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? A study posted on the Journal of Child Neurology found that CBD treatments reduced cerebral palsy symptoms, such as dystonia, sleep disturbances, and pain.
Can Marijuana Help Kids with Cerebral Palsy?
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.
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.
Hi, I live in Ireland, and I have triplets, 12 years old, and one of my daughters have a mild cerebral palsy, with spasticity in her legs. Now, she is in puberty and she is complaining about the pain in her legs, joints, knees, and she is walking worse, I believe her body is trying to streech because the puberty , I would like to know how the CBD can help her? CBD oil is available in Ireland, but I dont know whats the best for her: oil, cream, tablets?? Can you guide me please? I really need to help her! Also she is having panic attack and anxiety episodes.
Thansk a milion
Claudia, a dear friend of mine has been helping people with several conditions including Cerebral palsy. Please check him on instagram – ladstalkhealth , his name is James and he is truly an angel
Hi I have a 15year old son whiit cp would Marijuana help my son
Hi. I live in Tennessee and have cerebal palsy. How can I get medical marijuana?
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Best CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy – August 2022
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a congenital condition affecting movements, muscle tone, and body posture. This lifelong condition is diagnosed during infancy or early childhood.
The primary cause of CP is a brain injury or malformation during neonatal development (12) .
Symptoms of cerebral palsy include muscle contractions , spasticity, lack of muscle coordination and balance, involuntary movements, speech delay, learning difficulties, lack of motor skills, and tremors .
The types of cerebral palsy depends on the symptoms presented by the individual.
Spastic cerebral palsy presents with spasms. Axatic cerebral palsy causes trouble with muscle coordination and balance. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy causes involuntary movements.
CP treatment options include surgical procedures, physiotherapy, botox injections, or oral muscle relaxants, such as diazepam, dantrolene , and baclofen (13) .
However, muscle relaxants have several side effects , including lightheadedness, lack of muscle control (ataxia), blurred vision, and depression (14) .
Moreover, individuals taking muscle relaxants are also at risk of dependency and withdrawal symptoms (15) .
Meanwhile, CBD has potential health benefits that may be useful for people with CP.
CBD vs Spasticity
Currently, there is only one direct study on cannabidiol’s ( CBD ) therapeutic effects on cerebral palsy symptoms .
The Wolfson Medical Center conducted a clinical trial using CBD and THC (with ratios 20 to 1 and 6 to 1) on children with cerebral palsy (CP) .
The study, led by child neurologist , Dr. Luba Blumkin , found that the CBD treatment significantly reduced dystonia , spasticity , sleep difficulties, and pain among CP patients (16) .
The clinical trial’s result was supported by other studies on CBD ’s efficacy in treating motor disorders .
A 2018 study posted in Neurological Disorders mentioned that CBD , with the combination of THC , reduced spasticity in human subjects (17) . The authors attributed this hypothesis to CBD ’s neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxant properties (18) .
CP and multiple sclerosis have often been studied together due to similarities in muscle spasms and stiffness symptoms exhibited by the conditions (19) . Researchers mention that both conditions cause upper neuron motor dysfunction (20) .
A 2015 review indicated that the first-line treatment for both conditions involved muscle relaxant and anti-convulsant agents (21) .
However, the authors noted that young children and the elderly displayed adverse effects from the treatments (22) .
A study posted by Frontiers in Neurology has noted that CBD treatments improved mobility and reduced spasticity among multiple sclerosis patients. Moreover, CBD ’s efficacy significantly reduced the usage of prescription medicines (23) .
CBD vs. Cerebral Palsy-Associated Conditions
CBD might also potentially treat other conditions associated with CP.
Studies mention that 23-46% of children with CP experience sleep disturbances. These are usually caused by the child’s immobility and pain (24) .
Due to inactivity, adults with CP have higher risks of anxiety, depression (25) , cardiovascular disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis (26) .
Lastly, studies have shown that children with CP have a high risk of developing seizure disorders. The authors indicated that spastic tetraplegia, a form of cerebral palsy , might be associated with seizures (27) .
A study found that CBD reduced depression in human subjects (28) . Moreover, studies found that CBD has therapeutic potential in treating high blood pressure (29) and arthritis (30) .
A study posted by the Permanente Journal also demonstrated CBD ’s efficacy in reducing anxiety scores and improving insomnia among human subjects. The authors observed that among the 72 adults who participated, 79.2% had reduced anxiety, while 66.7% improved their sleep scores (31) .
Lastly, researchers confirmed CBD ’s efficacy in treating epileptic seizures, especially in pediatric age (32) . The epileptic drug, Epidiolex, is the first FDA-approved CBD drug used to treat rare forms of epilepsy (33) .
How CBD Oil Works to Help With Cerebral Palsy
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is studied for its role in maintaining homeostasis in the human body. Studies have acknowledged that activation of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, plays a role in modulating functions in the central nervous system (34) .
Researchers indicated the high density of cannabinoid receptors in the cerebellum and basal ganglia (areas that control motor function ) (35) .
Studies showed that CB1 expression plays a role in motor function and spasticity among patients with neurodegenerative disorders (36) .
A study released by Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders has shown that CB1 receptors in the CNS pathways are targets that can deliver antispastic effects. The author added that treatments using cannabinoids might potentially stimulate these targets (37) .
Moreover, CB2 expression has been observed to block inflammatory cytokin es (proteins released by cells) in the ce ntral nervous system (CNS). Studies explained that inflammation in the CNS might be the cause of various symptoms, such as tremors and spasms (38) .
Still, more studies are needed to learn how cannabinoids might influence the ECS and CNS of cerebral palsy patients .
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy
- CBD treatments significantly reduced cerebral palsy symptoms , such as dystonia , spasticity , sleep difficulties, and pain (39) .
- CBD ’s efficacy in reducing spasms led to decreased usage of muscle relaxant and anti-convulsant agents (40) .
- CBD might reduce anxiety, insomnia (41) , and depression in adults with CP (42) .
- CBD has therapeutic potentials in lowering blood pressure (43) and alleviating joint pain (44) .
- CBD’s efficacy in treating seizures has been proven by studies (45) .
- CBD has been acknowledged to have an excellent safety profile for human consumption (46) .
- CBD may cause side effects , such as drowsiness, loss of appetite, and dry mouth (47) .
- A recent study discovered that high CBD dosage caused hepatotoxicity (liver damage) in rat models (48) .
- CBD is not an approved treatment for CP, and further studies are needed to determine any possible benefits.
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Cerebral Palsy
The echinacea plant has been traditionally used as an alternative or complementary medicine for CP (49) .
Some of the herb’s medicinal claims include improved blood circulation, neural connections, and reduced spasticity . However, until studies prove otherwise, echinacea’s clinical value remains to be seen.
B12 and omega-3 fatty acid vitamins have been recognized to improve cognitive function. A 2017 study mentioned that early intervention using B12 and omega 3 supplements might improve cognitive functions (50) .
CT scans demonstrated this hypothesis following B12 and omega-3 treatments. Children who have hypertonia (muscle stiffness), brain atrophy, and delayed milestones and speech displayed improvements in neuroimaging results (51) .
Zingiber officinale (ginger) had been studied for its potential to improve brain functions. A study indicated that ginger root extracts enhanced both attentive and cognitive processing in human subjects (52) .
Although CBD has not been shown to improve children’s learning capabilities, it has been acknowledged for its neuroprotective properties (53) .
A study posted by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology indicated that CBD reduced hypoxia-ischemia (brain damage) and improved brain function in animal models (54) .
Moreover, CBD has been observed to possess muscle relaxant properties that might be useful in alleviating hypertonia (55) .
How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy
The recommended CBD oil for individuals with CP is the full-spectrum option.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the major cannabinoids in hemp, such as CBD , cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ).
Together, these compounds create a cannabinoid synergy known as the “entourage effect.”
A review published in Frontiers in Plant Science indicated that the entourage effect increased the activity of ECS receptors (56) .
The author also explained how CBD, combined with other cannabinoids, displayed high efficacy compared to isolated compounds (57) .
Another study demonstrated the entourage effect through a controlled trial on patients with chronic pain (58) .
The authors found that THC treatment failed to reduce pain scores significantly. However, treatments containing THC and CBD showed better results (59) .
Individuals who want to experience the entourage effect without THC may opt for broad-spectrum CBD . Broad-spectrum contains all the same compounds from full-spectrum except THC .
Cannabis products, such as medical marijuana and cannabis oil , are high in THC . Depending on the dispensary , some cannabis products may contain 28% THC (60) .
In the United States, CBD products are prohibited from carrying more than 0.3% THC (61) .
Individuals who want to take CBD as monotherapy may opt for CBD isolates (99% pure CBD ).
Additional tips to consider before buying CBD :
- Look for the product’s certificate of analysis (COA) to determine cannabinoid content and safety profile.
- Do thorough research and check testimonials and reviews of CBD brands.
- Send inquiries to the customer service department for more information.
CBD Dosage for Cerebral Palsy
More studies are needed to find the appropriate CBD dosage for CP symptoms. However, for any medical condition, e xperts recommend that first-time CBD users start with a low dose and gradually increase when the body gets used to CBD .
A study posted by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology collected thousands of clinical CBD dosing data on various health conditions (62) .
The authors indicated that appropriate dosing might range from 1 to 50 milligrams per kilogram a day (63) .
Moreover, Pharmacology and Pharmacy shared a study explaining that CBD has a bell-shaped dose-response. The authors observed that a limited CBD dose was enough to produce significant results (64) .
A study from Frontiers of Pharmacology supported the bell-shaped dose-response. The authors observed that the 300mg dose reduced anxiety scores better than 150mg and 600mg dosings (65) .
However, individuals with CP must practice caution when experimenting with CBD dosage.
A study released by Molecules found that extremely high CBD doses can cause liver damage in rat models (66) .
How to Take CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy
The most straightforward administration for individuals with CP is through oral or sublingual delivery.
Oral CBD products include capsules, softgels, and gummies. Individuals may take oral CBD with or without a meal.
Sublingual delivery methods are available through CBD tinctures. CBD may be taken by using an applicator to put a few drops under the tongue.
Studies have shown that sublingual and oral administration allows plasma concentration to last three to four hours after intake (67) .
Moreover, taking CBD through oral and sublingual administration was observed to provide high plasma concentrations when taken with a meal. However, CBD intake during an empty stomach produced faster results (68) . However, consuming CBD on a full stomach actually provides maximal absorption.
CBD smoke or vapor inhalation is another way of taking CBD. While it is not recommended for children with CP, it may be an option for adults who have the approval of their licensed physicians.
The lungs are very efficient in absorbing CBD into the body. There is evidence that vaping or smoking delivered plasma concentrations into the bloodstream in less than 10 minutes (69) .
Vaping or smoking CBD may be useful for quick relief from pain, severe spasms, or tremors . However, vaping may present some side effects , such as shortness of breath, chest pain, chemical irritation, and allergic reactions (70) .
Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition. Recommended treatments, alternative, and complementary medicine are only utilized to improve the quality of life .
Studies have shown that CBD significantly reduced cerebral palsy symptoms , such as dystonia , spastic movements , sleep difficulties, and pain (71) .
CBD ’s efficacy in reducing spasms led to a decreased use of muscle relaxant and anti-convulsant agents (72) .
Moreover, studies have shown that CBD might be useful in treating medical conditions that may arise concurrently with CP, such as high blood pressure (73) , arthritis (74) , and seizures (75) .
Researchers have shown that CBD might improve mental health due to its sleep-promoting, anxiolytic (76) , and antidepressant properties (77) .
Whatever medication is being used, individuals with CP must take the necessary measures to improve mobility and function. Participating in physical therapy, rehabilitation (78) , and speech therapy (79) may positively impact their quality of life.
Individuals with CP must consult with a licensed physician before taking CBD into their daily regimen.