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Pain, Inflammation And The Endocannabinoid System


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The Endocannabinoid in MS and Neurologic Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis- With MS, an inflammatory mediated disease of the central and peripheral nervous system, and spinal cord disease the main symptoms are spasticity and neuropathic pain.  Cannabis has been used since antiquity for the relief of pain and spasm, and now the mechanism is being elucidated and appears to be related to the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties of CB1and2 agonists.  While several studies using standardized reporting of spasticity did not show significant differences between placebo and active groups, patient reports showed significant improvement in self perception of spasticity, pain, quality of sleep and overall sense of well being.  Hospital admissions for complications of MS were reduced in the treatment group as well.  In a 12 month follow up the cannabis group demonstrated significant improvement in tremor.
  • Movement Disorders- In movement disorders related to basal ganglia dysfunction, such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and  Tourette’s CB1 receptors are increased in the basal ganglia, perhaps in an effort to return function in Parkinson’s in the absence of dopamine.  Treatment with CB1 agonists can decrease the tremor of Parkinsons.  Additionally CB1 can improve bradykenisis (shuffling walk) in PD.  Huntington’s Disease is a devastating syndrome characterized by movement disorders, dementia, and dystonia.  Early in the disease, there is a decrease in CB1 receptors and ‘tone’ of the endocannabinoid system much as there is a loss of dopamine and dopaminergic ‘tone’ in Parkinson’s Disease.  It is suggested that replacement therapy with CB1 agonists such as thc can be helpful symptomatically.  With Tourette’s, cannabis has been found to reduce the tics and vocalizations that characterize the syndrome.
  • ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease- A common adult onset neurologic disorder producing motor neuron degeneration, weakness, paralysis and death.  The neuroprotective and other effects of cannabis have been helpful with appetite, spasticity and insomnia.  In some animal models of the disease, life span was improved.  Further study is needed in humans.
Muscle Spasms and Cannabis
  • Movement Disorders- In movement disorders related to basal ganglia dysfunction, such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and  Tourette’s CB1 receptors are increased in the basal ganglia, perhaps in an effort to return function in Parkinson’s in the absence of dopamine.  Treatment with CB1 agonists can decrease the tremor of Parkinsons.  Additionally CB1 can improve bradykenisis (shuffling walk) in PD.  Huntington’s Disease is a devastating syndrome characterized by movement disorders, dementia, and dystonia.  Early in the disease, there is a decrease in CB1 receptors and ‘tone’ of the endocannabinoid system much as there is a loss of dopamine and dopaminergic ‘tone’ in Parkinson’s Disease.  It is suggested that replacement therapy with CB1 agonists such as thc can be helpful symptomatically.  With Tourette’s, cannabis has been found to reduce the tics and vocalizations that characterize the syndrome.
  • ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease- A common adult onset neurologic disorder producing motor neuron degeneration, weakness, paralysis and death.  The neuroprotective and other effects of cannabis have been helpful with appetite, spasticity and insomnia.  In some animal models of the disease, life span was improved.  Further study is needed in humans.


By Robert Townsend|January 17th, 2014||0 Comments



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