Motor Neurone Disease or MND is a little-known disease that can cause a significant and gradual loss of quality of life for those living with the disease. While many treatments such as physiotherapy and pharmaceutical options exist, as research progresses into why and how the disease works, newer options for treatments are being found with little to no side effects to help alleviate symptoms. 


This guide explores the relationship between MND and Cannabidiol or CBD as a complementary addition to treating MND symptoms and possibly providing some measure of relief. We explore the types of MND, signs of MND, and how CBD oil and other forms can be incorporated into overall treatment plans easily and safely. 


What is Motor Neurone Disease (MND)?


Motor Neurone Disease is one of the hardest to diagnose neurological diseases. Motor Neurone Disease is a progressive disorder that attacks the nerves responsible for voluntary muscle movement. The disease causes weakness and wasting of muscles, which makes it hard to move and eventually breathe.

MND is a terminal illness with no cure or effective treatment. It affects people of all ages, races, and genders. At any time, there are more than 5000 people living in the UK with MND, and as many as 1200 per year are diagnosed.


MND symptoms can occur in a variety of types. Beyond the difficulty of diagnosing MND, the reality is that each individual has a different relationship with the disease, and it progresses uniquely on a case-by-case basis, which makes recognising the signs of MND even more complex. For some, the onset and progression can be rapid, whilst others can live for decades with the disease.


MND Types


  1. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, is the best known, and its symptoms predominately include the weakening of muscles and limited mobility and accounts for almost 67% of cases.
  2. Progressive bulbar palsy makes up a fourth of all cases and is characterized by initially only affecting the nerves that are responsible for eating and speaking.
  3. Progressive Muscular atrophy accounts for only 1/10th of cases but begins with the weakening of the muscles in the extremities, meaning muscles in the arms and legs initially begin to waste away first.
  4. Primary Lateral Sclerosis is the rarest form and starts with stiff muscles, and patients living with the disease last for as long as 15 years.

The exact cause of MND is still being studied, with some indications that genetic factors play a role, but it predominantly affects those 50+. While there is no cure, treatments have come a long way, with a variety of options available for MND patients to increase the quality of their life and/or slow the progression of the disease.


There are medications that can prolong life and slow the progression of the diseases, such as riluzole. The problem lies that many of the pharmaceutical treatment options come with other drawbacks such as harsh side effects or are expensive. An alternative that has been being explored in recent decades is the use of medical Cannabis and its compounds to help treat the disease.


In a study conducted by Dr Maria de Ceballos at Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, researchers tested how cannabinoids helped mice with MND and found that mice treated with cannabinoids had a slower disease progression and increased survival time. The treatment also helped to decrease the amount of pain felt by the mice, as well as reduce muscle spasms.


What is CBD?


CBD is a type of cannabinoid, which means that it is one of the hundreds of compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. It has been incorporated into a range of treatment solutions that may help treat a variety of medical problems ranging from the physical to the psychological. It's been used to address symptoms that include:

  1. Panic Attacks & Other Anxiety Issues
  2. Spinal Stiffness & Pain
  3. Insomnia
  4. Psychosis

CBD doesn't have the psychoactive effects of another well-known compound, THC, which means it does not produce the "high" associated with Cannabis which means it can be used more easily with people with a range of conditions and ages. There are many different ways to use CBD, which include topical applications such as CBD creams, CBD tinctures, and CBD capsules.


CBD has been used by a wide range of ages, from treating children suffering from epileptic episodes to adults living with chronic pain. Using CBD for muscle spasms has gradually begun to be more expansively researched. It has demonstrated neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties may help protect neurons from ongoing damage, which is essential when treating neuron-degenerative or neurological damage disorders and diseases.


The good news is that, unlike many treatments, it's far less difficult to use as it is sold as an extract, vaporized liquid, and oil capsule, meaning it's easy to transport and use as needed and often has little to no side effects physically or psychologically.


Potential of CBD for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) 


Previously, CBD research was extremely limited due to the stigma surrounding Cannabis, which led to a variety of issues getting funding or finding volunteers to conduct studies. As media softened its stance and it became more mainstream as a treatment option over the past couple of decades, more research is available than ever before.


All of the research that has been conducted thus far is primarily short-term and in limited testing groups, as there has yet to be an opportunity to study long-term effects for the reasons mentioned before. That said, there are a variety of promising reports from completed studies in the past few years that indicate CBD may be able to reduce the severity of symptoms in MND patients. Some studies have tested CBD for seniors as well as CBD capsules and oils for younger subjects to treat neurological conditions with shared symptoms.


Spasticity, an important part of MND, has shown potential to significantly improve in regular CBD users living with ALS. Beyond MND specific studies, other studies of neurodegenerative diseases have shown the opportunity for CBD to be an effective treatment solution due to its anti-inflammatory, appetite-stimulating, and anti-convulsion properties.  


What research is ongoing?


A myriad of studies has been executed in the past few years into the efficacy of CBD to treat some Motor Neuron Disease symptoms, each with varying results. A recent study reported in their limited sample size that there were significant improvements in quality of life in participants living with MND that used CBD without negative psychiatric side effects.


Cannabis-derived compounds have shown brain-protective properties in animal test subjects and limited human trials. However, so far, most of these effects are limited to the motor cortex and striatum. One of the reasons for this is that CBD has a low affinity for dopamine receptors and does not induce dopamine release. Another reason is that CBD also binds to serotonin receptors, which may be a factor in the anti-psychotic effects of CBD.


Research into Cannabis is rapidly picking up, with studies appearing to indicate that a wide range of medical issues and especially motor disorder related ailments may be able to benefit substantially from its isolated compounds. 


Looking into other neurological disorders that impact brain function in terms of clarity of thought, psychosis, and other symptoms and CBD's impact provides a greater idea of what may be possible. For instance, the oxidative stress reactions that CBD may be able to impact has shown promise in a study that used CBD to treat its patients suffering from "chemo brain", which gave validity to its potential neuroprotective capabilities.

Can CBD be Used to Help Those Affected with MND?


One of the hardest parts of living with MND symptoms is the possibility of frontotemporal lobe dementia,  which is a common symptom of MND. One study that was conducted showed that CBD could potentially help those with frontotemporal lobe dementia by alleviating the oxidative stress in their frontal lobe brain cells. This means that CBD may be able to help those with MND that are also experiencing frontotemporal lobe dementia. The same study showed that CBD could protect neurons from oxidative stress and excitotoxicity.


Some MND patients have used CBD for pain, whilst others use it for anxiety treatment. 


Common MND symptoms can include :

  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Stiffness 
  • Muscle Spasms & Motor Skills Problems
  • Muscle & Joint Pain

Next, we will go into how specific products can be used to address the above problems and which may be best for which symptom.


Can CBD Help With Relieving Pain?


Studies have indicated that CBD can help with pain related to joint and muscle stiffness. CBD's ability to help with pain is thought to be due to its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD creams that can be directly applied to trouble areas, particularly the lower back, shoulders, hands, and other key points that need the most pain/strain relief, make it easy to focus on physical ailments topically.


As far as sublingual options go, CBD tinctures applied via a dropper are another solution that leads to far quicker ingestion that's useful for when you need to quickly take your dosage with less effort. It can begin working within minutes to an hour compared to other forms that take longer for the body to process and distribute, which makes them also a good option for beginning or ending the day dosages.


Recommended CBD Dosage: What You Should Know

The recommended CBD dosage will depend on a variety of factors, including your current physical health, age and weight. However, a good starting point is to take a few doses per day of CBD until you feel the desired effects have been achieved. You can then reduce the dosage to a maintenance level of once or twice per day.


The recommended starting dosage range is 20-50MG per dose, with the maximum reported being taken is as high as 1500 MG per day.


Some users have found that vaping CBD oil or consuming CBD infused drinks is the most effective way to consume it. However, you should always consult with your doctor about what would be best for you. If a recommendation isn't provided by your physician, there are plenty of options available.


CBD Tinctures

CBD tinctures are a liquid form of CBD that can be taken sublingually. They come with a small dropper that allows you to carefully control the amount being disseminated on or beneath your tongue. You can also add it to your foods or favourite drinks, and it will tastelessly mix with it. They may help with nausea or stomach issues from other medications.


CBD Capsules

 These are capsules that contain a specific amount of CBD so that you can more accurately control your dosage amount. For those that are dealing with stress, muscle weakness, tremors or other physical issues, this is an easier delivery method as using a dropper can be difficult when dosing.

CBD Oils

These oils can work well for those who are suffering from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues whilst living with ALS. CBD Oils can be consumed by adding them to your favourite foods and drinks for easier ingestion.


CBD Balms and Creams

Perfect for treating spot specific ailments and applying topically, regardless of it's a headache, back pain, or joint pain. By taking a small amount, rubbing it between your hands and applying it directly to the site, the treatment may ease pain quickly.


CBD Edibles

Edibles are a tasty way to take your dosage without suffering through a complex process. The only drawback is that the amount of CBD that is claimed to be in it may not be entirely accurate.


Exploring CBD for Pain Options

Puresport offers a variety of topicals and other CBD products to address specific ailments. 


As newer treatments become available and research progresses, the medical world gains greater insight into how and why MND occurs, and hopefully, in the future, a cure.



Sources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24614667/
  2. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs126/documents/briefing-paper
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7699613/
  4. https://research.hsr.it/en/news/cannabis-based-drug-may-help-to-relieve-symptoms-of-motor-neuron-disease.html
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21350020/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7204604/
  7. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

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