cbd oil for msa

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Grandmother has MSA and is quite depressed, could CBD help?

So my Grandmother (75) has a disease called Multiple System Atrophy. I have been reading a lot on the benefits of CBD oil with neuro-degenerative disorders and it seems like it might be a thing to try.

She is fairly depressed since she is home ridden and has even considered doctor-assisted suicide.

She also has a lot of digestive problems as well as trouble walking due to the dyskinesia. She can still talk and communicate very well and is mentally 100% there so I talked to her about it and she seems interested, but I have no idea where to start.

Apparently there are drops, vaporizing, gummies etc etc etc. So where exactly should I go from here.

PS: We are in the state of Alabama and she has a great (and open) doctor that specializes in MSA. We haven't had a chance to talk to him about it yet.

CBD is very good for mood disorders. It stops the breakdown of anandamide (a cannabinoid produced by your body). Anandamide binds to the CB1 receptor, which is what THC binds with and is partly responsible for the euphoric feelings. It also interacts with the serotonin receptor 5-HT1a, which is responsible for many things including mood.

Without knowing much about MSA I can tell you that CBD helps other diseases/disorders of the same nature. It can help protect normally functioning cells as well as destroy improperly functioning cells. The internet says:

The symptoms reflect the progressive loss of function and death of different types of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

There are CB2 receptors in your immune and nervous systems. I would say if you can afford it CBD is worth a shot. It might not stop the progression or even slow it down, but it will most likely improve her day to day quality if life.

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I recommend finding a high quality tincture. Make sure they tell you exactly how much CBD is in the bottle. Don't buy "hemp oil." Also find a company that will tell you about their grow, or if they even have one.

CBD vs. THC: What’s The Difference?

Neither cannabidiol (CBD) nor delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are new discoveries—they were first isolated from cannabis plants by scientists in the early 1940s. However, our understanding of the two plant compounds is still evolving today as scientists continue to study them, learning more about their characteristics and medical benefits.

Improved education about the cannabis plant and its two main compounds not only boosted their popularity, but also brought them into the mainstream in recent years. Below, learn more about the similarities and differences of CBD and THC, how they can benefit the body, their potential side effects and how they’re treated by the U.S. legal system.

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What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the main cannabinoids (chemical compounds unique to cannabis) found in cannabis sativa plants.

A cannabis sativa plant can be classified according to its CBD and THC production potentials:

  • Type I cannabis sativa contains more than 0.3% THC and less than 0.5% CBD.
  • Type II cannabis sativa contains more than 0.3% THC and 0.5% CBD.
  • Type III cannabis sativa contains less than 0.3% THC and more than 0.5% CBD.

Type I and type II cannabis sativa are considered marijuana while type III is classified as hemp.

CBD can be derived from any type of cannabis sativa plant, but it’s legal throughout the U.S. only when it comes from hemp specifically—an important distinction explained in greater detail below.

What Is THC?

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is another main cannabinoid found in cannabis sativa plants. THC is the compound that produces the intoxicating, psychoactive “high” often associated with cannabis.

CBD vs THC: Key Differences

CBD and THC may come from the same plant, but their unique chemical structures affect how they interact with the body. Because of these inherent differences, they are also treated differently in the U.S. legal system.

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Chemical Structure

“From a chemistry standpoint, THC and CBD are isomers, meaning they share the same chemical formula (C21H30O2) with different chemical structures,” say Nick Jackowetz and Soheil Hajirahimkhan, chief scientific officer and head of research and development at Cirona Labs, a cannabinoid product developer. “While the structure of CBD consists of two 6-membered rings, THC has an additional 6-membered ring that is formed via the attachment of a carbon and an oxygen atom (called an ether bond).”

Therefore, CBD and THC bind differently with the receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps modulate the central nervous system, synaptic plasticity (how neurons communicate with each other) and the body’s response to external stressors.

The two main receptors in the endocannabinoid system are CB1, which is largely found in the brain and central nervous system, and CB2, which is mostly found in the immune system (and in much lower levels in the central nervous system). THC tends to bind with both receptors while CBD has little affinity for either.

Psychoactive Properties

THC is the compound most commonly associated with psychoactive effects while CBD is not. However, this understanding is “a huge misconception,” says Monique McHenry, Ph.D., director of the Medical Cannabis Center for Research and Education at the University of Vermont Medical School.

Lauren Rudick, partner of the cannabis practice at Hiller, PC, a law firm in New York, agrees with McHenry. “It’s an important distinction,” she says. CBD is still psychoactive, meaning it affects the mind—it’s just not intoxicating and doesn’t impair function.

The “high” from THC comes from its binding with CB1 receptors. Since CBD doesn’t attach to CB1 or CB2 receptors like THC does, it doesn’t produce the same intoxicating effect.

However, when CBD and THC are consumed together, CBD binds to the receptors and blocks THC from binding with them, thus mitigating some of the effects felt from the THC.

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At the federal level in the U.S., hemp-derived products—including CBD products—are legal under the 2018 Farm Bill as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight basis. Cannabis products, regardless of whether they’re hemp derived, that contain more than 0.3% THC by dry weight are still illegal under federal law.

Legality can get sticky, however, thanks to varying state laws regarding both cannabis and hemp. As of November 2021:

  • 19 states allow for adult recreational and medical use of cannabis
  • 17 states allow for medical use of cannabis
  • 11 states allow for low-THC/CBD products
  • 3 states do not allow any cannabis use

Due to competing state and federal laws and evolving regulations, cannabis products also tend to be mislabeled, leading to further confusion. One study analyzed 84 CBD products and found 69% of them either overstated or understated their concentrations of CBD. Further, 21% of the products contained THC without labeling them as such [1] Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online.. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708–1709. .

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Drug Testing

Generally, drug tests are designed to detect THC—not CBD—in a person’s system. However, depending on who orders a test and what they use the results for, a drug test can be used to look for CBD as well.

It’s also important to note that THC can still be detected on a drug test if you’re using hemp-derived CBD products that contain a legal amount THC (no more than 0.3%). If you want to use CBD products without running this risk, Steven Phan, founder of Come Back Daily, a CBD dispensary in New York, suggests using broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate, both of which exclude THC entirely.

You may also want to consult a medical professional about CBD use or learn more about the specific drug test you’ll be taking.

Potential Side Effects

THC and CBD may elicit varying side effects. THC use tends to lead to dry mouth and intoxication effects, such as disorientation, paranoia and dizziness. More serious reactions can include panic attacks and psychosis. High doses may even lead to hospitalization.

On the other hand, CBD has been determined to have no abuse potential and won’t lead to hospitalization even with high doses. High dosage most commonly leads to sleepiness and may lead to liver issues over the long term, although more research is needed to confirm this connection. Adverse digestive effects associated with CBD typically stem from other ingredients in the CBD product, such as coconut oil.

How Are CBD and THC Similar?

Given their almost identical chemical makeup, CBD and THC produce some similar effects—and can even work together to compound their benefits.

Potential Benefits

Both CBD and THC have been shown to help manage sleep troubles and physical pain. CBD specifically is often used to alleviate stress and anxiety as well.

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Administered jointly, they can work together to have even more potent medical benefits. For instance, Nabiximols (known by the brand name Sativex) is a 1:1 THC and CBD mix used to relieve symptoms of multiple sclerosis and cancer-related pain. Nabiximols has been approved for use in 27 countries, but not in the U.S.

Clinical studies have also shown THC and CBD mixes to be helpful in managing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).