Cerebral Palsy is a condition that is brought on by damage to an infant’s brain, resulting in serious complications for the duration of the patient’s life. If you or a loved one suffers from Cerebral Palsy, the chances are high that your life will be significantly more challenging than the average person’s. It affects both coordination and movement, which is, of course, vital to almost everything people do. There isn’t currently a known cure for Cerebral Palsy, so treatments instead explore ways in which patients lives can be improved.
Cerebral Palsy is accompanied by various different symptoms, and recently, much research has suggested that CBD could be of benefit by helping to control some of the main ones. Although not much research has been done on the effects that medical marijuana has on Cerebral Palsy, the anecdotal evidence is mindblowing. Many patients have found relief from this all-natural substance. There are many cases in which CBD has been proven to be more helpful than your typical pharmaceutical options.
If you or someone that you know and care about is afflicted with Cerebral Palsy and you are wondering how CBD might be able to help, then this article is for you. We will be taking a look at what Cerebral Palsy is, how CBD could help, what medical studies have found, and how you should go about using CBD in the treatment of Cerebral Palsy.
Overview of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy is a condition that either develops in the womb, at birth, or possibly in early childhood. It’s either caused by a malformation of the brain or injury of the brain. People who are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy display a range of symptoms, and each individual will vary in types and severity of these. Some of the most usual symptoms include; speech disorder, spasticity (stiff muscles with exaggerated reflexes), severe seizures, muscle spasms or involuntary movements, rigidity (stiff muscles but normal reflexes), difficulty with motor functions and walking, chronic pain, and trouble sleeping.
Cerebral Palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood. It’s a neurological disorder that affects a child’s motor skills, muscle tone, and movement. Cerebral Palsy is an “umbrella term”, which means that it refers to a group of symptoms and disorders that can affect an individual’s movements. While one child with the disorder may develop particular symptoms and associated complications, another may have completely different symptoms.
In the United States, there are over 500,000 people who are afflicted with Cerebral Palsy. Currently, there is no cure for the disorder, but there are multiple treatment options on offer that can help babies and children to live quality lives and lead them to become successful adults.
There are various different types of Cerebral Palsy. While some children may only experience spasms, others are unable to walk. Some may suffer from seizures, and others could have cognitive disabilities. It can affect any muscle group in the body, so other possible complications could include eye problems, bowel or bladder problems, difficulties with balance, spinal deformities, reduced range of motion in joints, difficulty swallowing, and lung disease. Cerebral Palsy doesn’t get worse with time.
How and Why CBD Could Help in the Treatment of Cerebral Palsy
CBD has been proven to work on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is involved in various different physiological functions such as pain sensations, inflammation, and immune system regulation.
Since CBD works on a system in our bodies that is involved with multiple different processes, existing research has looked into how CBD could be used to treat problems that are related to these different physiological processes. A number of the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy have been linked to the ECS, which means that CBD has the potential to work as an effective treatment in helping to alleviate them.
Here’s an overview of the main symptoms that CBD could potentially help with:
- Pain: Cerebral Palsy often leads to acute or chronic pain in the joints or muscles. Cannabis, and more specifically CBD, have been used as a pain relief therapy for thousands of years. It’s well-known for its analgesic properties and could help to relieve the pain associated with Cerebral Palsy.
- Seizures: Between 35 and 50% of children who suffer from Cerebral Palsy also develop seizure disorders. There’s a lot of evidence which suggests that CBD could be an effective treatment for epilepsy. It’s often used to keep seizures at bay, and it’s speculated that those who have Cerebral Palsy could use it for this same reason.
- Muscle spasms: Research has shown that CBD could be helpful in reducing muscle spasms. In fact, one of the most commonly prescribed medications for multiple sclerosis is Sativex, which is a synthetic form of cannabis. A common symptom of Cerebral Palsy is involuntary muscle spasms; thus CBD could be of benefit.
- Difficulty sleeping: If Cerebral Palsy is causing you to have sleepless nights, CBD could be an effective remedy.
Medical Findings: Effects of Cannabinoids and CBD on Cerebral Palsy
Research on CBD and Cerebral Palsy is still very much limited. However, findings from previous studies have suggested that it offers a host of benefits, including pain relief, seizure reduction, the reduction of spastic movements, and more.
The most serious form of Cerebral Palsy is spastic quadriplegia, which affects all of the limbs, the body’s trunk, and the face. Most children with spastic quadriplegia are not able to walk, and their speech is typically deeply affected. While more data is needed, the few studies that have been conducted on medical marijuana and the symptoms of spastic quadriplegia, have shown that it offers various therapeutic benefits. For example, a study that was published in 2007 by the NIH, stated that animal studies and clinical trials found that the active components of marijuana, including CBD, help to control partial seizures, which is common in people who suffer from spastic quadriplegia.
Another study that was published in 2014 found marijuana to be effective for reducing painful muscle spasms. Although the focus of this study was people who experience muscle spasms as a result of Multiple Sclerosis, spasms are a common symptom of Cerebral Palsy.
A study carried out by the Wolfson Medical center in 2015 looked into the effectiveness of various cannabis oils in improving the condition of those children who have Cerebral Palsy. The findings of the study were overwhelmingly positive, with these oils seeming to reduce the symptoms and improve the sleep quality, overall mood, bowel movements, and motor skills of children.
A case study that was published in 2007 in Reviews in Neurological Diseases explored the effectiveness of cannabis as an antiepileptic. They looked at the case of a 45-year old man who suffered from Epilepsy and Cerebral Palsy. They reported that he had a great improvement in symptoms after using cannabis. Ultimately, they came to the conclusion that this supported the anecdotal data that suggests that cannabis could be a beneficial treatment for those patients who suffer from seizures.
Medical Benefits of Using CBD to Treat Cerebral Palsy
It certainly seems as though CBD could be helpful when it comes to treating the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy. But, it’s also important to note that while CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, it won’t give you the psychoactive “high” that most recreational users seek. This feeling of being “stoned” comes from the other main ingredient of cannabis, THC. CBD-based treatment products usually contain between 0 – 0.3% of THC.
Given that patients often need to explore other treatment options when standard therapies fail, as well as the fact that CBD has a significantly low side-effect profile, it could be an incredibly beneficial add-on treatment option.
How to Take CBD for Cerebral Palsy
Due to many factors, including plant complexity, human variability, and the need for more research, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to dosing CBD for Cerebral Palsy, or any condition for that matter.
The best research that we have when it comes to this is from GW Pharmaceuticals’ Sativex medication which has been successfully used to treat muscle spasms that are related to MS. Sativex is a 1:1 THC:CBD whole plant alcohol tincture that contains 25 mg of CBD and THC. While you likely wouldn’t need to use that high of a dosage, you could.
Like all therapeutic medicines, there is a trial and error aspect involved in dosing. The therapeutic effects when you use an oral-based CBD product typically last between 3 to 7 hours, so you could start with this dose about four times per day. If this isn’t successful, you can increase the dose by 2.5 mg per day, until you experience the desired relief.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy is an exceptionally difficult condition that will have a long-lasting effect on the entirety of the sufferer’s life. Simple everyday tasks like walking and going to the toilet can be a real struggle, and in some cases, people with the disorder will require 24-hour care for the entirety of their life.
There currently isn’t a known cure for the condition, but CBD is quickly becoming an appealing treatment option for many patients. Medical research suggests that CBD could be helpful in alleviating some of the most serious symptoms of Cerebral Palsy. While CBD is by no means a guaranteed cure or treatment, it appears to have positive effects on the condition, based on the limited research that has been done.