How Cannabis Treats Huntington’s Disease

Photo Credit: Lindsay Hanford, Geoff B Hall, Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Lindsay Hanford, Geoff B Hall, Wikipedia

Huntington's disease damages nerve cells in the brain and causes patients to suffer physically and mentally, resulting in symptoms like involuntary movements, slurred speech, amnesia, and personality changes. Cannabis may be to relieve symptoms associated with the disease and even slow its progression. In the area of the brain most affected by Huntington's, the striatum, patients lack sufficient levels of CB1 receptors, When activated by cannabinoids, these receptors help preserve nerve cells. One study in Brain: A Journal of Neruology found THC activated these receptors in order to decrease symptom severity and the halt the progression of the disease. 

Another study published in Movement Disorders found medications that mimic THC like nabilone improved chorea, cognition, and behavior in patients. Another cannabinoid, CBD, could provide neuroprotective benefits for Huntington's disease patients, and one study in the Journal of Neuroscience Research found a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC decreased inflammation and shielded striatal neurons from damage. A study from the Journal of Neuroscience found that activating CB2 receptors actually extended life span and suppressed motor deficits in patients. Lastly, a study found in the Journal of British Pharmacology, found that by activating CB receptors, cannabinoids controlled the brain's antioxidant defenses and limited the toxicity of microglial cells. 

This information has been provided by Health MJ and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.