Neurological disorders are disorders affecting the brain, the spine, and the complex system of nerves which connect them to each other. These disorders vary from epilepsy to Parkinson’s disease. In fact, there are over 600 different neurological disorders recorded at present.
Treatment for neurological disorders has, unfortunately, been consistent in its inability to reduce the symptoms of the disorders satisfactorily. This has meant that many of those suffering with them will eventually become either fully or partially dependent on others.
However, there is hope that a new treatment could change this in the years to come; cannabis. Cannabis has been found to contain over one hundred different chemicals, two of which are currently being investigated thoroughly in relation to their effect on neurological disorders.
The neuroprotective actions of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids were recently examined in rat cortical neuron cultures exposed to toxic levels of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. The results of this study were fascinating.
Glutamate toxicity was reduced by both cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive constituent of marijuana, and the psychotropic cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Cannabinoids protected equally well against neurotoxicity mediated by N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors, propionic acid receptors, or kainate receptors. N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor-induced toxicity has been shown to be calcium dependent.
This study demonstrates that propionic acid/kainate receptor-type neurotoxicity is also calcium-dependent, partly mediated by voltage sensitive calcium channels.
The neuroprotection observed with CBD and THC was unaffected by cannabinoid receptor antagonist, indicating it to be cannabinoid receptor independent. Previous studies have shown that glutamate toxicity may be prevented by antioxidants. CBD, THC and several synthetic cannabinoids all were demonstrated to be antioxidants by cyclic voltammetry.
CBD and THC also were shown to prevent hydroperoxide-induced oxidative damage as well as or better than other antioxidants in a chemical (Fenton reaction) system and neuronal cultures. CBD was more protective against glutamate neurotoxicity than either ascorbate or α-tocopherol, indicating it to be a potent antioxidant.
This data suggests that the naturally occurring, nonpsychotropic cannabinoid, cannabidiol, may be a potentially useful therapeutic agent for the treatment of oxidative neurological disorders such as cerebral ischemia.
This is a very positive result, given the current need for an effective treatment for these disorders. More research is ongoing and scientists have yet to fully understand the processes at play here. However, the findings of the research are encouraging enough to warrant further investigation and optimism for the future of neurological disorder treatment.
Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.