The following information is presented for educational purposes only.
Medical Marijuana Inc. provides this information to provide an understanding
of the potential applications of cannabidiol. Links to third party websites
do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Medical Marijuana
Inc. and none should be inferred.
Central nervous system disorders are a group of diseases and conditions that
affect the health and functioning of the spinal cord and brain. Studies have
shown cannabis can limit the progression of many central nervous system
disorders and help manage symptoms like pain, seizures and spasms.
Overview of Central Nervous System Disorders
Central nervous system disorders are a broad category of conditions or
diseases that affect the spinal cord or brain. There are many different
types of central nervous system disorders, some of which include epilepsy, migraine,
Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s
syndrome, dystonia, multiple
sclerosis, meningitis, lupus, fibromyalgia,
and bipolar disorder. While central nervous system disorders can vary
greatly from each other, all the disorders cause a loss of sufficient,
intact nervous system circuits that orchestrate particular functions.
The damage that leads to or causes central nervous system disorders can
include trauma, infections, degeneration, congenital problems, structural
defects, tumors, blood flow disruption and autoimmune disorders.
Symptoms associated with central nervous system disorders vary depending on
the specific condition, but can include headaches, tingling or loss of
feeling, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, loss of sight or double vision,
memory loss, impaired mental ability, lack or coordination, tremors and
seizures, muscle rigidity, and back pain.
Most central nervous system disorders cannot be cured, but medications,
therapy, surgery and other treatment options can help limit their
progression and manage associated symptoms.
Findings: Effects of Cannabis on Central Nervous System Disorders
Studies have shown that cannabis has neuroprotective effects, and in turn
supports the health of the brain and spinal cord and helps in the treatment
of a variety of central nervous system disorders. The cannabinoids found in
cannabis, including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have
shown they effectively protect neurons and astrocytes from damage, modulate
inflammatory reaction and assist in neuroregeneration (Lafuente, et al.,
2011) (Kubajewska & Constantinescu, 2010) (Croxford, et al., 2008).
CBD and THC activate the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) of the
endocannabinoid system, which plays a significant regulatory role in health
and disease (Pacher, Batkai & Kunos, 2006) (Di Marzo, Bifulco & De
Petrocellis, 2004). The upregulation of the endocannabinoid system has shown
to reduce the severity of symptoms like neuropathic pain and muscle spasms
and slow the progression of central nervous system disorders like multiple
sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and others (Di
Marzo, Bifulco & De Petrocellis, 2004) (Pertwee, 2006) (Pacher, Batkai &
Kunos, 2006). Studies also show that cannabinoids reduce the debilitating
seizures caused by epilepsy and reduce spasms experienced by those with
multiple sclerosis, and minimize the neurological damage caused by spinal
cord and traumatic brain injuries (Iuvone, et al., 2004) (More & Choi, 2015)
(Blair, Deshpande & DeLorenzo, 2015) (Lakhan & Rowland, 2009).
Cannabis slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by slowing the
production of beta-amyloid proteins, considered the key contributor to the
disease’s progression (Iuvone, et al., 2004). It also protects brain cells
from the deleterious effects of amyloid-beta, reduces inflammation, and
supports the brain’s repair process by enhancing the birth of new cells
(Campbell & Gowran, 2007).
Cannabis reduces the involuntary muscle contractions associated with
dystonia (Consroe, Sandyk & Snider, 1986).
CBD has been shown to effectively and significantly decrease the frequency
of seizures and in some cases has even shown to produce complete seizure
freedom (Blair, Deshpande & DeLorenzo, 2015).
Studies have found that cannabis is effective at improving sleep disruption,
pain, depression, joint stiffness, anxiety, physical function and quality of
life in individuals with fibromyalgia (de Souza Nascimento, et al., 2013)
Cannabis reduces inflammation, thus potentially offering therapeutic benefit
to those with lupus, and can reduce pain associated with the disorder
(Nagarkatti, et al., 2009) (Clayton, Marshall, Bountra & O’Shaughnessy,
Through activation of the cannabinoid receptors, cannabis inhibits the pain
response caused by migraines (Akerman, Holland, Lasalandra & Goardsby, 2013)
(Baron, 2015) (Greco, et al., 2014).
Cannabis reduces pain and muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis
and helps slow the disease’s progression (Lakhan & Rowland, 2009) (Pacher,
Batkai & Kunos, 2006). One animal study found that cannabinoids reduced
damage to myelin caused from inflammation, thereby providing neuroprotection
(Pryce, et al., 2003).
Cannabis’ neuroprotective effects and ability to encourage cell health
reduces the progression of Parkinson’s disease (More & Choi, 2015). It has
also shown to help manage the tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia, motor
disability and impairments, sleep problems and pain associated with the
disorder (Lotan, Treves, Roditi & Djaldetti, 2014).
Cannabis safely reduces the frequency of tics caused by Tourette syndrome
States That Have Approved Medical Marijuana for Central Nervous System
No states include central nervous system disorders on their list of approved
conditions for medical marijuana. However, many do allow medical marijuana
for the treatment of specific central nervous system disorders.
For example, Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New
Dakota, Oklahoma, South
Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin,
and Wyoming have
approved medical marijuana for the treatment of either epilepsy or
seizure disorders. California and Illinois have
specifically approved medical marijuana for the treatment of migraines. Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, North
Island have approved medical
marijuana for Alzheimer’s
disease. Arkansas, Illinois and North
Dakota have approved medical
marijuana specifically for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Illinois and New
Mexico has approved medical
marijuana for the treatment of dystonia. Illinois and New
Hampshire have approved
medical marijuana specifically for the treatment of lupus. Arkansas, Illinois and Minnesota have
approved medical marijuana specifically for the treatment of Tourette
syndrome. Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New
Mexico and New
York have approved medical
marijuana for the treatment of Parkinson’s
disease. Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New
York, and Vermont allow
medical marijuana for the treatment of multiple
In addition, in Washington
D.C., any condition can be approved for medical marijuana as long as a
DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment. Plus, various other states
will consider allowing medical marijuana to be used for the treatment of
central nervous system disorders with the recommendation from a physician.
These states include: California (any
debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been recommended
by a physician), Connecticut (other
medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer
Protection), Massachusetts (other
conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician), Nevada (other
conditions subject to approval), Oregon (other
conditions subject to approval), Rhode
Island (other conditions
subject to approval), and Washington (any
“terminal or debilitating condition”).
Recent Studies on Cannabis’ Effect on Central Nervous System Disorders
A survey found that for most, using cannabis improves mood,
pain, muscle spasms, and sleep.A
survey of cannabis (marijuana) use and self-reported benefit in
men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277530/)
CBD improves well-being and quality of life in Parkinson’s
of cannabidiol in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s
disease: an exploratory double-blind trial. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25237116)
THC found to reduce amyloid-beta levels and enhance mitochondria
function, thus demonstrating potential as an Alzheimer’s disease
potential therapeutic effects of THC on Alzheimer’s disease. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25024327)
Cannabinoids were effective at reducing neurological disability
and the progression of the disease in mice with an animal form
ameliorate disease progression in a model of multiple sclerosis
in mice, acting preferentially through CB1 receptor-mediated
anti-inflammatory effects. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22342378)
Akerman, S., Holland, PR., Lasalandra, MP. and Goadsby, PJ. (2013,
September). Endocannabinoids in the brainstem modulate dural
trigeminovascular nociceptive traffic via CB1 and “triptan” receptors:
implications in migraine. Journal
of Neuroscience, 33(37), 14869-77.
Baron, EP. (2015, June). Comprehensive Review of Medicinal Marijuana,
Cannabinoids, and Therapeutic Implications in Medicine and Headache: What a
Long Strange Trip It’s Been. Headache,
Blair, R.E., Deshpande, L.S., and DeLorenzo, R.J. (2015, September).
Cannabinoids: is there a potential treatment role in epilepsy? Expert
Opinion on Pharmacology, 16(13), 1911-4.
Campbell, V. A., & Gowran, A. (2007). Alzheimer’s disease; taking the edge
off with cannabinoids? British
Journal of Pharmacology, 152(5),
Central Nervous System Disease. (2013, October 27). International
Neuromodulation Society. Retrieved from
Clayton, N., Marshall, F.H., Bountra, C., and O’Shaughnessy, C.T. (2002,
April). CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors are implicated in inflammatory
Consroe, P., Sandyk, R., and Snider, S.R. (1986). Open label evaluation of
cannabidiol in dystonic movement disorders. International
Journal of Neuroscience, 30(4), 277-282.
Croxford, J.L., Pryce, G., Jackson, S.J., Ledent, C., Giovannoni, G.,
Pertwee, R.G., Yamamura, T., and Baker, D. (2008, January).
Cannabinoid-mediated neuroprotection, not immunosuppression, may be more
relevant to multiple sclerosis. Journal
of Neuroimmunology, 193(1-2), 120-9.
de Souza Nascimento, S., Desantana, J.M., Nampo, F.K., Ribeiro, E.A., da
Silva, D.L., Araujo-Junior, J.X., da Silva Almeida, J.R., Bonjardim, L.R.,
de Souza Araujo, A.A., and Quintans-Junior, L.J. (2013). Efficacy and safety
of medicinal plants or related natural products for fibromyalgia: a
systematic review. Evidence-Based
Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013. Retrieved from
Di Marzo, V., Bifulco, M., and De Petrocellis, L. (2004, September). The
endocannabinoid system and its therapeutic exploitation. Nature
Reviews, 3(9), 771-84.
Greco, R., Mangione, A.S., Sandrini, G., Nappi, G. and Tassorelli, C. (2014,
March). Activation of CB2 receptors as a potential therapeutic target for
migraine: evaluation in an animal model. The
Journal of Headache and Pain, 15, 14.
Iuvone, T., Esposito, G., Esposito, R., Santamaria, R., Di Rosa, M., and
Izzo, A.A. (2004, April). Neuroprotective effect of cannabidiol, a
non-psychoactive component from Cannabis sativa, on beta-amyloid-induced
toxicity in PC12 cells. Journal
of Neurochemistry, 89(1), 134-41.
Kubajewska, I., and Constantinescu, C.S. (2010, August). Cannabinoids and
experimental models of multiple sclerosis. Immunobiology,
Lafuente, H., Alvarez, F.J., Pazos, M.R., Alvarez, A., Rey-Santano, M.C.,
Mielgo, V., Murgia-Esteve, X., Hilario, E., and Martinez-Orgado, J. (2011,
September). Cannabidiol reduces brain damage and improves functional
recovery after acute hypoxia-ischemia in newborn pigs. Pediatric
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Lakhan, S.E., and Rowland, M. (2009). Whole plant cannabis extracts in the
treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis: a systematic review. BMC
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Lotan, I., Treves, T.A., Roditi, Y., and Djaldetti, R. (2014, March-April).
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Parkinson disease: an open-label observational study. Clinical
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More, S.V., and Choi, D.K. (2015, April). Promising cannabinoid-based
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Muller-Vahl, K.R. (2013). Treatment of Tourette syndrome with cannabinoids. Behavioral
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Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S.A., Hegde, V.L., and Nagarkatti, M.
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system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacological
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Pertwee, R.G. (2006, January). Cannabinoid pharmacology: the first 66 years. British
Journal of Pharmacology, 147(Suppl 1), S163-S171.
Pryce, G., Ahmed, Z., Hankey, D.J., Jackson, S.J., Croxford, J.L. Pocock,
J.M., Ledent, C., Petzold, A., Thompson, A.J., Giovannoni, G., Cuzner, M.L.,
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