Wrecking Out The Truth: Can Cannabis Help Improve Huntington’s?
Cannabis has been classified as a schedule 1 drug which has detrimental effects on our health. But gradually, modern researchers have found out that cannabis, in actual, has many clinical or therapeutic applications. It provides ease to many problems, especially that of neuropathic pain like nausea, glaucoma, movement disorders etc. It also helps in aiding diseases like cancer, HIV and epilepsy.
Furthermore, it is seen that cannabis is also helpful in treating Huntington’s disease which is an inherited disorder and may lead to the death of the brain cells. To get a clear light into how exactly it works, let us dig deeper into the world of cannabis and how it may help in treating Huntington.
What is cannabis?
Taking its birth from cannabis sativa plant, this herb is renowned everywhere since ages for its mind blowing properties. People have been consuming it for therapeutic as well as recreational purposes. It causes a feeling of high and helps people relax, but can also cause addiction and anxiety. The main ingredients present in the cannabis are cannabinoids which are present on the cells.
What is Huntington’s disease?
Huntington disease (HD) is a hereditary, neurodegenerative illness with physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms. This neurological condition happens as a result of genetic transformation which goes around to form a mutated huntingtin protein. This mutated huntingtin protein causes few parts of the brain to die. Consequently, many toxic proteins accumulate in the brain and corrupt it, resulting in neurological symptoms. This disease is highly devastating as it ruins the brain cells, or the neurons.
There are many symptoms of this disease like weight loss, flawed movements, impaired insight, depression, anxiety, difficulty with focus and so on. People carrying the huntington’s disease are born with an impaired gene. Currently, there is no known cure for this disease. However, there are several medications available which can help minimise the symptoms of this disease.
Cannabinoids and Huntington’s disease:
The British Journal of Pharmacology have studied and detailed about the influence of cannabinoids on neurodegenerative disorders like huntington’s.
In fact, many scientists all across the globe are trying to study the effects of cannabis on this peculiar disease. Most of this experimenting has been done on the animals carrying the disease causing gene or in the labs. Advance researches put forward the fact that the chemicals aiming at CB1 receptors shelters cells against various toxicants. In the mice, the CB1 receptor cells have been found diminishing whereas there was seen a spike in the CB2 receptor cells. The fall of CB1 receptor cells maybe linked to the indications of the disease as the mice who were short of the CB1 receptor cells have even poor voluntary movement. Another way of handling this disease is the rise in the CB2 receptor cells. The mice which was treated with CB2 had lesser nerve cells death as it pacifies and calms the immune system of the brain.
These studies performed in animals had miraculous results but it isn’t necessary that it will work the same way in humans too. Human beings are very complicated and these practices may leave dire results. There is no clear evidence claiming how cannabis is helpful in treating HD, it may help in healing the symptoms of the disease like pain, dystonia and sleeplessness. It is also helpful in lessening the side effects of the various medications of HD like tiredness, restlessness and hyperexcitability. There is no specific cure for this disease, but it will certainly help in enhancing the quality of life.
Like we have seen, there is no specific study which suggests that cannabis is actually helpful in treating HD or not. However, it is certainly helpful for people who are not able to bear the symptoms or the side effects of the disease. The benefits of the plant in treating the full disease is still known and it is recommended to consume lesser amounts of THC otherwise it may not be an appropriate treatment for patients.
Contributed by Maria Alford