Two new studies highlight the potential benefits of cannabis for neurological conditions
Two recent studies have revealed more evidence of the potentials of cannabis for neurological conditions. The research focused on Tourette Syndrome and epilepsy, a chronic seizure disorder. Both have suggested CBD could make a remarkable difference for patients suffering from these conditions and may lead to further drug development.
NYU study shows how CBD works in epileptic brains
Much attention has been paid to CBD as a treatment for epilepsy, with several studies and anecdotal evidence showing its promise. The only FDA-approved drug containing CBD, called Epidiolex, is specifically for drug-resistant seizure disorders.
New research from the Neuroscience Institute at New York University highlights how CBD may help regulate epilepsy. The rodent study, published in the journal Neuron, revealed that cannabidiol(CBD) blocks nerve signals in the brain that lead to seizure activity.
Scientists focused on the interaction between fatty molecules called LPI (lysophosphatidylinositol) and nerve-cell receptors called GPCRs (G-protein-coupled receptors), specifically a particular classification known as GPR55. When LPIs bind to GPR55 receptors, it can lead to overexcitement in neural transmission and weakened inhibition.
The research team found that CBD blocked a “positive feedback loop” in rodents, where “seizures increase the LPI-GPR55 signaling interaction—which likely encourages more seizures; and these seizures, in turn, increase levels of both LPI and GPR55 in nerve cells, creating a vicious cycle,” as explained by one of the study’s authors, Dr. Simon Chamberland.
Israeli survey suggests cannabis improves the quality of life for Tourette Syndrome patients
In other developments, a recent study from Tel Aviv is spelling good news for people with Tourette Syndrome.
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological condition that causes inadvertent motor and verbal tics and often comes with a slew of comorbidities, including anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. There have been a small number of studies examining cannabis as a possible treatment for TS, with intriguing results.
The most recent survey, published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, focused on TS patients using a blend of THC and CBD daily. Scientists surveyed patients at the start of the study and six months after, examining both frequencies of tics as well as “general mood, employment status, quality of life, and comorbidities.”
According to the analysis, 67% of patients and 89% of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety comorbidities, respectively, reported an improvement in quality of life, employment status, and the reduction of the number of medications they needed to manage their symptoms. However, there were no statistically significant improvements in tics.
The study was still viewed as positive, indicating that cannabis may help people with TS cope with their conditions. However, while other research has seen cannabis reduce motor and vocal tics, more in-depth studies are needed to reveal a definitive answer.
Those suffering from neurological conditions worldwide are hoping the findings presented above inspire further research.
Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of GreenState.com. She has been covering the cannabis space since 2015, and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, and many other niche publications. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter