Preclinical research indicates that medical Cannabis may be neuroprotective against demyelination of neurons in the human brain, which is of enormous benefit to patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis.
What is demyelination?
Demyelination is the destruction or damage to the myelin sheath that surrounds and protects nerve cells (neurons). When demyelination occurs, the nervous system cannot function properly and symptoms are manifested depending on where the lesions occur.
The opposite process is remyelination: glial cells, the support of our neurons, generate new myelin to repair the damaged myelin sheath.
Demyelination and Multiple Sclerosis
Demyelination is very common in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), which is the most common of all demyelinating diseases.
In this autoimmune disease, immune system cells attack the myelin sheath during flares or exacerbations.
When a flare-up leads to myelin damage, the transmission of nerve signals loses speed and efficiency, and may even be completely blocked.
As with other symptoms, the role that medical Cannabis, including the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol), may play in improving this process is being studied.
Medical Cannabis and demyelination
A medical study has suggested increased coherence of the brain's white matter after treatment with medical cannabis. What does this mean? We'll tell you!
White matter is found in the deeper tissues of the brain (subcortical). It contains nerve fibers (axons), which are extensions of nerve cells (neurons). These nerve fibers are surrounded by myelin. Greater brain coherence represents a great benefit, since coherence is the measure of the degree of synchrony between two or more regions of the brain. Low brain coherence appears in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.
The conclusion reached by the aforementioned study is that increased CBD exposure was associated with greater coherence (lower diffusivity) of brain matter after 6 months of treatment, extending the evidence from existing preclinical research indicating that CBD may be neuroprotective against demyelination.
However, additional research is needed to more accurately define the clinical efficacy of medical Cannabis treatment, as well as the risks and benefits of long-term use.
In our Phexia blog we will continue to inform you about new research on the subject, keep reading!
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