CBD oil has many health promoting properties- some of which are briefly covered in the overview article on CBD oil. One such property is that CBD oil may reduce involuntary muscle contractions commonly found in those with neurodegenerative diseases. This article is going to discuss the current research on the benefits of CBD oil on dystonia associated with neurodegenerative disease.
What are Neurodegenerative Diseases?
Neurodegenerative diseases, “are characterized by a slow progressive neuronal loss in specific brain areas.” (1). These diseases are characterized by motor, cognitive and/or behavioral dysfunctions. Neurodegenerative diseases typically fall into two categories: conditions affecting memory and related to dementia and conditions which affect movement. Some of the most well-known neurodegenerative diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson Disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
CBD Oil Can Reduce Muscle Contractions in Neurodegenerative Disease
A small study found that supplementing with CBD oil helped reduce dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions that cause repetitive or twisting movements- often caused by neurological diseases) in a group of participants with dystonic movement disorders (2). Participants were given up to 600 mg/day of CBD oil over a 6 week period. Dose-related improvements in dystonia were observed in all patients, ranging from a 20-50% improvement.
There were minor side effects such as dry mouth, low blood pressure and sedation. In two patients with Parkinsonian features high doses of CBD oil aggravated the hypokinesia and resting tremor. A subsequent study found no benefit of a CBD/THC mixture on Parkinsonian or on levodopa-induced dyskinesias (3).
Although the amount of studies are limited CBD oil shows some promise in helping those with neurodegenerative disease manage the unpleasant muscle contractions. One major benefit to using CBD oil to manage the dystonia seen in this disease is the relative lack of serious side effects in most people (two patients saw an increase in hypokinesia and resting tremor). A few of the side effects associated with CBD oil use in one study were dry mouth, low blood pressure and sedation- which were minor enough for nearly all of the participants to finish the study.
- Iuvone, T., Esposito, G., De Filippis, D., Scuderi, C., & Steardo, L. (2009). Cannabidiol: a promising drug for neurodegenerative disorders?. CNS neuroscience & therapeutics, 15(1), 65-75.
- Consroe, P., Sandyk, R., & Snider, S. R. (1986). Open label evaluation of cannabidiol in dystonic movement disorders. International Journal of Neuroscience, 30(4), 277-282.
- Carroll, C. B., Bain, P. G., Teare, L., Liu, X., Joint, C., Wroath, C., … & Zajicek, J. P. (2004). Cannabis for dyskinesia in Parkinson disease A randomized double-blind crossover study. Neurology, 63(7), 1245-1250.