EducationA guide to CBD and neurological disorders 

A guide to CBD and neurological disorders 

9 min read

Kerry Charron

A guide to CBD and neurological disorders 


Neurological disorders are among the most complex and debilitating medical conditions. They often require a wide range of treatments to manage the symptoms, including pharmaceutical medications, physical and mental therapy options, massive changes in lifestyle, and sometimes even surgical intervention. Some conditions are present from birth, while others develop later in life.

And although conventional treatments such as pharmaceutical medication and surgery are available, it's important to note that prescription drugs can have significant side effects, and surgery carries its own set of risks, particularly when it comes to the brain and nervous system.

Due to these concerns, many neurological disorder sufferers are seeking alternative complementary treatments to help manage the specific set of symptoms connected to their condition, and one of the most promising treatments is Cannabidiol (CBD).

A rapidly growing body of research studies and clinical trials emphasis the safety and effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) in alleviating symptoms associated with neurological conditions. CBD not only offers general benefits for overall wellness and improved sleep, but it also possesses specific properties that target the symptoms of a wide range of neurological disorders. Consequently, individuals with neurological disorders are increasingly interested in exploring how CBD can enhance their overall health and well-being.

In today's write-up, we are going to break down what the currently available science has to say about the benefits of CBD for neurological conditions and discuss the safety and legality of receiving CBD on prescription in the UK.

The science behind CBD and neurological disorders

What is CBD exactly?

CBD is one of the many phytocannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp plants. Unlike its more notorious cousin THC, CBD does not have any psychoactive properties – meaning it will not get you 'high'.

How does CBD influence the human biological and neurological systems?

CBD binds with the receptors with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) thanks to the fact that it has a remarkably similar chemical structure to the naturally occurring endocannabinoids already found in our bodies.

The ECS is the largest neural network in the human body, and is responsible for regulating a huge range of bodily functions. Researchers now believe it to be the 'master regulator' of homeostasis (balance) within our bodies. When we introduce CBD into the system, it acts as a regulator to ensure healthy balance and functioning. By binding with the ECS receptor CB2, it is showing great potential in managing a wide range of neurological conditions.

On top of this direct ECS receptor interactions, CBD has been proven to reduce the enzymatic breakdown of our own endocannabinoids, resulting in a longer sustained effect as well as increased bioavailability. CBD has also been shown to interact with neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, two naturally occurring chemicals that are essential for healthy brain and nervous system functioning.

CBD also works to reduce inflammation in the body, which is a common trigger of many neurological disorders.

What are the potential neuroprotective effects of CBD?

CBD is showing great potential in providing neuroprotective benefits, meaning that it can act as a shield for the brain and nervous system. Research suggests that CBD has shown to have positive effects on conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and epilepsy, all of which are associated with neurodegeneration.

The antioxidant effect of CBD also shows enormous potential in reducing the damage that can be caused by free radicals, which are known to play a role in the development of various neurological disorders. CBD is also thought to reduce neuroinflammation and improve neuron survival, both of which are crucial for healthy brain functioning.

CBD should never be viewed as a magic bullet or cure for any of these conditions, but research has shown it to be a safe and effective option in helping manage the symptoms associated with certain (but not all) neurological disorders.

The significance of CBD for specific neurological disorders


Epilepsy is a complex condition characterized by recurrent seizure events. There are various types of epilepsy, and each patient experiences a unique set of symptoms. Some individuals suffer from generalized epilepsy, which can result in severe seizures accompanied by convulsions and loss of consciousness, while others have focal epilepsy, which may involve brief 'absence' seizures.

CBD has been shown to offer relief for individuals with varying degrees of epilepsy severity, with milder side effects compared to traditional antiepileptic medications.

A recent paper, titled "Therapeutic and clinical foundations of cannabidiol therapy for difficult-to-treat seizures in children and adults with refractory epilepsies", comes to a few key conclusions, including:

"Highly-purified CBD has demonstrated efficacy with an acceptable safety profile in children and adults with difficult-to-treat seizures in randomized clinical trials."

Another study we can look at is a clinical review from 2021, which looked at multiple clinical studies relating to CBD and epilepsy. The literature review concluded that a highly purified CBD oral solution is well tolerated, even at high doses. This promising drug shows potential as an effective add-on therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy treatment.

Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is a progressive brain disorder that, in the vast majority of cases, worsens with age. It is characterized by the presence of involuntary or uncontrolled movements.

Tremors, stiffness, and impaired balance and coordination are among the most common symptoms experienced by Parkinson's sufferers. These symptoms can significantly impact daily life, making simple tasks challenging and affecting overall quality of life. Early diagnosis and appropriate management strategies can help improve the quality of life for individuals living with Parkinson's disease.

"Cannabinoids in Treating Parkinson's Disease Symptoms: A Systematic Review of Clinical Studies", looked at 13 clinical studies regarding CBD and PD, and comes to some very promising conclusions. It demonstrated that CBD consistently outperformed a placebo in alleviating motor symptoms.

Moreover, all treatments exhibited improvements in various non-motor symptoms. Notably, cannabis effectively reduced pain intensity, while CBD showed dose-dependent enhancement in psychiatric symptoms.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex and debilitating autoimmune disease that impacts the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. It is believed to arise from a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers, although the exact causes are still being investigated.

The immune system mistakenly attacks the protective covering of nerve fibres, disrupting communication between the brain and the rest of the body. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms, such as fatigue, difficulty walking, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems with coordination and balance. While there is no cure for MS, various treatment options are available to manage symptoms, slow down disease progression, and improve quality of life for those living with this chronic condition.

While the current research on isolated CBD and its effects on MS is limited, there is a noteworthy paper that highlights the potential benefits of cannabidiol in reducing spasticity, pain, inflammation, fatigue, and depression among patients with MS.

With that said, the evidence shows that a balanced mix of THC and CBD can be beneficial for MS sufferers in reducing pain and spasticity. A 2022 study found that mucosal spray and oral cannabis effectively reduced most of the symptoms relating to MS.

Does CBD come with any heavy side effects?

CBD has been extensively studied in clinical trials, consistently demonstrating its safety and high tolerability. In comparison to certain pharmaceutical medications prescribed for epilepsy, Parkinson's, and other neurological disorders, CBD is known to have milder side effects.

While stomach irritation, dizziness, nausea, and grogginess may occur, these effects are typically reported as mild and easily manageable. Moreover, patients have reported that these side effects can be alleviated by gradually reducing or discontinuing CBD administration.

CBD can also interact with certain medications, so it's essential to seek the guidance of a doctor that is both registered to prescribe medical cannabis products and has experience doing so for your specific condition before making any changes to your current treatment plan.

The future of CBD for the treatment of neurological disorders

So, what does the future hold when it comes to CBD and neurological disorders?

Thanks to the almost century-long prohibition on medical cannabis slowly coming to an end in many countries, the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD are now becoming more widely recognised.

CBD is being increasingly studied by researchers around the world, as evidenced by the vast array of literature on its clinical effects. As we continue to gain further insight into how CBD can help treat neurological disorders (along with other conditions), the therapeutic potential of this fascinating, versatile compound continues to grow.

At Releaf, we believe in the power of medical cannabis and its ability to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life for many patients living with neurological disorders. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive support and specialist guidance for anyone looking to access medical cannabis products. With tailored packages and our unique medical cannabis card, we ensure that our clients receive optimal care and access to the best-suited treatment for their condition. 

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

Elevate your wellness with medical cannabis

Get comprehensive care, convenience, and confidence with an all-in-one treatment plan.

Check your eligibility

Kerry, with experience as a medicinal cannabis cultivation technician and expertise in business licensing applications, is passionate about developing educational content and advocating for better access to medical cannabis worldwide.

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

Published at:

Further reading

Medical cannabis on holiday: The basics

Here at Releaf we understand that holidays should be about relaxation, but travelling with medical cannabis sounds like a stressful voyage. We’re doing what we can to absorb that stress so that you can soak up the sun, and so, we’ve designed a series of articles to cover the subject: medical cannabis on holiday. 

Lucy MacKinnon

How long does it take to feel the effects of THC oil?

The time it takes for you to feel the effects of THC depends on the methods of administration as well as your own physiology. Fortunately, there are fast and slow-acting options, as well as ways to take low or high doses in order to facilitate control over the way your body reacts to your medicine.

Editorial Team

A comprehensive guide to UK cannabis laws

The cannabis sativa L. plant has a fascinating and deep-rooted history here in the United Kingdom. A profoundly important and versatile plant in terms of both medicinal application and use in the industrial sector, it has been utilised for various purposes throughout the ages. Without hemp, our country's past would have been quite different indeed.

Sam North