Can Bell’s Palsy Be Successfully Treated With Cannabis?
Patients with a wide variety of medical conditions find relief with cannabis. While the herb is certainly no miracle cure, it can be an extremely useful tool for managing common ailments like pain and inflammation. But, what about a neurological condition like Bell’s Palsy? There are few effective therapies available for the disorder, and the verdict is out on whether cannabis is an effective treatment. However, there may be some reasons to believe that the herb may be helpful. Here’s the scoop on cannabis for Bell’s Palsy.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Bell’s Palsy is more common in patients with certain underlying medical conditions, especially viral infections. Some of the underlying conditions associated with Bell’s Palsy include:
- Herpes simplex virus
- Viral meningitis
- Chronic middle ear infection
- High blood pressure
Cannabis for Bell’s Palsy
Unfortunately, there is little research on the effectiveness of cannabis for Bell’s Palsy. Yet, pharmaceutical researchers are already looking into topical cannabis-based drugs as apotential treatment for the symptoms of this painful and frustrating neurological condition.
Though both clinical and preclinical research is sorely needed, here’s why cannabis should be explored as a symptom management tool in Bell’s Palsy:
1. Neuroprotective antioxidant
In preclinical models, various cannabis compounds have been found to be neuroprotective antioxidants. An antioxidant is a compound that reduces the damage caused by free radicals, such as pollution and other toxins that can build up inside the body. These free radicals can cause damage to cells and DNA.
As neuroprotective antioxidants, cannabis compounds are thought to be beneficial for reducing daily damage to nerve cells. Damage to nerve cells can cause inflammation, which may worsen the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy.
While no substantial research has been performed on the subject, the U.S. government does have a patent (US 6630507) for the use of cannabinoids as protective agents against a wide array of neurological conditions. These include inflammatory diseases as well as neurological traumas.
Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy begin when the facial nerve is compressed or inflamed. Cannabis is a potent anti-inflammatory, which is one of the reasons why the herb is being evaluated as a potential tool in neurological conditions.
In fact, research has suggested that cannabis can reduce the inflammation of nerve cells associated with some of the most debilitating degenerative disorders. In 2016, scientists discovered that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive in the cannabis plant, successfully reduced neural inflammation in rodents with an induced model of Alzheimer’s disease.
Reducing inflammation may ease some of the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy. Though, no research on the subject has been completed. However, many patients with similar conditions like cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis find symptom relief with medical cannabis.
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