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Could Cannabidiol (CBD) slow brain cell death?

Neurodegeneration (brain cell death) is a scary thing to face. It is the culprit in many different diseases and conditions like strokes, Alzehimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease. Those who struggle with neurodegeneration can often find basic, everyday tasks difficult.

While neurodegenerative disease is very serious, recent research suggests that there could be hope for slowing down these conditions from an unexpected place. Researchers lately have been looking at how cannabidiol effects and potentially inhibits brain cell death.

Let’s define CBD

Cannabis plants (hemp and marijuana, for example) have chemical compounds in them known as cannabinoids. There are over 113 different of these compounds, including CBD. Cannabinoids have a number of different effects. 

For example, there is one cannabinoid that is very famous for its psychoactive effect on people. This cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the cannabinoid that creates the high that most people associate with Cannabis.

CBD has very different effects in the body than THC. The main difference is that CBD is not psychoactive. It does not create a high or intoxicate users in any way. The effect that it has on someone’s mental state is that it may help the user reach a calmer state of mind.

The effects of CBD and THC are exerted through the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is a series of receptors and enzymes throughout the mammalian body that control a number of physiological systems as diverse as appetite and memory. Cannabinoids also have an effect of the production of compounds like serotonin and dopamine. Some of the receptors also have an effect on motor control. 

While marijuana and hemp both contain CBD, CBD is usually extracted from hemp. There are a couple of reasons for this. One of them is that hemp, by legal definition, has a low concentration of THC. It also has a high concentration of CBD making extraction much easier. The other reason (arguably the more important one) is that industrial hemp is legal in the United States. 

CBD products are generally made of one of three different forms CBD that are defined by how many other compounds are in the extract with the CBD. These versions are CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum. CBD isolate is just CBD. It is the purest form of the extract, with no other compounds or cannabinoids in it. Broad-spectrum has other compounds and cannabinoids in it. In fact, it has most of the compounds that come out of the hemp with the CBD, the one exception is that it has no THC. Full-spectrum is similar to broad-spectrum, but the main difference is that full-spectrum does have THC in it. Remember that CBD products cannot have more than 0.3% THC, which is not enough to get someone high or compromise their judgement.

Now that we understand what exactly CBD is, let’s talk about what brain cell death is and what it can do.

What exactly is neurodegeneration?

When talking about brain cell death, there is one specific word that comes up a lot. It is neurodegeneration, which is one of those medical terms that sounds more complicated than it is. 

Neurodegeneration is the break-down of cells within the nervous system. It mainly involves the death of neurons within the brain. As you can imagine, neurodegeneration causes all kinds of problems for people who have to deal with it. 

There are many different conditions that can be caused by or cause brain cell death. One example is Parkinson’s Disease. This is when the brain cells start to die and cause the nervous system starts to lose the ability to control normal body processes. This is what causes the tremors that are so often associated with the condition.

Alzheimer’s Disease is another neurodegenerative condition. It is when the brain cells and their connections start to break down causing memory loss and the development of dementia. It can be an incredibly difficult thing to deal with for those who have it and their friends and family.

Another condition caused by neurodegeneration is Huntington’s Disease. Huntington’s disease, like other neurodegenerative diseases has movement disorders as well as many other severe symptoms such as cognitive and psychiatric disorders.  Huntington’s Disease patients often have a high degree of anxiety, depression and insomnia. 

Clearly all of these conditions and disease are difficult to live with and no cure or successful treatment has been identified. But what do they have to do with CBD? What exactly does CBD have to offer?

Cannabidiol and brain cell death

There are many studies looking at a number of different benefits that CBD may be able to provide people. In recent years, much of the research has been looking at the neuroprotective properties that CBD may have.

One study, published in 2012 by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology took a look at this. In this study, the researchers found that CBD interacted positively with CB2, a receptor that is associated with “specific pathological conditions (i.e. damage of immature brain).” This could mean a number of things.

Two different studies, one published in 2012 and the other in 2014, studied how CBD may be able to prevent declining memory in preclinical models. The researchers in both studies tested this by injecting some of the rats with CBD and gave them object recognition tasks. Both groups of researchers found that the rats that were injected with the CBD did better with the recognition tasks they were given.

Another study, published by Pharmacological Research in 2016 wanted to identify what exactly it is in CBD that gives it its neuroprotective properties. The researchers were not able to identify what is exactly. However, they were able to identify that it does have to do with the way that CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System, specifically CB1 and CB2.

One of the most recent studies was published in early 2020 by Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. The researchers wanted to see how CBD interacted with brain cells that had been exposed to hydrogen peroxide which causes cell death. They found that at specific levels CBD could be neuroprotective against the oxidative effects of hydrogen peroxide.

Much of this research is still very preliminary. There is still research that needs to be done to fully understand what exactly the effects CBD may have on the brain. However, this research is still very exciting and promising.

If you are thinking of taking CBD because of its potential neuroprotective properties, you may be wondering what is the best way to take it. Well, let’s cover that and what to look for in a CBD company. If you’re wondering who else can benefit from a CBD regimen, learn about the benefits of CBD for athletes here.

Ways to use CBD

CBD comes in many different forms. If you are thinking of using CBD, you have many options to choose from as CBD products are available as topicals or in oral forms. Within each of those categories there are many different options as well.

Topicals include things like lotions and creams. They are a good option for more localized use, as the CBD is not likely to leave the area where it is applied. Topicals may be helpful for dealing with skin conditions or with inflammation. However, for things like protection against neurodegeneration, topical CBD may not be the best choice as CBD needs to enter the brain to be effective. To have the best chance of CBD providing neuroprotective actions, oral products will be needed.  

Oral CBD products also come in a wide array of forms. Edibles are one very popular option. These can be things like gummies or even pasta. They can also be drinks. There are many CBD companies that have made CBD sparkling waters and cookies. Edibles are easy to take and are delicious. They can sometimes take longer to start working. This is because the CBD needs to enter the body through the digestion system. For some, that is enough of a reason to not take them. However, for many the convenience of the edibles is the biggest appeal.

You can also take CBD orally as capsules or tablets. Many like using CBD in this form as it is easy to include into their daily routine. They just take their CBD when they take their daily vitamins or medications. Like edibles these can take a little while to start working. There are things like gel capsules that may work more quickly.

There are also the more traditional options like CBD oils and tinctures. The appeal of these is that you can use them in a way that they start working faster. You do this by placing a couple of drops directly under the tongue. This way it absorbs directly into the blood stream, starting to work quickly. You can also take oils and tinctures by mixing them in with other food or drink that you normally take. For example, you can easily add a couple of drops into your daily cup of coffee. 

In all reality, there is no one product that may work better than the other. It depends on your preference. A product that is very convenient for some people may not be as easy for others to use. You may need to try a few different kinds before you find the one that is right for you.

There are many CBD manufacturers out there right now. Many of them produce some great quality products. However, there also some that make products that are not so great. This means that if you are interested in taking CBD, you need to try and find some products that are worth it. The best way to do that is through research. A quality CBD manufacturer will be open about the extraction process they use. They also should have their products tested by a third party to ensure the quality of the extraction.

We have covered how to take CBD and how to find good CBD products. Now let’s talk about what to keep an eye out for if you start taking CBD.

Potential side effects

It is completely understandable to wonder if there are any serious side effects that come with using CBD. However, it does not need to be too much of a concern. The side effects normally include minor symptoms like mild nausea and fatigue. They are not anything deadly, but they can still be unpleasant. 

The best way to avoid the side effects is to keep from taking too much, as the side effects are associated with taking large quantities of the cannabinoid. To help keep from taking too much CBD, start by taking low doses. If you do not feel any negative effects but still are not getting the results you are looking for, you can try taking more. The key is moderation. It will take time and experimentation for you to find the right amount of CBD for you. If you do experience unwanted effects, stop taking the CBD and wait for the side effects to pass.

There are medications that may not work as well when mixed with CBD. If you would like to start taking CBD, please consult with a medical professional before starting.

Neurodegeneration is a very serious condition to deal with. While the studies on CBD’s effect on brain cell death are still preliminary, they are still very promising. CBD could very well be a beacon of hope for people who struggle with neurodegenerative diseases.

There is so much to know about CBD. This article is just the tip of the iceberg. It can be very intimidating. If you want to know more about CBD, but do not know where to start, you can start here. On Panacea Life Sciences’ website, you can access a plethora of articles on CBD. You can also find Panacea Life Sciences’ many quality CBD products. If you have any comments, questions or concerns please let us know. You can contact a member of the Panacea Life Sciences’ team on the website or by emailing [email protected].

 

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/huntingtons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20356117

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19228180/

https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04341.x

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21870037/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23893294/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661816000396?via%3Dihub

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2019.0102