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Cbd oil for quadriplegic

CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy: Is It an Effective Treatment for CP Conditions?

Children with cerebral palsy (CP) suffer from poor physical development manifested in problems with motor function, muscle spasticity, and body posture.

While CP has no identified cure, there’s a range of treatments that can tackle the symptoms associated with the condition. Parents of a child with cerebral palsy will look for anything that could alleviate their kid’s discomfort and allow them to function as well as possible.

Recent studies have highlighted CBD oil as a potential treatment option for children with cerebral palsy, especially when treating its physical symptoms and managing associated conditions.

Let’s take a look at what science says about the health benefits of CBD for cerebral palsy.

CBD Oil and Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that negatively impacts a child’s physical development, including muscle tone, body posture, and movements.

The main trigger of CP is a brain injury or malformation during the neonatal stage.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy include lack of muscle coordination and balance, speech delay, learning difficulties, tremors, involuntary movements, muscle contraction, and spasticity.

These symptoms determine the type of cerebral palsy. For example, axatic cerebral palsy causes muscle coordination and balance; spastic cerebral palsy manifests with spasms; dyskinetic cerebral palsy involves involuntary movements.

The treatments of cerebral palsy range from physiotherapy to botox injections to oral muscle relaxants and surgical procedures.

Muscle relaxants can provide short-term relief, but the benefits are outweighed by potential side effects such as blurred vision, lack of muscle control, or depression. On top of that, people relying on muscle relaxants also have a higher chance of developing dependency and withdrawal symptoms.

CBD has been widely studied in terms of its effects on the brain and nervous system. We know that it can reduce the number and frequency of seizure attacks in epileptic patients and muscle spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis .

But does it help with cerebral palsy?

Let’s take a look.

Does CBD Oil Help With Cerebral Palsy?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex neurobiological network that maintains homeostasis throughout the human body. Studies have identified cannabinoid receptors — CB1 and CB2 — in virtually every region of the human body. Their highest concentrations are found in the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and immune system.

Researchers have found high cannabinoid receptors in the basal ganglia and cerebellum — the areas that control motor function.

Studies showed that CB1 expression is engaged in spasticity and motor function among patients with neurodegenerative conditions .

A study posted in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders has shown that CB1 receptors in the central nervous system are targets that can trigger antispastic effects. The authors concluded that cannabinoid-based treatments might potentially improve the signaling of these targets to help improve muscle movements like tremors or spasms .

Furthermore, CB2 expression has been found to block inflammatory proteins called cytokines in the central nervous system. Studies explained that inflamed CNS might be the underlying cause of various symptoms linked to cerebral palsy, such as tremors and spasms.

That being said, more clinical studies are needed to confirm these initial findings —and to help us learn how the activation of ECS can help children with cerebral palsy.

What Does CBD Oil Do to Your Brain?

CBD is the modulator of the ECS. In other words, it circulates in the body to ensure the optimal functioning of this system. The ECS produces its own endocannabinoids whenever homeostasis gets compromised; these molecules work to bring back the desired equilibrium and prevent various conditions from developing.

Endocannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors engaged in controlling motor function, muscle tone, and posture.

While CBD doesn’t directly mimic the effects of endocannabinoids (like THC does), it indirectly enhances endocannabinoid signaling in the ECS; it also changes the activity of specific enzymes and hormones responsible for the breakdown of endocannabinoids .

When you take CBD oil, cannabidiol slows down the metabolism of your natural endocannabinoids while signaling increased production through several receptor-independent mechanisms.

For example, CBD acts on serotonin and GABA receptors, which play an important role in regulating your nerve cells. It can also mitigate pain signals by binding itself to TRPV-1 vanilloid receptors engaged in pain transmission to the brain.

CBD for Cerebral Palsy Muscle Spasms

To date, only one study has investigated the direct effects of CBD on cerebral palsy symptoms.

The Wolfson Medical Center conducted a clinical trial involving the use of CBD and THC (with ratios 20:1 and 6:1) on children with cerebral palsy. The research team found that the CBD treatment significantly reduced spasticity, sleep difficulties, dystonia, and pain among their patients .

Other studies on CBD’s efficacy in treating muscle spasticity seem to support the above findings.

For example, a 2018 study from Neurological Disorders mentioned that a combination of CBD and THC reduced spasticity in human subjects. The authors attributed their results to CBD’s anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and muscle-relaxant properties .

Cerebral palsy has often been studied with multiple sclerosis due to similarities in muscle spasms and stiffness exhibited by patients suffering from these conditions. Researchers agree that both diseases lead to upper neuron motor dysfunction.

Finally, a study posted by Frontiers in Neurology has concluded that CBD treatments improved mobility and reduced spasticity among patients with multiple sclerosis. Interestingly, CBD also significantly reduced the use of prescription medicines .

CBD vs. Cerebral Palsy-Associated Conditions

Cerebral palsy is often accompanied by other conditions that could benefit from the use of CBD.

Studies mention that up to 56% of children with CP experience sleep deprivation caused by the child’s pain and problems with mobility.

Due to lower physical activity levels, adults with CP are also likely to suffer from anxiety and depression , rheumatoid arthritis , and cardiovascular disorders .

Recently, researchers have shown that children with CP have a higher risk of developing epilepsy. This may be caused by spastic tetraplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that may cause seizures.

One study has found that CBD reduces depression in human subjects. On top of that, research indicates that CBD is a potential therapeutic agent for patients with hypertension and rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

A study published in The Permanente Journal also demonstrated CBD’s efficacy in easing anxiety and improving sleep quality among humans. The authors reported that 79.2% of adults participating in this study had reduced anxiety, while 66.7% had better sleep scores .

CBD Dosage for Cerebral Palsy

More studies are needed to establish the right CBD dosage guidelines for cerebral palsy. However, physicians recommend that first-time CBD users start with a low amount for any health condition and gradually increase their dose until they experienced the desired effects without any adverse reactions.

For the general Dosage Guidelines, head over to our in-depth post.

A study published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology gathered thousands of clinical CBD dosing data on various diseases .

The authors summarized that the effective dose might range from 1 to 50 milligrams per kilogram daily.

In a study from Pharmacology and Pharmacology , CBD was found to produce a bell-shaped dose-response when administered in pure form (without other cannabinoids and terpenes). The research team observed that sometimes, a small dose might be enough to produce significant results, while higher doses may turn out counter-productive .

A study from Frontiers of Pharmacology confirmed the above findings. The authors observed that a 300 mg dose of CBD was enough to reduce anxiety scores, while a 600 mg produced less pronounced effects .

CBD oil is generally safe and well-tolerated — even in doses as high as 1,500 mg daily. That being said, you may experience a few mild reactions when you overdo it, including dry mouth, dizziness, irritation, appetite fluctuation, and diarrhea.

Consult your doctor before buying CBD oil for cerebral palsy for professional guidance and tips on using CBD to avoid negative interactions with other medications and supplements.

How to Take CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy

The best and the most straightforward way to take CBD oil for cerebral palsy is through sublingual use (under the tongue).

You can use a few drops of CBD oil or tinctures beneath the tongue and hold it there for up to 60 seconds. This way, CBD will absorb through a set of tiny capillaries in your mouth, reducing the amount of time it needs to kick in — and improving its bioavailability.

Then you swallow the rest.

CBD is also available in oral forms, such as gummies or softgel capsules and pills . Both products deliver CBD to your system through the gastrointestinal tract. Since the CBD needs to be metabolized by the liver first, oral products have delayed onset and lower bioavailability. On the other hand, the effects last longer because CBD is released gradually into the bloodstream.

You can also try CBD vapes, which offer the fastest and most effective way to experience the benefits of CBD. Vaporized CBD absorbs into your system through the lung tissue, so the effects are almost instantaneous. That being said, vaping isn’t appropriate for children, so if you’re looking for a CBD product to help with CP symptoms in your child, we recommend going with oils or gummies.

CBD vs. Other Natural Treatments for Cerebral Palsy

There are several alternative remedies for cerebral palsy that you can use instead of or combined with CBD.

Echinacea is one such remedy. Some of its medicinal claims include improved cardiovascular health, neural connections, and reduced spasticity. However, echinacea’s therapeutic value remains in the anecdotal sphere until clinical studies investigate it.

B12 vitamins and supplements containing omega-3 have been recognized to improve cognition in people with neurological disorders. A 2017 study mentioned B12 and omega-3 supplements as a means of early intervention to prevent neurodegenerative disorders .

CT scans conducted after supplementation demonstrated that children with hypertonia (muscle stiffness), brain atrophy, and delayed milestones, and speech showed improved neuroimaging results.

Another natural remedy for cerebral palsy is ginger. It has been studied for its potential to enhance cognitive functioning. One study found that ginger root extracts effectively enhanced attention and cognitive processing among human participants.

While CBD may not improve children’s learning capabilities, it has been acknowledged for its positive effects on the nervous system. According to a British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study, CBD can reduce hypoxia-ischemia (brain damage) and improve brain function in animal subjects.

Last but not least, CBD acts as a muscle relaxant that might be useful in easing hypertonia.

How to Choose CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy

Full-spectrum CBD oil is the recommended choice for individuals with cerebral palsy.

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains CBD alongside other major cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBG, CBN, and traces of THC. It also comes with terpenes, which are aromatic molecules modulating the effects of cannabinoids.

Together, these compounds create a synergy known as the entourage effect.

In a review from Frontiers in Plant Science , the authors found that the entourage effect increased the activity of cannabinoid receptors. They also explained how CBD, combined with other phytochemicals, displayed superior efficacy compared to isolated molecules.

Another study supported the entourage effect through a controlled trial on patients with chronic pain. The research team found that while increasing THC levels failed to reduce pain scores significantly, THC and CBD treatments showed better results.

If you are concerned about the trace amounts of THC in your CBD oil, you may opt for a broad-spectrum extract. It doesn’t contain any THC but still offers the other valuable compounds from hemp.

There are also CBD isolates, which are just that — pure CBD. They don’t have any odor and flavor; they also carry the highest dose of CBD per serving. That being said, CBD isolate is devoid of the entourage effect, which may negatively affect its efficacy in treating cerebral palsy.

Wrapping It Up: Can CBD Oil Help with Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disease. While it has no cure, some treatments can reduce its symptoms, contributing to the improved quality of life.

Studies suggest that CBD can significantly reduce the symptoms of cerebral palsy, such as muscle spasms, pain, sleep difficulties, abrupt movements, and anxiety.

In clinical trials, CBD use was associated with a decreased intake of muscle relaxants and anticonvulsants.

Moreover, research has demonstrated that CBD might be useful in treating many side conditions associated with cerebral palsy, such as arthritis, depression, and hypertension.

You can use CBD oil to control the physical symptoms, but health experts also recommend taking it for improved mental health due to its anxiolytic and sleep-promoting properties.

Just keep in mind that CBD is just one of the many tools to improve your quality of life. Participating in physical therapy, rehabilitation, and speech therapy is always a good idea to include in your regimen.

Reference Links:

  1. Zettl, U. K., Rommer, P., Hipp, P., & Patejdl, R. (2016). Evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of THC-CBD oromucosal spray in symptom management of patients with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. Therapeutic advances in neurological disorders , 9 (1), 9–30.
  2. Leweke, F. M., Piomelli, D., Pahlisch, F., Muhl, D., Gerth, C. W., Hoyer, C., Klosterkötter, J., Hellmich, M., & Koethe, D. (2012). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Translational psychiatry , 2 (3), e94.
  3. Sales, A. J., Crestani, C. C., Guimarães, F. S., & Joca, S. (2018). The antidepressant-like effect induced by Cannabidiol is dependent on brain serotonin levels. Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry , 86 , 255–261. [1]
  4. Pretzsch, C. M., Freyberg, J., Voinescu, B., Lythgoe, D., Horder, J., Mendez, M. A., Wichers, R., Ajram, L., Ivin, G., Heasman, M., Edden, R., Williams, S., Murphy, D., Daly, E., & McAlonan, G. M. (2019). Effects of cannabidiol on brain excitation and inhibition systems; a randomized placebo-controlled single-dose trial during magnetic resonance spectroscopy in adults with and without autism spectrum disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology , 44 (8), 1398–1405. [2]
  5. Muller, C., Morales, P., & Reggio, P. H. (2019). Cannabinoid Ligands Targeting TRP Channels. Frontiers in molecular neuroscience , 11 , 487. [3]
  6. Libzon, S., Schleider, L. B., Saban, N., Levit, L., Tamari, Y., Linder, I., Lerman-Sagie, T., & Blumkin, L. (2018). Medical Cannabis for Pediatric Moderate to Severe Complex Motor Disorders. Journal of child neurology , 33 (9), 565–571.
  7. Zettl, U. K., Rommer, P., Hipp, P., & Patejdl, R. (2016). Evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of THC-CBD oromucosal spray in symptom management of patients with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. Therapeutic advances in neurological disorders , 9 (1), 9–30.
  8. Rudroff, T., & Sosnoff, J. (2018). Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis. Frontiers in neurology , 9 , 183. [4]
  9. Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal , 23 , 18–041.
  10. Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Bellman, Z. D., Yates, A. S., England, T. J., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2019). A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations. British journal of clinical pharmacology , 85 (9), 1888–1900.
  11. Gallily, Ruth & Yekhtin, Zhannah & Hanus, Lumir. (2015). Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacology & Pharmacy. 06. 75-85. 10.4236/pp.2015.62010.
  12. Zuardi, A. W., Rodrigues, N. P., Silva, A. L., Bernardo, S. A., Hallak, J., Guimarães, F. S., & Crippa, J. (2017). Inverted U-Shaped Dose-Response Curve of the Anxiolytic Effect of Cannabidiol during Public Speaking in Real Life. Frontiers in pharmacology , 8 , 259.
  13. Khaire, A., Rathod, R., Randhir, K., Kale, A., & Joshi, S. (2016). Combined supplementation of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids across two generations improve cardiometabolic variables in rats. Food & function , 7 (9), 3910–3919.
Nina Julia

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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2014 Spinal Cord Injury Wellness Summit

The Use of Medical Marijuana to Manage Symptom Burden in Spinal Cord Injury

By Gregory T. Carter, MD, MS

Medical Director, St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute, Spokane, Washington, and faculty, University of Washington Medical School

The national conversation about cannabis (marijuana) is changing rapidly, and many people with SCI would like to know more about its use as a medical treatment for pain and other symptoms. In this forum presentation, Dr. Carter discusses the history of medical cannabis in the U.S., the physiological effects of cannabis, and the current scientific evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of cannabis as a treatment for neuropathic pain when used under a physician’s supervision. Watch the video or read the report, below.

Presentation time: 54 minutes. After watching, please complete our two-minute survey!

You can also watch this video on YouTube with or without closed-captioning. For a complete list of our SCI Forum videos, go to http://sci.washington.edu/info/forums/forum_videos.asp.

Report

Contents

Introduction

Marijuana (cannabis) is much in the news today. Medical marijuana, although still illegal under federal law, has been legal in several states for some time, and state laws about recreational marijuana are changing. As marijuana becomes more available, people interested in medical marijuana want information about what it is, what it’s good for, and how to use it.

What is Marijuana (Cannabis)?

Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems and seeds from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, which contains numerous active chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that acts on the brain and changes mood or consciousness. Other chemical compounds in cannabis that have biologic activity include cannabinol (CBN), cannabidiol (CBD), and cannabichromene. CBD, in particular, is thought to have significant analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory activity without the psychoactive effect (high) of THC.

History and Background

Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It was first brought into western medicine in the 1840s by an English surgeon who learned about it in his travels through the Middle East.

For several decades cannabis was regularly prescribed by physicians in the U.S. and dispensed at pharmacies as a tincture or tonic for “nerve pain.” Beginning in 1937 the federal government started taxing and restricting its use, in spite of objections by the American Medical Association. In 1951 cannabis was classified as a narcotic, and finally in 1970 it was classified as a schedule 1 drug (like heroin and LSD), meaning it is considered dangerous and without accepted medicinal use. It has remained in this classification despite favorable findings from various government-appointed commissions on cannabis over the years: Nixon-appointed Shafer Commission in 1972; U.S. Institute of Medicine in 1982; and the U.S. National Institutes of Health Workshop on Medical Marijuana in 1997. Furthermore, the National Academy of Sciences and the American College of Physicians have all issued cautiously positive statements about cannabis.

“I’m here to say on the record that the classification as a schedule 1 drug doesn’t make any sense scientifically,” Carter said.

How Does it Work?

“We now understand a great deal about how cannabis works in the body,” Carter said. The cannabinoids activate specific receptors found throughout the body to produce pharmacologic effects, particularly in the central nervous system and the immune system. Pain is reduced when cannabis receptors are activated in the nervous system pathways that regulate pain perception.

When it is smoked, cannabis compounds pass rapidly from the lungs to the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs. Vaporized cannabis produces the same effects without the smoke. It is absorbed more slowly when ingested in food or drink. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors is found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.

“I first stumbled onto medical cannabis 20 years ago when an ALS patient told me she was using it for pain and spasticity,” Carter recalled. “When medical marijuana became legal in Washington State, I began prescribing it.”

Medical vs Recreational Cannabis

Recreational strains are much different than the medical strains,” Carter said. Recreational marijuana has high levels of the THC compound because of its mind-altering effects, and that’s what recreational users are looking for. Medical cannabis is low in THC and higher in other compounds that help with pain and spasticity, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN).

“Many people taking medical cannabis do not want to get high, and some find the intoxication unpleasant,” Carter said. “My ALS patients take cannabis to ease their suffering so they can spend quality time with their families. They don’t want to be intoxicated; they want to be present.”

Research

Because cannabis is a schedule 1 drug, it has been difficult to get funding to conduct research on its medical use. In spite of this hurdle, “we now know on the basis of science and clinical trials that cannabis and cannabinoids work very well for neuropathic pain and spasticity,” Carter said.

Several studies involving people with a variety of diagnoses have had promising results.1-3 A 2011 systematic review of 18 randomized clinical trials of cannabinoids for non-cancer pain found significant analgesic effects with no serious adverse effects.4

“The overall weight of evidence so far is markedly in favor of cannabinoids being safe and effective to treat pain,” Carter concluded.

Benefits of Medical Cannabis

  • Relieves pain.
  • Relieves muscle spasms (cannabinoids also can enhance the effects of other anti-spasticity medications like baclofen).
  • Safe and well-tolerated.
  • Doesn’t cause constipation. “In fact, cannabinoids have a weakly stimulatory effect on the gut,” Carter noted.
  • Doesn’t suppress your breathing (like opioids).
  • You can’t overdose (like you can with opioids).
  • There is no physical addiction in cannabis. “There is a psychological addiction if it’s being used solely for the intoxicating effect,” Carter explained, “but there is no harsh physical withdrawal like there is with opioids or even nicotine because cannabis leaves the body so slowly.”

Using Medical Marijuana

  • Talk to your physician. Even if you live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, medical cannabis is formulated to have more of the treatment effects and much less of the intoxicating effects.
  • Your physician will sign an authorization explaining why you would benefit from medical cannabis. In states where medical marijuana is legal, this authorization can be taken to a medical marijuana dispensary.
  • Dosing is important. Start low and go slow, meaning start with a small amount and slowly increase the amount until you get the desired benefit.
  • Use a vaporizer. The plant material is heated up and you inhale the hot mist. The effect is rapid, and you will know right away after inhaling what the effect is, just like smoking it but without the negative health effects of smoke.
  • Start with two to three inhalations. Stop. Wait 10 minutes and see how you feel. You do not need to be high to get pain relief.
  • Tinctures are available, but ingesting is not recommended because it takes longer to get an effect, and it is easy to ingest too much and become unpleasantly intoxicated.
  • It can be used topically as a liniment.
  • Everyone is different. Some people will benefit from cannabis, others may not.

A Word of Caution

Carter points out that “cannabis is not for everybody. It has side effects.” Cannabis can cause disinhibition, relaxation, drowsiness, feeling of well-being, exhilaration and euphoria. It can also cause disorganized thoughts, confusion, agitation and paranoia. Since it can impair your balance and stability, individuals who are able to walk need to be careful to avoid falling. Finally, it impairs memory, judgment and motor skills, so don’t drive!