinical findings of the therapeutic use of cannabinoids in epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease."


"We sought to show the great potential for neuroprotection of CBD and its promise in primary neurodegenerative diseases and secondary to other CNS [Central Nervous System] complications, such as epilepsy," reported the scientists.

A tincture bottle of CBD oil.
Does CBD help patients?

CBD for Epilepsy

CBD for Epilepsy, MS, & Parkinson's. The study explained that epilepsy is a "neurological disorder that affects people of all ages; it is a chronic disorder of the brain characterized by convulsive crisis with events of hyperactivation and synchronization of groups of neurons that lead to motor, sensory, autonomic, and behavioral alterations."


Globally, approximately 50 million suffer from epilepsy. Of these, nearly one-third (30 percent) have treatment-resistant epilepsy, meaning that conventional antiepileptic therapies do not work for them.


"50 million suffer from epilepsy. Of these, nearly one-third have treatment-resistant epilepsy, meaning that conventional antiepileptic therapies do not work."

The study's authors cited a recent study that revealed that CBD "has a significant therapeutic effect for epilepsy," but that the underlying mechanisms responsible for this benefit is not clearly understood. They also noted that CBD is not only anticonvulsant, but also neuroprotective. It has been shown to restore nerve functioning in a temporal lobe epilepsy model.


"Currently, CBD can be considered a reasonable treatment for several types of refractory epilepsy, with a favorable profile of adverse events and prolonged and sustained efficacy," reported the study.

A woman in a wheelchair.
Does cannabis help multiple sclerosis?

CBD for Multiple Sclerosis

CBD for Epilepsy, MS, & Parkinson's.The scientists reported that multiple sclerosis (MS) is a "chronic, progressive autoimmune disease caused by inflammation, [nerve damage], and neurodegeneration" and that it manifests via sensory, motor, neurological, and psychological symptoms. Common signs of MS are fatigue (40 percent of patients), optic neuritis (22 percent), paresthesia (21 percent), vertigo (five percent), and bladder dysfunction.


"Like Alzheimer's, MS involves the formation of plaques in the brain that eventually kill brain cells, preventing them from communicating with one another."

Like Alzheimer's, MS involves the formation of plaques in the brain that eventually kill brain cells, preventing them from communicating with one another and leading to serious motor and psychological deterioration. Previous studies have demonstrated that MS patients "shown alterations in the expression of CB1 and CB2 receptors [in the endocannabinoid system] and, therefore, therapies with cannabis derivatives have been proposed."


The researchers cited another recent study that found that a combination of CBD and THC decreases the neuroinflammation that is such a large part of the damage done by MS.

A man suffers tremors while eating.
Does CBD help Parkinson's?

CBD for Parkinson's Disease

The study explained that Parkinson's disease "is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease, affecting five percent of the population over 85 years of age." It also noted that Parkinson's is the fastest growing neurodegenerative disease.


Symptoms of Parkinson's include motor impairment (tremors and rigidity) and also non-motor issues (which typically go underdiagnosed and untreated). The study's authors reported that a recent meta-analysis demonstrated that CBD "promoted a significant improvement in parkinsonian symptoms."


"Cannabinoids outside of CBD and THC have shown therapeutic potential in preclinical investigations, including THCV and the terpene BCP."

Research to date shows that the benefits derived from CBD for Parkinson's involve the CB2 receptor in the endocannabinoid system, not the CB1. Such knowledge helps researchers and scientists better formulate drugs and other therapies for diseases such as Parkinson's.


The study reported that cannabinoids outside of CBD and THC have shown therapeutic potential in preclinical investigations. "There is evidence that THCA, the terpene beta-caryophyllene (BCP), and [the varin cannabinoid] THCV have neuroprotective effects in Parkinson’s disease models." It explained that BCP has demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects involving the CB2 receptor of Parkinson's patients and that THCV has been shown to inhibit motor impairment and other problems associated with Parkinson's.


However, the scientists concluded that the scientific evidence regarding potential benefits of CBD for Parkinson's "are inconsistent and of poor quality, hindering concrete conclusions of its efficacy to be made."

A boy with epilepsy undergoes testing.
A boy wih epilepsy.

CBD for Epilepsy, MS, & Parkinson's Study Conclusion

CBD for Epilepsy, MS, & Parkinson's. The study's authors made the following conclusions:


"In this context of medicinal cannabis as a therapy for diseases of the nervous system, especially neurodegenerative diseases, the highlights have been the cannabinoids, THC and CBD. Several strategies, involving preclinical and clinical research, have reinforced the role of CBD in neuroinflammation, neuroprotection and anti-apoptotic, antiepileptic, as presented in this review.


"But, evidence on the molecular, cellular and behavioral mechanisms resulting from its interaction with a complex expanded endocannabinoid system requires further studies, particularly in epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, diseases addressed in this review.

A commercial cannabis grow room.
More research is needed.

"Significant therapeutic effects of CBD have been observed for epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, while nabiximois has been a frequent option for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and has been evaluated as a drug that contributes to the reduction of spasticity.


"Its role as a CB2 receptor inverse agonist, AEA reuptake inhibitor and non-competitive negative allosteric modulator of the CB1 receptor is known, but a possible action of CBD in neutralizing the effects of THC has been discussed and it is expected that such interaction mechanisms will be addressed in future studies.


"Significant therapeutic effects of CBD have been observed for epilepsy and Parkinson's disease."

"In general, in some diseases CBD has shown promising therapeutic benefits, but it is necessary to wait for the evidence to come from more randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that reach diverse populations.


"Much research still needs to be done, requiring preclinical studies that mimic the pathological conditions and double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials so that robust data allow conclusions based on scientific evidence."


View the original study.

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