Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis plants. Seemingly every day, studies and clinical trials are providing more information regarding CBD’s potential for supporting healthy functions in the body.
But could cannabis help treat tremors?
Science has unlocked some information, but there’s still more to be known.
What are tremors?
As we look into the potential of using CBD for tremors, it’s important to understand what tremors are first. Tremors are classified as periods of uncontrollable shaking. Most episodes are short in length, but can impact speaking and uncontrollable head movements. Emotional stress tends to make tremors worse.
Sometimes simple movements, walking, exercise and just using the body can induce tremors. For some, this affects the ability to use their hands and have good balance.
Tremors are a common symptom of long-term illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, which about 1 percent of 60-year-old Americans suffer from.
Causes of tremors
There are several reasons why tremors surface. Some medications may have side effects that could cause tremors. Some neurological disorders are also prone to tremors.
Additional causes of tremors include:
•Too much caffeine
•Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
•Overdose of adrenergic bronchodilators
•Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
•Alcohol withdrawal (delirium)
• Hallervorden-Spatz disease
• Chediak-Higashi syndrome
• Traumatic brain injury
These causes of tremors represent a majority of the causes. In some cases, it can be the result of damage to specific nerves in the body that are often misdiagnosed as persistent spasms.
CBD for tremors: what science says so far
The University of California, San Diego received approval to conduct a clinical trial using both CBD and THC in Phase 1. In Phase 2, a placebo will be used. The goal is to determine the efficacy of cannabinoids in supporting neurological movement disorders, such as tremors.
Participants in this clinical trial will be given capsules, as it’s easier for doses to be accurately measured and tracked. The experiment is expected to conclude in December 2019.
Principal Investigator Fatta Nahab, MD of UC San Diego Health said:
“This study will provide key insights. If found to be safe and effective, cannabis would not only serve as an exciting new addition to the limited treatment options currently available for patients with ET, but it might also provide scientists with new insights on essential tremor.”
A study conducted in 2018 regarding CBD and movement disorders indicates that the cannabinoid has anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, neuroprotective and antipsychotic properties. In this study, participants reported decreased psychotic symptoms after 4 weeks of monitored use of CBD. The participants also reported a better quality of life and improvement of motor function.
The results of this study indicate that CBD could support calmness.
Studies about CBD for tremors in animals
With restrictions on human studies on CBD for tremors and other ailments due to the legalization status of cannabis, several studies have been conducted on mice. CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. Dr. Adrian Handforth, MD conducted an investigation of the potential efficacy of CBD for tremors and essential tremor (ET) disorders. In this particular study, a noticeable reduction in tremors in mice was observed.
More specifically, the 5HT1a and TRPV1 receptors seemed to calm their activity after CBD was administered. The 5HT1a receptors are responsible for binding subtype receptors together. These receptors are located in the brain. Some researchers believe that anxiety comes from damaged or impaired function of these receptors.
The TRPV1 receptor plays a role in sending signals throughout the body to express the perception of pain. When the TRPV1 receptor is activated, it’s able to suppress tremors.
Although CBD for tremors appeared successful in this animal study, the results are merely suggestive. Human trials backing up these findings are still ongoing.
Science has been able to provide stepping stones for researchers to build on in further research. The preliminary results indicate that support with CBD for tremors may be feasible, but the information that exists is minimal. Additional research is needed to provide concrete data using large-scale clinical trial data to solidify the efficacy of CBD for tremors.
In the meantime, if you’re considering using CBD for pain relief, our experts are standing by to assist you.