The momentum currently established in the research process for understanding the wide-ranging impact that CBD can have as both a preventative in the therapy for a great number of health conditions has only been accelerating in recent years. The subject of Huntington’s disease provides an interesting view into that process.
Huntington’s is a rare congenital disease manifesting in a process of degeneration of the brain. The most significant characteristic is an augmentation of the H TT gene responsible for providing the genetic code underlying a key protein that sits at the core of proper neuron functioning.
For those stricken with this uncommon and tragic disease, the symptoms begin to manifest themselves between the third and fifth decades of life. The disease rapidly progresses, resulting in complete debilitation.
Coming to Grips with Huntington’s
The World Health Organization estimates that about 60 out of every million people is impacted by Huntington’s disease the world over. As noted, it’s extremely rare. That’s just 0.006%.
The odds are much better than winning the lottery, but the prognosis is certainly far worse. Most people attacked by this unfortunate exhibition of fate see symptoms initially arising with impacts on movement, expression, and general brain functioning.
All of this is the result of an overly enthusiastic expression of a gene that central to an important protein in the overall structure and function of neurons in the brain.
That gene – the one responsible for all of this tragedy – is located on the fourth chromosome and represents a repeated instance. It turns out that children can inherit a latent version of Huntington’s disease that will be passed on to their own children.
To diagnose this condition, family history is usually an important input.
Doctors experienced in this process will generally be able to figure out whether or not the types of symptoms their seeing from a patient of a cognitive nature represent Huntington’s disease or something else.
As you may have guessed, we have no cure for this terrible disease and all of our treatments are merely meant to help people cope with an inevitable process of progressive degeneration of the worst kind.
For families, this is painful and even heartbreaking as you might imagine. And there is fatalism involved, as many people know by understanding their own family history that they may be highly at risk for Huntington’s disease, and therefore when some initial signals of the characteristic symptoms begin to show up, a doctor’s visit is often the last thing desired.
As a result, late diagnosis is far from uncommon.
It turns out that glutamate is an important part of the painful experience of Huntington’s disease. As we have reviewed in prior sections, glutamate is wired in powerfully to the endocannabinoid system, and is therefore strongly impacted by exposure to CBD.
As a consequence, CBD may contain the ability to prevent excesses in intracellular calcium that are important in the process of the destruction of the neurons that accelerate the degeneration associated with Huntington’s disease.
At this point, researchers believe that exposure to CBD has the potential to not only help individuals cope with the discomfort and unpleasantness of the progression of Huntington’s disease, but may possibly turn out to be an important agent in slowing down the progressive degenerative process.