As CBD has grown in popularity, many patients are hopeful that it can help treat the effects of cerebral palsy. Learn more here. 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?
Is CBD a Viable Treatment for Cerebral Palsy?
While there’s no cure for cerebral palsy, studies show CBD may be able to help with some of the symptoms.
This article will explore the most relevant studies into the effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) for treating cerebral palsy.
Research has found that CBD has potential broad therapeutic use as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), neuroprotectant, muscle relaxant, and pain-reliever without eliciting the intoxicating effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Table of Contents
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a congenital condition that affects the brain, as well as body movements, muscle tone, and posture. It is the most common childhood motor disability and is often diagnosed early in childhood or even in infancy.
This debilitating condition is caused by a lack of oxygen flowing to the brain. It can occur in the womb or during a difficult birth. It can also be caused by meningitis or a serious head injury.
There are four different types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic CP
- Athetoid CP
- Ataxic CP
- Mixed CP
Each affects the body differently, giving some patients the ability to be more independent than others.
Does CBD Oil Help with Cerebral Palsy?
There is only one FDA-approved CBD drug — Epidiolex — and it’s used to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. However, both research and patient testimonies strongly suggest that CBD does help manage symptoms of cerebral palsy.
Common symptoms of cerebral palsy include muscle spasms, tremors, lack of motor skills, speech delay, and tremors. The way cerebral palsy presents is dependent on which type of cerebral palsy a patient suffers from.
Only one known study has specifically examined the effects of CBD on cerebral palsy symptoms. However, there are numerous studies that have been conducted on CBD and multiple sclerosis, a condition that has similar neurological symptoms.
The study revealed that CBD helped reduce spasticity, sleep difficulties, and overall decreased chronic pain in cerebral palsy patients . These findings were supported by another study conducted in 2018, which studied neurological disorders. It was concluded that patients found relief from muscle spasticity due to the anti-inflammatory and relaxative properties of CBD.
What Does CBD Oil Do to Your Brain?
Because cerebral palsy affects neurological functions, you have to take into consideration the effects that CBD has on the brain.
The effects of CBD are unique in the way they affect the endocannabinoid system as it is a non-intoxicating compound, making them an appealing alternative to marijuana which contains THC — the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have an affinity to bind to endocannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system to produce more cannabinoids while also slowing the breakdown of those cannabinoids. It does this by inhibiting the release of the enzymes and helps to prime CB1 and CB2 receptors for those cannabinoids.
CBD has also been shown to modulate pain receptor sites (vanilloid and opioid receptors) and boost GABA-A activity in the brain to uplift one’s mood, which may also affect one’s perception of pain.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different ways CBD oil affects the brain:
The Serotonin System
Serotonin is often associated with happiness, but the serotonin system affects so much more than that. The serotonin system affects not only one’s mood but their perception of pain and their appetite and digestion.
So how does CBD come into play?
CBD targets the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, which is involved with neuromodulation. Researchers have observed a correlation between the 5-HT1A receptor dysfunction with generalized anxiety disorder and depression. While a lot is still unknown, there has been promising research to support claims that CBD oil alleviates pain and anxiety through its modulation at this receptor site .
The Vanilloid Receptors
Vanilloid receptors regulate the body’s temperature and control the body’s reaction to inflammation and perception of pain. CBD binds to the TRPV1 (vanilloid receptors), helping to achieve a calming effect on the body.
Anandamide is a fatty acid neurotransmitter and the first endocannabinoid to be discovered. It binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, helping to regulate homeostasis and stimulate a sense of happiness and wellbeing — it’s also aptly nicknamed the “bliss molecule.”
CBD has been shown to enhance anandamide signaling and slow the breakdown of these endocannabinoids by blocking the release of enzymes. Animal studies have found that anandamide-mediated signaling of CB1 receptors provided analgesic effects by limiting the input of pain to the central nervous system .
What Dosages of CBD are Effective for Managing Cerebral Palsy Symptoms?
There is no one dosage that is a magic treatment for cerebral palsy.
For some patients, it takes months, even years, of trial and error with different strains, dosages, and forms of CBD to find what works for them.
The way CBD will affect one’s body depends on a variety of factors, including weight, metabolism, what other medications you may be taking, the severity of your condition, the form of CBD, and of course, the dosage.
The form of CBD determines the product’s bioavailability — the percentage of CBD ingested that your body is able to absorb into the bloodstream. This is why certain products are better suited to certain needs.
Here’s the breakdown of CBD bioavailability:
- CBD topicals: less than 1%
- CBD capsules and edibles: 5-15%
- CBD oil: 20-30%
- CBD vapes: about 50%
The easiest and safest way to determine what dosage is most effective for your needs is to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase from there.
As you increase your dosage, pay attention to any reactions such as dry mouth, dizziness, irritation, or diarrhea, as they may be indicators you have taken too much. If using CBD as a tincture, edible, or capsule, it is best to take it on a full stomach to provide maximum absorption into the bloodstream.
Are There Side Effects of CBD Oil?
While side effects of CBD are not common, they can happen. This is why patients should only take CBD for cerebral palsy under the advice of their doctor. This is because CBD can potentially interact with other medications, thus leading to side effects.
Another reason patients may experience side effects is because of the brand — not every company produces quality CBD products, so if you are not careful, you may be ingesting harmful chemicals from the hemp farming or manufacturing process that could cause severe side effects.
In rare cases, CBD oil can cause liver failure as a result of negative drug interactions. This is also a common side effect of antiepileptic medications. Patients should also not stop taking their medications without the green light from their doctor. Doing so can shock the nervous system, causing severe reactions.
Cerebral palsy patients are often on numerous medications at a time, making it hard to pinpoint what exactly may be causing side effects. If there are immediate negative effects with CBD oil, you should see your doctor immediately.
Will CBD Oil Interact With My Cerebral Palsy Medications?
CBD may interact with certain prescription medications used for cerebral palsy. Interactions can range from synergistic (beneficial) to life-threatening. It’s critical you speak with your doctor about using CBD if you’re taking any prescription medications.
Let’s cover some of the most common CBD-drug interactions you may encounter with cerebral palsy medications:
CBD & Anticholinergics
This class of drug works by inhibiting the effects of acetylcholine — which is a key neurotransmitter in the brain as well as in the muscles.
CBD may interact with these medications by slowing their metabolism in the liver. This could lead to a buildup in the bloodstream over the course of several days or weeks. If concentrations become too high, side effects or overdose may occur.
Common anticholinergics used in treating cerebral palsy:
- Carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet)
- Glycopyrrolate (Cuvposa, Robinul)
- Benztropine (Cogentin)
CBD & Anticonvulsants
There are multiple different classes of medications that could be used as an anticonvulsant with cerebral palsy. These medications are used to reduce muscle contractions and abnormal muscle movements.
Some common medication classes include barbiturates and benzodiazepines.
The most common medication used for this is phenobarbital, a powerful anticonvulsant barbiturate.
CBD will interact similarly with all of these medications — leading to increased effects and slowed metabolic breakdown. Both of these results could be dangerous, leading to increased chances of side effects and overdose.
CBD & Antidepressants
Depression is a common side effect of cerebral palsy. For this reason, it’s common for patients to have a prescription for antidepressants such as SSRIs or SNRIs alongside other medications.
CBD may interact with these medications if used in high doses on a daily basis. However, people who take antidepressants and lower doses of CBD, with breaks every 2 or 3 days, rarely report side effects.
Other classes of antidepressants, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or tricyclic antidepressants, have a much higher risk of side effects.
CBD & Anti-inflammatories
Anti Inflammatories is a standard treatment for cerebral palsy. There’s a lot of different classes of these medications, but most doctors stick with simple NSAID medications like acetaminophen (Aspirin and Tylenol) or Ibuprofen.
CBD may interact with these medications by increasing the anti-inflammatory profile (synergistic) but can also slow the breakdown.
If using acetaminophen (or other NSAIDs) alongside other medications, it may be unsafe to use CBD. The combined competition of all these medications and CBD for metabolism in the liver can lead to a buildup of drugs in the bloodstream. Some of these drugs could bring dangerous consequences if the dose gets too high.
Final Thoughts: Can CBD Help With Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that currently has no known cure.
Patients have found their quality of life to increase greatly after adding CBD oil to their treatment plan for its relaxing and pain-relieving qualities.
However, CBD oil is not a suitable replacement for one’s medications, meaning you by no means should stop taking any medications without orders from your doctor to do so.
To get the most out of your CBD oil, you should take the time to research brands, their manufacturing process and consult your doctor on how the CBD could potentially interact with other medications and if it’s right for you.
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?
Leave Your Reply Cancel Reply
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Was your child injured at birth?
Call 1-855-833-3707 or email us to speak with a lawyer about your potential case.
Login or Sign up
MyCerebralPalsyChild.org is a comprehensive resource for parents of children with cerebral palsy.