Cannabinoids are derivatives found in the cannabis plant and they are said to have anti inflammatory effects on animal cells. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main constituents in the cannabinoid chemical group, and the first is known to have psychotropic effects. Cannabinoids have been made into novel medicines to treat a range of human pathologies in the last few decades in the form of nabilone, which are known to treat nausea from chemotherapy treatment. Sativex, a combination of THC and CBD, has been developed to treat multiple sclerosis patients. This paper will look at how medical marijuana can relieve patients with Huntington’s disease (HD). HD is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder that affects primarily striatal and cortical neurons, therefore producing motor abnormalities ie dementia.
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Sativex may treat people with HD
The data from this study has provided solid evidence in that cannabis based medicine sativex has a good clinical potential in treating symptoms of HD. More studies will need to go into this to see whether treatment success can be bettered regarding to what concentration of CBD/THC to give to the patient. The cannabinoid receptor, that was reduced by the disease, was enhanced by THC, which is high effective at CB1 receptors, and hence alleviated some of the behavioral abnormalities. CB1 and CB2 receptors are located in the endocannabinoid system and allow cannabinoids to work freely in the body. Overall, the effects of sativex are positive in animal models as it has little side effects in the treatment of HD and other related diseases, ie alzheimer’s disease.
Nabilone may also treat people with HD
In previous studies, nabilone was used in an extensive experiment in people with HD in which it improved a number of symptoms including motor neuron function and cognitive behaviour. This may be due to the fact the CBD within nabilone is acting as an anti inflammatory on the immune system. However this is conflicting with another study in which CBD was found to have no effect on 15 patients with chorea.