Updated: May 9, 2022
The brain is a very complex organ composed of billions of cells that determine how your body works during the day, the essential cells of the brain and basic components of the nervous system are known as neurons, and they are responsible for helping the brain interact and perform basic tasks; this includes functions such as pain management, but also the natural ability to move or breathe.
When due to some factor there is a progressive loss of neurons in different regions of the nervous system, neurological and psychological signs and symptoms characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases begin to originate; these include loss of movement control, amnesia, disorientation and other cognitive mental problems, as well as other associated secondary symptoms such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, pain, eating disorders; among others. Some of the most common neurodegenerative diseases are Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and other motor neuron diseases. There is currently no cure for these diseases, however; there are treatments to alleviate some of the symptoms, as well as to slow down their progression, allowing the affected person to function longer.
Among the treatments that are given to people who suffer from these types of conditions, treatments with cannabis or its derivatives are found. The Cannabis sativa plant has been used therapeutically for centuries, but despite this, only recently great advances have been seen on the subject thanks to the research and evidence that has been provided in recent decades.
Cannabis has molecules known as cannabinoids, of which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most studied. Currently, an increasing number of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases find hope in plant derivatives since cannabinoids increase the amount of certain neurotransmitters in the body and help in the relief of many of the symptoms. The endocannabinoid system presents very interesting possibilities in this regard and is one of the most promising lines of research, endogenous cannabinoids (and some from the plant, such as CBD) act on most of the processes involved in the destruction and regeneration of neurons.
One of the investigations where the effectiveness of this molecules has been evidenced in patients with these disorders was carried out by a group of doctors where they administered cannabis to the patients, and as a result they experienced much less pain, less anxiety, less spasms and even decreased spasticity; demonstrating a great potential of the use of cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders, help fight cognitive diseases, improve motor skills and reduce stress. Various studies continue to be developed around the derivatives of this plant, including a drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis which is currently in phase II of clinical trials.
One of the many advantages of these treatments is that cannabis can be easily administered through drops or tablets, as well as it can be incorporated into daily meals and even CBD-infused drinks, which gives it versatility for the treatment of this type of patients and thus improve their quality of life.
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