CBD Oil And Cerebral Palsy


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A study posted on the Journal of Child Neurology found that CBD treatments reduced cerebral palsy symptoms, such as dystonia, sleep disturbances, and pain. Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition affecting motor function, muscle tone, and body posture. Can CBD help with the neurological symptoms of cerebral palsy? Here we outline the potential benefits. As CBD has grown in popularity, many patients are hopeful that it can help treat the effects of cerebral palsy. Learn more here.

Best CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy – August 2022

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a congenital condition affecting movements, muscle tone, and body posture. This lifelong condition is diagnosed during infancy or early childhood.

The primary cause of CP is a brain injury or malformation during neonatal development (12) .

Symptoms of cerebral palsy include muscle contractions , spasticity, lack of muscle coordination and balance, involuntary movements, speech delay, learning difficulties, lack of motor skills, and tremors .

The types of cerebral palsy depends on the symptoms presented by the individual.

Spastic cerebral palsy presents with spasms. Axatic cerebral palsy causes trouble with muscle coordination and balance. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy causes involuntary movements.

CP treatment options include surgical procedures, physiotherapy, botox injections, or oral muscle relaxants, such as diazepam, dantrolene , and baclofen (13) .

However, muscle relaxants have several side effects , including lightheadedness, lack of muscle control (ataxia), blurred vision, and depression (14) .

Moreover, individuals taking muscle relaxants are also at risk of dependency and withdrawal symptoms (15) .

Meanwhile, CBD has potential health benefits that may be useful for people with CP.

CBD vs Spasticity

Currently, there is only one direct study on cannabidiol’s ( CBD ) therapeutic effects on cerebral palsy symptoms .

The Wolfson Medical Center conducted a clinical trial using CBD and THC (with ratios 20 to 1 and 6 to 1) on children with cerebral palsy (CP) .

The study, led by child neurologist , Dr. Luba Blumkin , found that the CBD treatment significantly reduced dystonia , spasticity , sleep difficulties, and pain among CP patients (16) .

The clinical trial’s result was supported by other studies on CBD ’s efficacy in treating motor disorders .

A 2018 study posted in Neurological Disorders mentioned that CBD , with the combination of THC , reduced spasticity in human subjects (17) . The authors attributed this hypothesis to CBD ’s neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and muscle relaxant properties (18) .

CP and multiple sclerosis have often been studied together due to similarities in muscle spasms and stiffness symptoms exhibited by the conditions (19) . Researchers mention that both conditions cause upper neuron motor dysfunction (20) .

A 2015 review indicated that the first-line treatment for both conditions involved muscle relaxant and anti-convulsant agents (21) .

However, the authors noted that young children and the elderly displayed adverse effects from the treatments (22) .

A study posted by Frontiers in Neurology has noted that CBD treatments improved mobility and reduced spasticity among multiple sclerosis patients. Moreover, CBD ’s efficacy significantly reduced the usage of prescription medicines (23) .

CBD vs. Cerebral Palsy-Associated Conditions

CBD might also potentially treat other conditions associated with CP.

Studies mention that 23-46% of children with CP experience sleep disturbances. These are usually caused by the child’s immobility and pain (24) .

Due to inactivity, adults with CP have higher risks of anxiety, depression (25) , cardiovascular disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis (26) .

Lastly, studies have shown that children with CP have a high risk of developing seizure disorders. The authors indicated that spastic tetraplegia, a form of cerebral palsy , might be associated with seizures (27) .

A study found that CBD reduced depression in human subjects (28) . Moreover, studies found that CBD has therapeutic potential in treating high blood pressure (29) and arthritis (30) .

A study posted by the Permanente Journal also demonstrated CBD ’s efficacy in reducing anxiety scores and improving insomnia among human subjects. The authors observed that among the 72 adults who participated, 79.2% had reduced anxiety, while 66.7% improved their sleep scores (31) .

Lastly, researchers confirmed CBD ’s efficacy in treating epileptic seizures, especially in pediatric age (32) . The epileptic drug, Epidiolex, is the first FDA-approved CBD drug used to treat rare forms of epilepsy (33) .

How CBD Oil Works to Help With Cerebral Palsy

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is studied for its role in maintaining homeostasis in the human body. Studies have acknowledged that activation of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, plays a role in modulating functions in the central nervous system (34) .

Researchers indicated the high density of cannabinoid receptors in the cerebellum and basal ganglia (areas that control motor function ) (35) .

Studies showed that CB1 expression plays a role in motor function and spasticity among patients with neurodegenerative disorders (36) .

A study released by Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders has shown that CB1 receptors in the CNS pathways are targets that can deliver antispastic effects. The author added that treatments using cannabinoids might potentially stimulate these targets (37) .

Moreover, CB2 expression has been observed to block inflammatory cytokin es (proteins released by cells) in the ce ntral nervous system (CNS). Studies explained that inflammation in the CNS might be the cause of various symptoms, such as tremors and spasms (38) .

Still, more studies are needed to learn how cannabinoids might influence the ECS and CNS of cerebral palsy patients .

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy

The Pros
  • CBD treatments significantly reduced cerebral palsy symptoms , such as dystonia , spasticity , sleep difficulties, and pain (39) .
  • CBD ’s efficacy in reducing spasms led to decreased usage of muscle relaxant and anti-convulsant agents (40) .
  • CBD might reduce anxiety, insomnia (41) , and depression in adults with CP (42) .
  • CBD has therapeutic potentials in lowering blood pressure (43) and alleviating joint pain (44) .
  • CBD’s efficacy in treating seizures has been proven by studies (45) .
  • CBD has been acknowledged to have an excellent safety profile for human consumption (46) .
The Cons
  • CBD may cause side effects , such as drowsiness, loss of appetite, and dry mouth (47) .
  • A recent study discovered that high CBD dosage caused hepatotoxicity (liver damage) in rat models (48) .
  • CBD is not an approved treatment for CP, and further studies are needed to determine any possible benefits.

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Cerebral Palsy

The echinacea plant has been traditionally used as an alternative or complementary medicine for CP (49) .

Some of the herb’s medicinal claims include improved blood circulation, neural connections, and reduced spasticity . However, until studies prove otherwise, echinacea’s clinical value remains to be seen.

B12 and omega-3 fatty acid vitamins have been recognized to improve cognitive function. A 2017 study mentioned that early intervention using B12 and omega 3 supplements might improve cognitive functions (50) .

CT scans demonstrated this hypothesis following B12 and omega-3 treatments. Children who have hypertonia (muscle stiffness), brain atrophy, and delayed milestones and speech displayed improvements in neuroimaging results (51) .

Zingiber officinale (ginger) had been studied for its potential to improve brain functions. A study indicated that ginger root extracts enhanced both attentive and cognitive processing in human subjects (52) .

Although CBD has not been shown to improve children’s learning capabilities, it has been acknowledged for its neuroprotective properties (53) .

A study posted by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology indicated that CBD reduced hypoxia-ischemia (brain damage) and improved brain function in animal models (54) .

Moreover, CBD has been observed to possess muscle relaxant properties that might be useful in alleviating hypertonia (55) .

How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy

The recommended CBD oil for individuals with CP is the full-spectrum option.

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the major cannabinoids in hemp, such as CBD , cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ).

Together, these compounds create a cannabinoid synergy known as the “entourage effect.”

A review published in Frontiers in Plant Science indicated that the entourage effect increased the activity of ECS receptors (56) .

The author also explained how CBD, combined with other cannabinoids, displayed high efficacy compared to isolated compounds (57) .

Another study demonstrated the entourage effect through a controlled trial on patients with chronic pain (58) .

The authors found that THC treatment failed to reduce pain scores significantly. However, treatments containing THC and CBD showed better results (59) .

Individuals who want to experience the entourage effect without THC may opt for broad-spectrum CBD . Broad-spectrum contains all the same compounds from full-spectrum except THC .

Cannabis products, such as medical marijuana and cannabis oil , are high in THC . Depending on the dispensary , some cannabis products may contain 28% THC (60) .

In the United States, CBD products are prohibited from carrying more than 0.3% THC (61) .

Individuals who want to take CBD as monotherapy may opt for CBD isolates (99% pure CBD ).

Additional tips to consider before buying CBD :

  • Look for the product’s certificate of analysis (COA) to determine cannabinoid content and safety profile.
  • Do thorough research and check testimonials and reviews of CBD brands.
  • Send inquiries to the customer service department for more information.

CBD Dosage for Cerebral Palsy

More studies are needed to find the appropriate CBD dosage for CP symptoms. However, for any medical condition, e xperts recommend that first-time CBD users start with a low dose and gradually increase when the body gets used to CBD .

A study posted by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology collected thousands of clinical CBD dosing data on various health conditions (62) .

The authors indicated that appropriate dosing might range from 1 to 50 milligrams per kilogram a day (63) .

Moreover, Pharmacology and Pharmacy shared a study explaining that CBD has a bell-shaped dose-response. The authors observed that a limited CBD dose was enough to produce significant results (64) .

A study from Frontiers of Pharmacology supported the bell-shaped dose-response. The authors observed that the 300mg dose reduced anxiety scores better than 150mg and 600mg dosings (65) .

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However, individuals with CP must practice caution when experimenting with CBD dosage.

A study released by Molecules found that extremely high CBD doses can cause liver damage in rat models (66) .

How to Take CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy

The most straightforward administration for individuals with CP is through oral or sublingual delivery.

Oral CBD products include capsules, softgels, and gummies. Individuals may take oral CBD with or without a meal.

Sublingual delivery methods are available through CBD tinctures. CBD may be taken by using an applicator to put a few drops under the tongue.

Studies have shown that sublingual and oral administration allows plasma concentration to last three to four hours after intake (67) .

Moreover, taking CBD through oral and sublingual administration was observed to provide high plasma concentrations when taken with a meal. However, CBD intake during an empty stomach produced faster results (68) . However, consuming CBD on a full stomach actually provides maximal absorption.

CBD smoke or vapor inhalation is another way of taking CBD. While it is not recommended for children with CP, it may be an option for adults who have the approval of their licensed physicians.

The lungs are very efficient in absorbing CBD into the body. There is evidence that vaping or smoking delivered plasma concentrations into the bloodstream in less than 10 minutes (69) .

Vaping or smoking CBD may be useful for quick relief from pain, severe spasms, or tremors . However, vaping may present some side effects , such as shortness of breath, chest pain, chemical irritation, and allergic reactions (70) .


Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition. Recommended treatments, alternative, and complementary medicine are only utilized to improve the quality of life .

Studies have shown that CBD significantly reduced cerebral palsy symptoms , such as dystonia , spastic movements , sleep difficulties, and pain (71) .

CBD ’s efficacy in reducing spasms led to a decreased use of muscle relaxant and anti-convulsant agents (72) .

Moreover, studies have shown that CBD might be useful in treating medical conditions that may arise concurrently with CP, such as high blood pressure (73) , arthritis (74) , and seizures (75) .

Researchers have shown that CBD might improve mental health due to its sleep-promoting, anxiolytic (76) , and antidepressant properties (77) .

Whatever medication is being used, individuals with CP must take the necessary measures to improve mobility and function. Participating in physical therapy, rehabilitation (78) , and speech therapy (79) may positively impact their quality of life.

Individuals with CP must consult with a licensed physician before taking CBD into their daily regimen.

CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy: Is It an Effective Treatment for CP Conditions?

Children with cerebral palsy (CP) suffer from poor physical development manifested in problems with motor function, muscle spasticity, and body posture.

While CP has no identified cure, there’s a range of treatments that can tackle the symptoms associated with the condition. Parents of a child with cerebral palsy will look for anything that could alleviate their kid’s discomfort and allow them to function as well as possible.

Recent studies have highlighted CBD oil as a potential treatment option for children with cerebral palsy, especially when treating its physical symptoms and managing associated conditions.

Let’s take a look at what science says about the health benefits of CBD for cerebral palsy.

CBD Oil and Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that negatively impacts a child’s physical development, including muscle tone, body posture, and movements.

The main trigger of CP is a brain injury or malformation during the neonatal stage.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy include lack of muscle coordination and balance, speech delay, learning difficulties, tremors, involuntary movements, muscle contraction, and spasticity.

These symptoms determine the type of cerebral palsy. For example, axatic cerebral palsy causes muscle coordination and balance; spastic cerebral palsy manifests with spasms; dyskinetic cerebral palsy involves involuntary movements.

The treatments of cerebral palsy range from physiotherapy to botox injections to oral muscle relaxants and surgical procedures.

Muscle relaxants can provide short-term relief, but the benefits are outweighed by potential side effects such as blurred vision, lack of muscle control, or depression. On top of that, people relying on muscle relaxants also have a higher chance of developing dependency and withdrawal symptoms.

CBD has been widely studied in terms of its effects on the brain and nervous system. We know that it can reduce the number and frequency of seizure attacks in epileptic patients and muscle spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis .

But does it help with cerebral palsy?

Let’s take a look.

Does CBD Oil Help With Cerebral Palsy?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex neurobiological network that maintains homeostasis throughout the human body. Studies have identified cannabinoid receptors — CB1 and CB2 — in virtually every region of the human body. Their highest concentrations are found in the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and immune system.

Researchers have found high cannabinoid receptors in the basal ganglia and cerebellum — the areas that control motor function.

Studies showed that CB1 expression is engaged in spasticity and motor function among patients with neurodegenerative conditions .

A study posted in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders has shown that CB1 receptors in the central nervous system are targets that can trigger antispastic effects. The authors concluded that cannabinoid-based treatments might potentially improve the signaling of these targets to help improve muscle movements like tremors or spasms .

Furthermore, CB2 expression has been found to block inflammatory proteins called cytokines in the central nervous system. Studies explained that inflamed CNS might be the underlying cause of various symptoms linked to cerebral palsy, such as tremors and spasms.

That being said, more clinical studies are needed to confirm these initial findings —and to help us learn how the activation of ECS can help children with cerebral palsy.

What Does CBD Oil Do to Your Brain?

CBD is the modulator of the ECS. In other words, it circulates in the body to ensure the optimal functioning of this system. The ECS produces its own endocannabinoids whenever homeostasis gets compromised; these molecules work to bring back the desired equilibrium and prevent various conditions from developing.

Endocannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors engaged in controlling motor function, muscle tone, and posture.

While CBD doesn’t directly mimic the effects of endocannabinoids (like THC does), it indirectly enhances endocannabinoid signaling in the ECS; it also changes the activity of specific enzymes and hormones responsible for the breakdown of endocannabinoids .

When you take CBD oil, cannabidiol slows down the metabolism of your natural endocannabinoids while signaling increased production through several receptor-independent mechanisms.

For example, CBD acts on serotonin and GABA receptors, which play an important role in regulating your nerve cells. It can also mitigate pain signals by binding itself to TRPV-1 vanilloid receptors engaged in pain transmission to the brain.

CBD for Cerebral Palsy Muscle Spasms

To date, only one study has investigated the direct effects of CBD on cerebral palsy symptoms.

The Wolfson Medical Center conducted a clinical trial involving the use of CBD and THC (with ratios 20:1 and 6:1) on children with cerebral palsy. The research team found that the CBD treatment significantly reduced spasticity, sleep difficulties, dystonia, and pain among their patients .

Other studies on CBD’s efficacy in treating muscle spasticity seem to support the above findings.

For example, a 2018 study from Neurological Disorders mentioned that a combination of CBD and THC reduced spasticity in human subjects. The authors attributed their results to CBD’s anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and muscle-relaxant properties .

Cerebral palsy has often been studied with multiple sclerosis due to similarities in muscle spasms and stiffness exhibited by patients suffering from these conditions. Researchers agree that both diseases lead to upper neuron motor dysfunction.

Finally, a study posted by Frontiers in Neurology has concluded that CBD treatments improved mobility and reduced spasticity among patients with multiple sclerosis. Interestingly, CBD also significantly reduced the use of prescription medicines .

CBD vs. Cerebral Palsy-Associated Conditions

Cerebral palsy is often accompanied by other conditions that could benefit from the use of CBD.

Studies mention that up to 56% of children with CP experience sleep deprivation caused by the child’s pain and problems with mobility.

Due to lower physical activity levels, adults with CP are also likely to suffer from anxiety and depression , rheumatoid arthritis , and cardiovascular disorders .

Recently, researchers have shown that children with CP have a higher risk of developing epilepsy. This may be caused by spastic tetraplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that may cause seizures.

One study has found that CBD reduces depression in human subjects. On top of that, research indicates that CBD is a potential therapeutic agent for patients with hypertension and rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

A study published in The Permanente Journal also demonstrated CBD’s efficacy in easing anxiety and improving sleep quality among humans. The authors reported that 79.2% of adults participating in this study had reduced anxiety, while 66.7% had better sleep scores .

CBD Dosage for Cerebral Palsy

More studies are needed to establish the right CBD dosage guidelines for cerebral palsy. However, physicians recommend that first-time CBD users start with a low amount for any health condition and gradually increase their dose until they experienced the desired effects without any adverse reactions.

For the general Dosage Guidelines, head over to our in-depth post.

A study published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology gathered thousands of clinical CBD dosing data on various diseases .

The authors summarized that the effective dose might range from 1 to 50 milligrams per kilogram daily.

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In a study from Pharmacology and Pharmacology , CBD was found to produce a bell-shaped dose-response when administered in pure form (without other cannabinoids and terpenes). The research team observed that sometimes, a small dose might be enough to produce significant results, while higher doses may turn out counter-productive .

A study from Frontiers of Pharmacology confirmed the above findings. The authors observed that a 300 mg dose of CBD was enough to reduce anxiety scores, while a 600 mg produced less pronounced effects .

CBD oil is generally safe and well-tolerated — even in doses as high as 1,500 mg daily. That being said, you may experience a few mild reactions when you overdo it, including dry mouth, dizziness, irritation, appetite fluctuation, and diarrhea.

Consult your doctor before buying CBD oil for cerebral palsy for professional guidance and tips on using CBD to avoid negative interactions with other medications and supplements.

How to Take CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy

The best and the most straightforward way to take CBD oil for cerebral palsy is through sublingual use (under the tongue).

You can use a few drops of CBD oil or tinctures beneath the tongue and hold it there for up to 60 seconds. This way, CBD will absorb through a set of tiny capillaries in your mouth, reducing the amount of time it needs to kick in — and improving its bioavailability.

Then you swallow the rest.

CBD is also available in oral forms, such as gummies or softgel capsules and pills . Both products deliver CBD to your system through the gastrointestinal tract. Since the CBD needs to be metabolized by the liver first, oral products have delayed onset and lower bioavailability. On the other hand, the effects last longer because CBD is released gradually into the bloodstream.

You can also try CBD vapes, which offer the fastest and most effective way to experience the benefits of CBD. Vaporized CBD absorbs into your system through the lung tissue, so the effects are almost instantaneous. That being said, vaping isn’t appropriate for children, so if you’re looking for a CBD product to help with CP symptoms in your child, we recommend going with oils or gummies.

CBD vs. Other Natural Treatments for Cerebral Palsy

There are several alternative remedies for cerebral palsy that you can use instead of or combined with CBD.

Echinacea is one such remedy. Some of its medicinal claims include improved cardiovascular health, neural connections, and reduced spasticity. However, echinacea’s therapeutic value remains in the anecdotal sphere until clinical studies investigate it.

B12 vitamins and supplements containing omega-3 have been recognized to improve cognition in people with neurological disorders. A 2017 study mentioned B12 and omega-3 supplements as a means of early intervention to prevent neurodegenerative disorders .

CT scans conducted after supplementation demonstrated that children with hypertonia (muscle stiffness), brain atrophy, and delayed milestones, and speech showed improved neuroimaging results.

Another natural remedy for cerebral palsy is ginger. It has been studied for its potential to enhance cognitive functioning. One study found that ginger root extracts effectively enhanced attention and cognitive processing among human participants.

While CBD may not improve children’s learning capabilities, it has been acknowledged for its positive effects on the nervous system. According to a British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study, CBD can reduce hypoxia-ischemia (brain damage) and improve brain function in animal subjects.

Last but not least, CBD acts as a muscle relaxant that might be useful in easing hypertonia.

How to Choose CBD Oil for Cerebral Palsy

Full-spectrum CBD oil is the recommended choice for individuals with cerebral palsy.

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains CBD alongside other major cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBG, CBN, and traces of THC. It also comes with terpenes, which are aromatic molecules modulating the effects of cannabinoids.

Together, these compounds create a synergy known as the entourage effect.

In a review from Frontiers in Plant Science , the authors found that the entourage effect increased the activity of cannabinoid receptors. They also explained how CBD, combined with other phytochemicals, displayed superior efficacy compared to isolated molecules.

Another study supported the entourage effect through a controlled trial on patients with chronic pain. The research team found that while increasing THC levels failed to reduce pain scores significantly, THC and CBD treatments showed better results.

If you are concerned about the trace amounts of THC in your CBD oil, you may opt for a broad-spectrum extract. It doesn’t contain any THC but still offers the other valuable compounds from hemp.

There are also CBD isolates, which are just that — pure CBD. They don’t have any odor and flavor; they also carry the highest dose of CBD per serving. That being said, CBD isolate is devoid of the entourage effect, which may negatively affect its efficacy in treating cerebral palsy.

Wrapping It Up: Can CBD Oil Help with Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disease. While it has no cure, some treatments can reduce its symptoms, contributing to the improved quality of life.

Studies suggest that CBD can significantly reduce the symptoms of cerebral palsy, such as muscle spasms, pain, sleep difficulties, abrupt movements, and anxiety.

In clinical trials, CBD use was associated with a decreased intake of muscle relaxants and anticonvulsants.

Moreover, research has demonstrated that CBD might be useful in treating many side conditions associated with cerebral palsy, such as arthritis, depression, and hypertension.

You can use CBD oil to control the physical symptoms, but health experts also recommend taking it for improved mental health due to its anxiolytic and sleep-promoting properties.

Just keep in mind that CBD is just one of the many tools to improve your quality of life. Participating in physical therapy, rehabilitation, and speech therapy is always a good idea to include in your regimen.

Reference Links:

  1. Zettl, U. K., Rommer, P., Hipp, P., & Patejdl, R. (2016). Evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of THC-CBD oromucosal spray in symptom management of patients with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. Therapeutic advances in neurological disorders , 9 (1), 9–30.
  2. Leweke, F. M., Piomelli, D., Pahlisch, F., Muhl, D., Gerth, C. W., Hoyer, C., Klosterkötter, J., Hellmich, M., & Koethe, D. (2012). Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Translational psychiatry , 2 (3), e94.
  3. Sales, A. J., Crestani, C. C., Guimarães, F. S., & Joca, S. (2018). The antidepressant-like effect induced by Cannabidiol is dependent on brain serotonin levels. Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry , 86 , 255–261. [1]
  4. Pretzsch, C. M., Freyberg, J., Voinescu, B., Lythgoe, D., Horder, J., Mendez, M. A., Wichers, R., Ajram, L., Ivin, G., Heasman, M., Edden, R., Williams, S., Murphy, D., Daly, E., & McAlonan, G. M. (2019). Effects of cannabidiol on brain excitation and inhibition systems; a randomized placebo-controlled single-dose trial during magnetic resonance spectroscopy in adults with and without autism spectrum disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology , 44 (8), 1398–1405. [2]
  5. Muller, C., Morales, P., & Reggio, P. H. (2019). Cannabinoid Ligands Targeting TRP Channels. Frontiers in molecular neuroscience , 11 , 487. [3]
  6. Libzon, S., Schleider, L. B., Saban, N., Levit, L., Tamari, Y., Linder, I., Lerman-Sagie, T., & Blumkin, L. (2018). Medical Cannabis for Pediatric Moderate to Severe Complex Motor Disorders. Journal of child neurology , 33 (9), 565–571.
  7. Zettl, U. K., Rommer, P., Hipp, P., & Patejdl, R. (2016). Evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of THC-CBD oromucosal spray in symptom management of patients with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. Therapeutic advances in neurological disorders , 9 (1), 9–30.
  8. Rudroff, T., & Sosnoff, J. (2018). Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis. Frontiers in neurology , 9 , 183. [4]
  9. Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal , 23 , 18–041.
  10. Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Bellman, Z. D., Yates, A. S., England, T. J., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2019). A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations. British journal of clinical pharmacology , 85 (9), 1888–1900.
  11. Gallily, Ruth & Yekhtin, Zhannah & Hanus, Lumir. (2015). Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacology & Pharmacy. 06. 75-85. 10.4236/pp.2015.62010.
  12. Zuardi, A. W., Rodrigues, N. P., Silva, A. L., Bernardo, S. A., Hallak, J., Guimarães, F. S., & Crippa, J. (2017). Inverted U-Shaped Dose-Response Curve of the Anxiolytic Effect of Cannabidiol during Public Speaking in Real Life. Frontiers in pharmacology , 8 , 259.
  13. Khaire, A., Rathod, R., Randhir, K., Kale, A., & Joshi, S. (2016). Combined supplementation of vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids across two generations improve cardiometabolic variables in rats. Food & function , 7 (9), 3910–3919.
Nina Julia

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

Is CBD a Viable Treatment for Cerebral Palsy?

While there’s no cure for cerebral palsy, studies show CBD may be able to help with some of the symptoms.

Article By

This article will explore the most relevant studies into the effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) for treating cerebral palsy.

Research has found that CBD has potential broad therapeutic use as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), neuroprotectant, muscle relaxant, and pain-reliever without eliciting the intoxicating effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Table of Contents

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a congenital condition that affects the brain, as well as body movements, muscle tone, and posture. It is the most common childhood motor disability and is often diagnosed early in childhood or even in infancy.

This debilitating condition is caused by a lack of oxygen flowing to the brain. It can occur in the womb or during a difficult birth. It can also be caused by meningitis or a serious head injury.

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There are four different types of cerebral palsy:

  1. Spastic CP
  2. Athetoid CP
  3. Ataxic CP
  4. Mixed CP

Each affects the body differently, giving some patients the ability to be more independent than others.

Does CBD Oil Help with Cerebral Palsy?

There is only one FDA-approved CBD drug — Epidiolex — and it’s used to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. However, both research and patient testimonies strongly suggest that CBD does help manage symptoms of cerebral palsy.

Common symptoms of cerebral palsy include muscle spasms, tremors, lack of motor skills, speech delay, and tremors. The way cerebral palsy presents is dependent on which type of cerebral palsy a patient suffers from.

Only one known study has specifically examined the effects of CBD on cerebral palsy symptoms. However, there are numerous studies that have been conducted on CBD and multiple sclerosis, a condition that has similar neurological symptoms.

The study revealed that CBD helped reduce spasticity, sleep difficulties, and overall decreased chronic pain in cerebral palsy patients [3]. These findings were supported by another study conducted in 2018, which studied neurological disorders. It was concluded that patients found relief from muscle spasticity due to the anti-inflammatory and relaxative properties of CBD.

What Does CBD Oil Do to Your Brain?

Because cerebral palsy affects neurological functions, you have to take into consideration the effects that CBD has on the brain.

The effects of CBD are unique in the way they affect the endocannabinoid system as it is a non-intoxicating compound, making them an appealing alternative to marijuana which contains THC — the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have an affinity to bind to endocannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system to produce more cannabinoids while also slowing the breakdown of those cannabinoids. It does this by inhibiting the release of the enzymes and helps to prime CB1 and CB2 receptors for those cannabinoids.

CBD has also been shown to modulate pain receptor sites (vanilloid and opioid receptors) and boost GABA-A activity in the brain to uplift one’s mood, which may also affect one’s perception of pain.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the different ways CBD oil affects the brain:

The Serotonin System

Serotonin is often associated with happiness, but the serotonin system affects so much more than that. The serotonin system affects not only one’s mood but their perception of pain and their appetite and digestion.

So how does CBD come into play?

CBD targets the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, which is involved with neuromodulation. Researchers have observed a correlation between the 5-HT1A receptor dysfunction with generalized anxiety disorder and depression. While a lot is still unknown, there has been promising research to support claims that CBD oil alleviates pain and anxiety through its modulation at this receptor site [2].

The Vanilloid Receptors

Vanilloid receptors regulate the body’s temperature and control the body’s reaction to inflammation and perception of pain. CBD binds to the TRPV1 (vanilloid receptors), helping to achieve a calming effect on the body.

Anandamide Booster

Anandamide is a fatty acid neurotransmitter and the first endocannabinoid to be discovered. It binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, helping to regulate homeostasis and stimulate a sense of happiness and wellbeing — it’s also aptly nicknamed the “bliss molecule.”

CBD has been shown to enhance anandamide signaling and slow the breakdown of these endocannabinoids by blocking the release of enzymes. Animal studies have found that anandamide-mediated signaling of CB1 receptors provided analgesic effects by limiting the input of pain to the central nervous system [5].

What Dosages of CBD are Effective for Managing Cerebral Palsy Symptoms?

There is no one dosage that is a magic treatment for cerebral palsy.

For some patients, it takes months, even years, of trial and error with different strains, dosages, and forms of CBD to find what works for them.

The way CBD will affect one’s body depends on a variety of factors, including weight, metabolism, what other medications you may be taking, the severity of your condition, the form of CBD, and of course, the dosage.

The form of CBD determines the product’s bioavailability — the percentage of CBD ingested that your body is able to absorb into the bloodstream. This is why certain products are better suited to certain needs.

Here’s the breakdown of CBD bioavailability:

  • CBD topicals: less than 1%
  • CBD capsules and edibles: 5-15%
  • CBD oil: 20-30%
  • CBD vapes: about 50%

The easiest and safest way to determine what dosage is most effective for your needs is to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase from there.

As you increase your dosage, pay attention to any reactions such as dry mouth, dizziness, irritation, or diarrhea, as they may be indicators you have taken too much. If using CBD as a tincture, edible, or capsule, it is best to take it on a full stomach to provide maximum absorption into the bloodstream.

Are There Side Effects of CBD Oil?

While side effects of CBD are not common, they can happen. This is why patients should only take CBD for cerebral palsy under the advice of their doctor. This is because CBD can potentially interact with other medications, thus leading to side effects.

Another reason patients may experience side effects is because of the brand — not every company produces quality CBD products, so if you are not careful, you may be ingesting harmful chemicals from the hemp farming or manufacturing process that could cause severe side effects.

In rare cases, CBD oil can cause liver failure as a result of negative drug interactions. This is also a common side effect of antiepileptic medications. Patients should also not stop taking their medications without the green light from their doctor. Doing so can shock the nervous system, causing severe reactions.

Cerebral palsy patients are often on numerous medications at a time, making it hard to pinpoint what exactly may be causing side effects. If there are immediate negative effects with CBD oil, you should see your doctor immediately.

Will CBD Oil Interact With My Cerebral Palsy Medications?

CBD may interact with certain prescription medications used for cerebral palsy. Interactions can range from synergistic (beneficial) to life-threatening. It’s critical you speak with your doctor about using CBD if you’re taking any prescription medications.

Let’s cover some of the most common CBD-drug interactions you may encounter with cerebral palsy medications:

CBD & Anticholinergics

This class of drug works by inhibiting the effects of acetylcholine — which is a key neurotransmitter in the brain as well as in the muscles.

CBD may interact with these medications by slowing their metabolism in the liver. This could lead to a buildup in the bloodstream over the course of several days or weeks. If concentrations become too high, side effects or overdose may occur.

Common anticholinergics used in treating cerebral palsy:

  • Carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet)
  • Glycopyrrolate (Cuvposa, Robinul)
  • Benztropine (Cogentin)

CBD & Anticonvulsants

There are multiple different classes of medications that could be used as an anticonvulsant with cerebral palsy. These medications are used to reduce muscle contractions and abnormal muscle movements.

Some common medication classes include barbiturates and benzodiazepines.

The most common medication used for this is phenobarbital, a powerful anticonvulsant barbiturate.

CBD will interact similarly with all of these medications — leading to increased effects and slowed metabolic breakdown. Both of these results could be dangerous, leading to increased chances of side effects and overdose.

CBD & Antidepressants

Depression is a common side effect of cerebral palsy. For this reason, it’s common for patients to have a prescription for antidepressants such as SSRIs or SNRIs alongside other medications.

CBD may interact with these medications if used in high doses on a daily basis. However, people who take antidepressants and lower doses of CBD, with breaks every 2 or 3 days, rarely report side effects.

Other classes of antidepressants, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or tricyclic antidepressants, have a much higher risk of side effects.

CBD & Anti-inflammatories

Anti Inflammatories is a standard treatment for cerebral palsy. There’s a lot of different classes of these medications, but most doctors stick with simple NSAID medications like acetaminophen (Aspirin and Tylenol) or Ibuprofen.

CBD may interact with these medications by increasing the anti-inflammatory profile (synergistic) but can also slow the breakdown.

If using acetaminophen (or other NSAIDs) alongside other medications, it may be unsafe to use CBD. The combined competition of all these medications and CBD for metabolism in the liver can lead to a buildup of drugs in the bloodstream. Some of these drugs could bring dangerous consequences if the dose gets too high.

Final Thoughts: Can CBD Help With Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that currently has no known cure.

Patients have found their quality of life to increase greatly after adding CBD oil to their treatment plan for its relaxing and pain-relieving qualities.

However, CBD oil is not a suitable replacement for one’s medications, meaning you by no means should stop taking any medications without orders from your doctor to do so.

To get the most out of your CBD oil, you should take the time to research brands, their manufacturing process and consult your doctor on how the CBD could potentially interact with other medications and if it’s right for you.

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