Muscular dystrophy is one of the most common hereditary muscle diseases and a cure has not yet been discovered. However, hope is coming from the Cnr Biomolecular Chemistry Institute in Pozzuoli. In fact, according to the researchers, some cannabis molecules would be able to counter the course of the disease and recover part of the motor functions that have been lost.
The study was conducted on animals and published in the journal Nature Communications. This disease mainly affects male children and in addition to affecting the muscles, it also affects certain organs such as the heart, lungs and brain. But let’s better understand how cannabis could help alleviate disease symptoms.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most frequent inherited muscle disorder. Male children are mainly affected. The onset is early and, in addition to the skeletal muscles, many other organs are affected such as the heart, lungs and brain. Even today, a cure is not available against this pathology. A new hope comes from the research laboratories of the Institute of biomolecular chemistry of the National Research Council (Cnr-Icb) of Pozzuoli led by Vincenzo Di Marzo, where it was discovered that in an animal model it is possible to significantly slow down the course of the disease and recover lost motor functions through drugs that regulate the function of cannabinoids produced by our own body. The study is published in Nature Communications.
„We have been working with our researchers for years to study the ever increasing number of molecules that make up the system of endocannabinoids and the receptors and enzymes connected to it, from a chemical-structural and functional point of view,“ explains Di Marzo. “In many cases our studies have shown how the alterations of this system are associated with various neurological pathologies such as senile dementia, epilepsy, acute and chronic pain, and with different forms of cancer. For some of them, little or not at all clinically treatable, drugs that act, among other things, by regulating the function of endocannabinoids are having a positive response „.
Alzheimer’s is a terrifying disease. You never know who will hit, nor when. Slowly, your brain deteriorates until you are no longer the person you once were. It is difficult to say to whom it hurts more, whether to the individual who contracts it or to who is to assist while taking away a loved one. Alzheimer’s is incurable, and is the major cause of disability for older people. Worldwide, around 44 million people suffer from this disease, and it is estimated that the undiagnosed cases are triple.
Research is still ongoing, but cannabis may be able to help prevent Alzheimer’s as well as treat its symptoms. The accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain, and the inflammation that accompanies it, are believed to be the main factors contributing to the development of the disease.
THC blocks the formation of these plaques, and reduces the inflammation surrounding those already present. At the same time, CBD prevents cell death which leads to further neurotoxicity. Cannabis is also able to stimulate neurogenesis, which is the spontaneous growth of new neurons in the hippocampus. To top it all, the herb relieves problematic secondary symptoms such as agitation and loss of appetite and motor functions, making a general improvement in the quality of life of Alzheimer’s patients.
Cerebral palsy is a set of neurological disorders that affects the patient’s muscle tone, coordination, and motor ability. Symptoms vary, but this is a debilitating disease that usually progresses to the point where those affected lose their ability to walk and be self-sufficient. Patients also suffer from seizures and chronic pain. About 3 in 1000 children suffer from cerebral palsy.
It has been found that cannabis can benefit cerebral palsy patients in several ways. It reduces seizures, muscle spasms, and pain, but also has an even more important benefit for these patients. As the disease progresses, many individuals with cerebral palsy lose their ability to speak clearly. They often stutter, or suffer from other language impediments that make it difficult for them to communicate verbally with others.
Cannabis clearly offers real health benefits, which can no longer be questioned. However, more research is needed, and may not work for all patients, or for all conditions. Now that research restrictions are being lifted, we should see this area of medicine advancing at a rapid pace. The hope is that this will lead to more effective treatments, which will eliminate the symptoms without annoying side effects — this in case you cannot find a definitive cure for each disease.