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cbd oil and cerebral palsy

Can Marijuana Help Kids with Cerebral Palsy?

Treating Cerebral Palsy with Marijuana

  • By MyCPChildBlog / Treatment0 CommentsTreatment

Medical marijuana has recently become a hot-button issue in America. Many people tout the medical benefits of marijuana and CBD oil with regard to cerebral palsy and/or seizures, but is it right for my child?

While there are medications, surgeries, and therapies aimed at helping individuals with cerebral palsy gain more control over their muscles, they may still face challenges with regard to seizures, mood, and more.

Some recent studies are now extolling the benefits of treating cerebral palsy with marijuana or cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a non-psychoactive constituent of marijuana.

Medical Marijuana

Marijuana was once seen as a recreational drug thought to have no medical benefits, but several recent studies on the plant have challenged this perception.

While there is still much controversy regarding whether or not the potential medical benefits outweigh any potential health risks, many families are desperate for any relief — especially when it comes to a child suffering from frequent seizures.

Although many states have recently legalized medical marijuana, it is still illegal to possess the plant (or any derivative) in several states. Even in states which do allow medicinal use, it’s only allowed with a doctor’s recommendation, and is still technically illegal to posses under federal law.

Marijuana is thought to have two main active compounds with medicinal properties: THC and CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound most-commonly associated with “getting high,” while cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound generally associated with downregulation and anti-anxiety.

Because THC can impair cognitive function, it is generally not recommended for use on children except in rare circumstances. On the other hand, children with cerebral palsy may benefit from CBD oil in a number of ways.

While many families have an understandable fear of potential legal consequences, in many cases, their number one concern is the health and well-being of their child. If you have questions or are considering this treatment option, speak to your child’s doctor.

CBD and Cerebral Palsy Symptoms

CBD Used to Combat Seizures

Between 35-50 percent of children with cerebral palsy develop seizure disorders. Recent studies have shown that CBD oil can dramatically reduce the number of seizures in some patients due to its anti-epileptic properties, and there have been several anecdotal reports from families who have had success with this form of treatment.

Treating Spasticity with CBD

CBD is a phytochemical that is found in higher quantities in some cannabis strains. That being said, it can be isolated and expressed in oil, which can be found in almost all marijuana dispensaries across the country. CBD is known as a muscle relaxant, mood enhancer, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) booster, and is thought to increases levels of chemicals that inhibit the over-expression of nerve impulses in the brain and body. CBD may therefore be useful for individuals with spastic cerebral palsy who may have a problem with stiff muscles and spastic movements.

CBD for Chronic Pain Relief

CBD oil can also be helpful in individuals with cerebral palsy who may be suffering from chronic muscle and joint pain due to not being able to fully extend their limbs. CBD oil has been shown to have pain-relieving properties by boosting levels of serotonin, which is a chemical responsible for the perception of pain and tempering down of inflammation.

CBD oil may also address issues such as insomnia or sleep disturbances (due to promoting the release of melatonin), mood or depression, difficulty with speech, and even constipation.

As with any type of medical treatment, you should always speak to your child’s doctor about the potential risks and benefits. Marijuana may show promise, but it is not always recommended unless other treatment options are ineffective or insufficient — especially when it comes to young children.

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Medical marijuana has recently become a hot-button issue in America. Many people tout the medical benefits of marijuana and CBD oil with regard to cerebral palsy and/or seizures, but is it right for my child?

Cerebral Palsy and CBD

Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Cannabidiol (CBD) can make the symptoms of cerebral palsy easier to manage for patients who have it. Discover how CBD interacts with the body to help people with cerebral palsy feel more comfortable.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy impacts the motor control centers in your brain. It causes abnormal muscle and motor development and function. Every patient with cerebral palsy has a unique case of the condition, but they can experience symptoms such as:

  • Involuntary movements or tremors
  • Lack of muscle coordination
  • Stiff muscles
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Difficulty with fine motor function
  • Delays in speech and motor development

Some cases of cerebral palsy affect the entire body, while others impact one side of it. Cerebral palsy causes many complications associated with stress or atypical brain development. A patient can develop mental health disorders, seizures, urinary incontinence and other symptoms.

A person can develop cerebral palsy as a result of brain damage that happens early in life. It can form during pregnancy, childbirth or infancy. However, you can reduce some of its symptoms using CBD. This relief helps patients with the condition function in daily life.

The Link Between Cerebral Palsy and the Endocannabinoid System

Everyone has an endocannabinoid system that creates and uses cannabinoids. When a compound activates the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, they regulate bodily functions. The CB1 receptor appears in our brains and nervous systems and impacts their well-being. Phytocannabinoids, which come from the cannabis plant, and endocannabinoids, which our bodies create, can both activate the CB1 receptor.

Research suggests that people who have certain forms of brain damage have dysregulated endocannabinoid systems. Experts discovered that animal subjects with multiple sclerosis had different anandamide levels than those without. Their bodies seemed to produce more of this cannabinoid to protect damaged brain tissue from further harm.

People with cerebral palsy may also have elevated anandamide levels in their brain tissue. We don’t have any research on the subject so far, but the multiple sclerosis study shows the connection between brain cells and anandamide. Unlike multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy does not progress over time, so patients with the condition don’t need the neuroprotective properties. However, we can boost their already high anandamide levels to use the compound’s other benefits.

How Does CBD Help Patients With Cerebral Palsy?

CBD enhances the endocannabinoid system by increasing its ability to retain anandamide. When you take CBD, it blocks FAAH, a fatty acid that breaks down anandamide. As a result, you have more of the compound in your body to manage symptoms such as pain. Anandamide has a similar structure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but it does not cause the “high” associated with THC. Our bodies use it to regulate mood, pain sensation and other functions.

Taking CBD also activates receptors for serotonin, vanilloid and adenosine. These compounds control your mood, pain signals and sleep-wake cycle. They improve cerebral palsy symptoms like pain, sleep issues, anxiety and depression.

Finding the Right CBD Option

Medical CBD products come in a variety of formulations. Some have CBD only, while others include THC, as well. You can find CBD-only medications at natural health stores and online, but check their quality before buying. Medicine from a dispensary typically has higher potency and effectiveness. Consider your state’s laws and your needs before deciding on a formula.

Many types of CBD products can relieve your cerebral palsy symptoms. Inhaled medicine like vaporizers, inhalers and smoked cannabis gives you fast, full-body relief. Medication you ingest, such as pills and edibles, take effect after a longer time. If you have muscle soreness or tightness, you can apply CBD oil or a topical to the area for localized benefits.

The best product choice depends on the symptoms you want to treat. If you experience symptoms in sudden episodes, you may prefer inhaled medication that gives you fast relief. Meanwhile, other kinds of medicine will provide you with extended benefits for all-day function.

We recommend getting advice from a marijuana-trained doctor to get the most out of your CBD treatment. These medical professionals understand how cannabinoids relieve symptoms in many conditions. You can find one in your area using our physician directory. Enter your zip code and distance to see what options you have.

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Learn More About Cerebral Palsy

Learn more about Cerebral Palsy and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Cerebral Palsy’s symptoms.

If you are suffering from Cerebral Palsy, learn more about your marijuana-related treatment options. Find out how CBD can be used to treat the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy.