As new evidence for the therapeutic benefits of the drug emerges, we are witnessing legal changes every week!
Among the long list of diseases that cannabis may help with, Huntington's disease is one of the most severe and complicated. So, is it possible that CBD can do what other prescription drugs have not yet achieved?
In this article, we will see what Huntington's disease is and how CBD could be an effective relief for many of its most potent symptoms.
A study conducted at the Ramón y Cajal University for Biomedical Research Foundation found that CBD has the potential for neuroprotective effects. These effects are beneficial for the prevention or treatment of this disease. However, the researchers did not determine the exact functioning of the CBD.
Another study considered the beneficial effect of CBD when used as a neuroprotective agent. He found that CBD could potentially slow the progression of Huntington's disease.
Cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG) have shown promising results for treating neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington's both when isolated and combined with other treatments.
However, researchers in most studies claim that more studies and clinical trials are needed to determine the true efficacy of CBD for treating Huntington's Disease.
What is Huntington's Disease?
Huntington's Disease is a hereditary condition that causes progressive neurodegeneration nerve cell death in the brain. Huntington's disease has a significant impact on a person's functional abilities and generally produces disorders of movement, thinking (cognitive), and psychiatric illness.
Most people with Huntington's disease develop signs and symptoms in their thirties or forties. But the disease can occur sooner or later in life.
When the disease develops before the age of 20, it is called juvenile Huntington's disease. Early-onset of the disease often results in a slightly different set of symptoms and a faster progression of the disease.
Medications are available to control this disease, but treatments cannot prevent the worsening of the physical, mental, and behavioral associated with the illness.
What Causes Huntington's Disease?
A hereditary genetic defect causes Huntington's disease. Huntington's disease is an autosomal dominant disease, which means that a person needs only one copy of a defective gene to develop the disease.
Except for genes on the sex chromosomes, a person inherits two copies of each gene, a copy of each parent. A parent with a damaged gene could pass along an incorrect copy of the gene or a healthy copy. As a result, every child in the family has a 50% chance of inheriting the gene responsible for the genetic disorder.
Treatment Options for Huntington's Disease
Consult your doctor if you notice any changes in your movements, emotional state, or mental abilities. Several different conditions can cause the symptoms of Huntington's disease.
Therefore, it is vital to get a quick and complete diagnosis and to know the best treatment option for your symptoms.
While CBD is not a cure for any disease, it has been shown to help with symptoms you may be experiencing. If you want relief and think CBD may be a solution for you, be sure to check out Mana Artisan Botanics™
No treatment currently that can change the course of Huntington's disease, but medications can alleviate some movement symptoms and some psychiatric disorders. And several interventions can help a person adapt to changes in their abilities over a while.
Drug treatment is likely to evolve throughout the disease, depending on the overall goals of the procedure. Also, medicines to treat specific symptoms can cause side effects that exacerbate other symptoms. As a result, a treatment plan will be periodically reviewed and updated.
Medications for movement disorders
Medicines treating movement disorders include:
- Tetrabenazine (Xenazine) has been specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration to combat the involuntary saccade and chorea movements associated with Huntington's disease.
A severe side effect is a risk of worsening or triggering depression or other psychiatric disorders. Drowsiness, nausea, and restlessness are other possible side effects.
- Haloperidol (Haldol) and Chlorpromazine, have the side effect of suppressing the movement. Therefore, they can be useful in treating chorea.
However, these drugs can worsen involuntary contractions (dystonia) and muscle stiffness.
- Risperidone (Risperdal) and Quetiapine (Seroquel), may have fewer side effects, but they may worsen the symptoms.
Amantadine, Levetiracetam (Keppra) and Clonazepam (Klonopin) are other drugs that can help suppress the chorea.
At high doses, amantadine may exacerbate the cognitive effects of Huntington's disease. It can also cause swelling of the legs and discoloration of the skin.
Side effects of levetiracetam include nausea, stomach discomfort, and mood swings. Clonazepam can exacerbate the cognitive impact of Huntington's disease and cause drowsiness.
Medicines for Psychiatric Disorders
Medications for psychiatric disorders vary depending on the disease and symptoms. Possible treatments include the following:
- Antidepressants: Medications such as Citalopram (Celexa), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) and Sertraline (Zoloft). These drugs can also affect the treatment of an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
- Antipsychotics: Quetiapine (Seroquel), Risperidone (Risperdal), and Olanzapine (Zyprexa), can counteract violent outbursts, anxiety, and other symptoms of mood disorders or psychosis. However, these medications can cause various movement disorders.
- Anticonvulsants: Carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol), Valproate (Depacon), and Lamotrigine (Lamictal) are mood-stabilizing drugs that can help prevent the ups and downs associated with bipolar disorder.
Managing Huntington's disease is demanding on people with the disease, family members, and others who care. As the condition progresses, the person will become more dependent on their caregiver(s).
Several problems will occur with progression and strategies must be developed to address them.
Food and Nutrition
The factors related to diet and nutrition are as follows:
People with Huntington's disease often have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. Weight fluctuations may refer to poor diet, increased calorie requirements due to physical exertion or unknown metabolic problems.
To get a proper diet, you may need to take more than three meals a day or use dietary supplements.
Difficulties in chewing, swallowing, and excellent motor skills can limit the amount of food you eat and increase your risk of suffocation. Problems can be minimized by eliminating distractions during the meal and selecting foods that are easier to digest.
After all, a person with Huntington's disease will progressively need more assistance with eating and drinking.
There is currently no cure for Huntington's disease, but there are several pharmacological treatments for it. The studies mentioned earlier shows how CBD has potential health benefits for Huntington's disease.
Studies show in an increased understanding of cannabinoids' disease-modifying and anti-inflammatory properties for neurodegenerative diseases.
It is reasonable to consider taking CBD as a dietary supplement for mitigating symptoms of the illness. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning that it does not cause a high feeling associated mainly with THC.
How CBD Can Treat Huntington's Disease Symptoms
When your CB1 receptor becomes active, the neurological toxicity caused by neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington's vanishes. Scientific evidence supports this claim.
This study continues the claim, suggesting how there are minor changes in toxicity when CBD cannabinoids act alone. However, by adding other types of cannabinoids and anti-inflammatory channels, the results are more significant. This is known as the entourage effect.
Observing endo-vanilloid receptors, anandamide inhibitors, and CB1 receptors, scientists concluded that CBD oil reduced the incidence of muscle spasms associated with Huntington's disease.
CBD and THC medicines with a 1:1 ratio have shown capabilities to delay Huntington's disease progression.
What's the CBD Dosage for Huntington's Disease?
Based on widespread anecdotal evidence only, the standard CBD dosage recommendation may depend on your body weight. Start with 1 to 6 mg for every 10 pounds of body weight.
We've built a calculator for you so that you can find the lowest starting dose for your body weight below:
The above dosage recommendation is general and merely a suggestion. Your case may differ in that you may need a lot more, while others may need a lot less. Please consult with your physician before supplementing your treatment with CBD.
As for cannabis as a potential treatment for Huntington's disease, we can't help but be impressed by the level of its therapeutic options! In some countries where medical cannabis is legal, the list of eligibility requirements for CBD treatment is not yet available, but we hope this will change very soon.
While we always recommend consulting with your doctor before taking any supplemental treatments for potential ailments, consider asking about CBD oil as a dietary supplement if you find OTC medications do not provide the relief you need for your symptoms.
Mayo Clinic. (2018). Huntington's disease - Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/huntingtons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20356117 [Accessed 21 Oct. 2019].
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