Medical marijuana patients are turning to cannabis to help regain motor function after being diagnosed with Bells Palsy. Learn more here. We will be talking about whether or not CBD could help with bell’s palsy, and how to use it properly for the best potential results. Colorado Man Says Hemp Oil Relieved His Facial Paralysis Curt Platt has lived with Bell’s palsy, a paralysis or weakness affecting part or all of the face, for about 12 years. Platt was
Cannabis Treatment for Bell’s Palsy
Anyone of any age and from any walk of life can be struck with Bell’s palsy – an acute peripheral facial weakness of unknown cause. This medical condition is characterized by muscle weakness or paralysis that causes one half of the face to suddenly sink downwards and worsen over a 48-hour period.
Bell’s Palsy —which is otherwise known as Antoni’s Palsy, facial nerve palsy, facial paralysis , idiopathic facial palsy , or refrigeration palsy—is believed to affect all genders equally. According to the National Association for Rare Disorders (NARD), an estimated 25-35 per 100,000 people in the United States are affected with the condition (5).
Less common among people below the age of 15 and over the age of 60, Bell’s palsy is not considered to be a permanent condition, with most mild cases resolving within two weeks to six months from the onset. However, 20% of people will endure long-term facial paralysis and drooping. The good news is that the majority of people with Bell’s palsy recover complete facial strength and expression (1).
Since this lack of movement on one side of the face is usually accompanied by a dull aching, Bell’s palsy patients may benefit from using cannabis as a pain management tool. Before we explore the efficacy of cannabis-based medicines, let’s take a moment to learn more about this temporary facial weakness .
Bell’s palsy Signs, Symptoms and Types
While Bell’s Palsy doesn’t have a biological gender bias, some people are still more prone to developing it than others. These include pregnant people, people aged 15-60, and those who have:
- Autoimmune disease
- Family history of Bell’s palsy
- Cold sores (herpes simplex virus)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus)
- Shingles (herpes zoster virus) (1)
When someone suffers from Bell’s palsy , the function of the facial nerve will be disturbed, thus interrupting essential brain signaling to the facial muscles . As a direct effect of this, abrupt facial weakness or paralysis occurs.
Some of the most common symptoms of Bell’s palsy include the following:
- Difficulty/inability to close one eye on the affected side of the face
- Muddled movement of facial expression -controlling muscles that affect blinking, squinting, and smiling
- Loss of sensitivity in the face
- Sensory deprivation on the front two-thirds of the tongue
- Sound hypersensitivity in the affected ear (hyperacusis)
Due to the fact that the symptoms of Bell’s palsy may be similar to other serious conditions or medical problems like stroke—it’s important that you promptly visit a local emergency room and contact a professional healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis. Treating Bell’s palsy as early as possible can not only help rule out other serious conditions, but can help improve outcomes and shorten its duration.
The severity of Bell’s palsy symptoms vary from mild weakness to total facial paralysis . In cases where the facial nerve is more tightly compressed and inflamed, the nerve will usually take longer to heal and regain normal functioning.
Bell’s palsy Causes and Complications
Although the primary cause is unknown, Bell’s palsy transpires when the facial nerves become damaged or traumatized in some way. Also known as the 7th cranial nerve, this facial nerve exists inside the facial canal. The nerve travels from the brainstem, through skull openings, then to the face.
The 7th cranial nerve’s role is to transfer messages between the brain and facial muscles responsible for eye blinking and closing, smiling, and frowning. The nerve also sends impulses to the lacrimal or tear glands and the saliva glands, as well as sends taste sensations from the tongue. Additionally, it transmits impulses to a bone inside the middle of the ear called the stapes or stirrup.
Facial paralysis may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as:
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Lyme disease
- Myasthenia gravis
- Multiple sclerosis
To rule out an underlying condition, it’s advisable to see a doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible who can evaluate your case – preferably in an emergency-ready setting.
Bell’s palsy Treatment: Can Cannabinoids Provide Relief?
Getting treatment for Bell’s palsy begins with an ER, urgent care, or doctor’s appointment. After assessing your symptoms and emergency imaging, a diagnosis can be made. Although there are no specific tests designed to detect Bell’s palsy , healthcare providers will check labs for other causes such as Lyme disease or electrolyte abnormalities. After all other emergency imaging and labs are clear, then they usually will be able to make a diagnosis after performing a facial and neurological examination (e.g., asking you to carry out typical facial and muscle movements).
Initial and long-term tests may include:
- Blood tests to figure out if a different condition might be present, such as diabetes or Lyme disease
- Electromyography (EMG) to determine the seriousness of the nerve involvement/damage
- Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to pinpoint an underlying cause for your symptoms and rule out serious causes
Within six months, Bell’s palsy patients will usually have fully recovered. To prevent the risk of the facial muscles becoming permanently contracted some patients may seek out physiotherapy. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and your particular health history, a doctor or healthcare provider may prescribe alternative treatments for your specific condition.
One of the most recommended treatments to prevent ophthalmic complications in patients with Bell’s palsy involves the use of topical ocular lubrication. An eye patch may also help to shield the cornea from being scratched, which is imperative to the management of this medical condition.
Analgesics , antiviral medicine, and steroids that reduce inflammation may be prescribed to help treat the symptoms of Bell’s palsy . Some doctors might also recommend physical therapy as a way of stimulating the facial nerve .
Most people with Bell’s palsy will not need treatment, since the symptoms usually clear up on their own. Fortunately, it is “non-progressive,” meaning that it should not get worse over time.
Sometimes, steroids are initially prescribed for the first 48 hours in order to relieve any inflammation that could be causing or contributing to Bell’s palsy. Based on your health history, you may also be prescribed antiviral medication and pain relieving medication along with warm compresses to the face. Nonetheless, cannabis could also be beneficial to the condition, since it has shown promise when used for relief from the neuropathic side effects of Bell’s palsy.
Currently, research into the use of medical marijuana in Bell’s palsy and neuropathy in general is somewhat limited, and Bell’s palsy is not directly studied yet with respect to cannabis. This is not to say that cannabis cannot provide some respite from some of the symptoms, however.
Neuroprotective Effects of Cannabis
Cannabis harbors neuroprotective powers that may help to minimize free radicals that impact nerve cell damage. One particular study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that THC and CBD could be suitable pharmacological tools for treating neurodegenerative disorders (2). New and early research looking at minor cannabinoids like CBG and CBDA may also be promising for neuropathy and neuroprotective effects.
Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabis
Since the facial nerve in Bell’s palsy patients tends to become inflamed and swollen, the powerful anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids could come in handy. One review showed that CBD , CBG, and CBD + THC combinations exert “a predominantly anti-inflammatory effect in vivo (3).”
Cannabis and Pain Relief
Jaw pain and discomfort in the face and head are common symptoms of Bell’s palsy . Fortunately, as a natural pain reliever, cannabis could hold the key to unlocking improved comfort for patients who have been diagnosed with the medical condition. The psychoactive compound delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC) in low doses has been shown to work as a potent analgesic . Combinations and single uses of THC and cannabidiol (CBD) , as well as minor cannabinoids like CBN and CBG also have data to support their use in neuropathic pain and inflammation (4, 9, 7). Cannabinoids are capable of blocking certain neurotransmitters, such as pain-producing and pain-sensitizing pathways (6).
What Preparations of Cannabis are Best for Bell’s palsy?
The type of cannabis preparation you choose depends on how quickly you want to experience the plant’s remedial effects, as well as how long you want the effects to last and your personal preferences in terms of cannabis consumption.
Let’s take a look at some recommended preparations of cannabis for Bell’s palsy :
- Smokable and Vaporizable Flower – For fast relief, opt for smokable, or better yet dry-herb vaporized, flower. Using flower, you can inhale the cannabis plant’s primary active cannabinoids and experience the effects within mere minutes. If going the inhaled route, dry herb vaporizing is best to minimize tar and free radical consumption, protecting cardiopulmonary health, while improving cannabinoid inhalation.
- Vaporizable Oils – As a method of cannabis consumption that also involves inhaling the plant’s active compounds, you can expect the effects of vaporizable oils to kick in quickly and last for 1-3 hours. To ensure optimal medical use, check to see if the oils have terpenes in them or have been re-added as they are often lost to distillation but are almost equally medically important.
- Sublingual Tinctures – When consumed sublingually, such as by dropping a CBD oil tincture onto or beneath the tongue, cannabis’ active chemicals largely bypass the digestive system by interacting with the body’s oral mucosa—absorbent membranes lining the inside of the mouth—before making their way into the bloodstream. A portion of ingested tincture will be absorbed rapidly, and the other will be digested and felt for longer than inhaling.
- Ingestible Edibles – Discreet dosing, convenience, and diversity are three perks associated with consuming cannabis-infused food. Otherwise known as an edible, a cannabis food product contains decarboxylated cannabinoids from the plant. The effects may not surface for 30 minutes to two hours, but the symptomatic relief can last for up to eight hours.
Talking to Your Doctor About These Types of Treatments
Ear, nose and throat physicians (ENTs) specialize in the diagnosis, rehabilitation, and treatment of disorders that affect the head, ears, neck, and nose, such as Bell’s palsy . These specialist doctors are better known as otolaryngologists.
If you know you are suffering from Bell’s palsy , organizing a consultation with a professional in the field of otolaryngology should be your next priority after being cleared by the ER. During a doctor’s visit, you ought to provide any relevant information pertaining to your symptoms, as well as inform the healthcare professional of any medications you are currently using.
Explain to your physician the main reason(s) why you feel that you would benefit from medical cannabis and don’t forget to discuss your family’s medical history, since this could influence your risk of developing hereditary conditions like Bell’s palsy (8).
Complementary Treatments Worth Discussing with Your Doctor
Bell’s palsy normally begins to improve within as little as two weeks, but it’s possible that the condition will linger for 3-6 months before a patient regains full control of their facial muscles . It is advisable to tell your healthcare provider if you don’t notice any improvement in your symptoms. Remember that new facial drooping and abnormal weakness should be evaluated in your local ER right away.
Bell’s palsy patients who want to make their recovery process more bearable may opt for alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, biofeedback training, electrical stimulation, relaxation, craniosacral therapy, and vitamin B12, B6, or zinc vitamin therapy.
Should you be considering using cannabis as an alternative method of treatment for Bell’s palsy , get in touch with the Veriheal team.
Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
How Might CBD Become a Viable Treatment for People Suffering from Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is a condition that affects the facial muscles, causing weakening that results in a drooped-like appearance. About 40,000 people experience the condition each year, and while it is almost always temporary, it can be difficult to deal with due to the potential for facial discomfort, difficulty with tasks relying on the facial muscles and the effects that it has on one’s appearance. [Source]
What is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is an almost always temporary condition in which the facial muscles become paralyzed on one side, causing the face to droop in appearance as the muscles become weak. It results from the nerves of the face becoming swollen, compressed, or inflamed, and typically lasts for a couple of weeks at most, although in rarer cases, the symptoms exist for a long period of time. In extremely rare cases, Bell’s palsy is permanent.
Why Does Bell’s Palsy Occur?
Bell’s palsy is still a widely misunderstood condition, but it’s believed to most often originate from a virus. It remains unknown how certain seemingly benign viruses, including the common cold, can trigger this reaction, and it’s important to note that it is, in fact, a very uncommon reaction to a viral infection.
What are the Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy?
The most obvious sign of Bell’s palsy is the drooping of one side of the face, that can cause the mouth and eye to take on an unusual appearance. This may interfere with eating and drinking, as well as being able to open one eye.
Symptoms can also include:
- Facial twitches
- Difficulty speaking
- Dry mouth
- Eye irritation
- Altered sense of taste
- Aversion to loud noises
How is Bell’s Palsy Diagnosed?
A doctor will need to diagnose bell’s palsy before it can be treated, which is why it’s important that you seek medical attention as soon as these symptoms appear. These symptoms may also point to other, more dangerous conditions, such as stroke, in which the nervous system can become damaged and affect the muscles of the face.
Bell’s palsy is usually diagnosed with an examination of the facial muscles, which determines which parts of the facial tissue are affected. Your doctor may also do bloodwork to find if there is a viral infection in your body that has acted as the catalyst to this condition.
How is Bell’s Palsy Treated?
Bell’s palsy usually goes away on its own between a few days and a few weeks, but it can last longer, and for some, it can take a while to regain full strength of the facial muscles. For those with more severe or long-lasting symptoms, medication may be prescribed. This can include anti-inflammatory drugs, antiviral drugs or pain medications aimed at relieving the physical discomfort that can come along with the condition.
Can CBD Help with Bell’s Palsy?
CBD is the leading compound in the hemp plant. Being a cannabinoid, it supports the endocannabinoid system which is in charge of maintaining homeostasis throughout the body. Consisting of a complex network of cannabinoid receptors, each is tasked with regulating a bodily function that’s adjacent to their location. There are cannabinoid receptors in the muscles and nerves of the face, which are in charge of regulating functions dealing with nerve function, circulation, inflammation and more.
In fact, studies have shown that CBD may be able to help specifically with nerve function and inflammation when either applied to the skin or taken internally. Because cannabidiol comes in various delivery methods, those suffering from the condition may find that it’s most appropriate to use both methods to maximize the potential of cannabidiol, so to speak.
Because bell’s palsy affects both the nerves and the muscles of the face, these two properties of cannabidiol can be particularly useful to those struggling with the condition. It may be able to balance nerve function so that the nerves are not as strongly affected by the condition, while reducing inflammation that seems to play a major role in the development of the condition itself. Meanwhile, anti-inflammatories can fight pain and discomfort, meaning that CBD may help one manage the physical symptoms that lead to pain.
Do You Need to Discuss CBD with a Doctor Before Using it for Bell’s Palsy?
Whenever you attempt to treat something yourself, you should speak to a doctor prior to taking a regular dose. If you wish to use CBD when dealing with Bell’s palsy, we therefore do recommend that you speak thoroughly with your doctor, especially if you are prescribed medications. Your doctor can give you more personalized advice, and only they are authorized to guide you through your medical decisions as they know your precise symptoms and medical history.
How Should Someone Take CBD for Bell’s Palsy?
If you are going to use cannabidiol for bell’s palsy, it is important to take CBD properly for the best results. Before we get into that, we must point out that various medications, including steroids, could have a negative effect when cannabidiol is taken internally. The reason for this is because our bodies metabolize an array of unique substances using the same enzymes.
A crucial example would be CBD and prednisone relying on an enzyme called CYP3A4 inhibitors to break them down. Therefore, consuming both together could cause a problem. It might even slow down the metabolism of prednisone, thus increasing the risk of side-effects.
If you are taking steroids or medications of that nature, regardless of the dosage level for Bell’s palsy, to avoid any possible negative reactions, it is best to use a CBD topical solution. These products absorb through the skin and break down differently from those that pass through the digestive track. Plus, their soothing ingredients may enhance their effects, especially when massaged into the skin.
Now, here are some factors you should keep in mind when starting a routine with this hemp-based compound.
Factor #1: Delivery Method
CBD comes in various delivery methods, and we recommend just using a topical rather than an internal method, such as a tincture or an edible, if you’re already taking steroids for it.
Topicals once again are applied directly to the area, which can bring down inflammation in a more targeted, localized manner while allowing the cannabinoid to bind to receptors dealing with nerve function.
CBD comes in three forms:
- CBD Isolate: Just pure cannabidiol.
- Broad Spectrum: A THC-free alternative.
- Full Spectrum: Contains every compound in hemp including every terpene and cannabinoid, in addition to CBD.
Factor #2: Milligram Strength
Make sure that you choose a milligram strength based on the severity of your condition, to ensure that you use the proper amount of pure hemp with each dose. The milligram strength is the potency level of the formula.
Factor #3: Consistency of Use
It’s ideal to take CBD consistently, meaning that you take the same dose every day. Cannabinoids work in the body cumulatively due to the function of the body’s endocannabinoid system, and users typically report more effectiveness when they take it daily.
Factor #4: Alongside Other Treatments
If your doctor has prescribed specific treatments for bell’s palsy, like specific medications, make sure that you continue using them as recommended along with your CBD. We DO NOT recommend forgoing your doctor’s advice and using cannabidiol instead, as your doctor knows your needs.
Factor #5: Quality
Always make sure to purchase CBD from a trusted source that does lab-testing (internal or third-party). It is important to know that you are getting high-quality hemp from a reputable brand.
Bell’s Palsy Can Be Quite a Difficult Condition to Manage
However, may find that CBD helps alleviate some of the symptoms. Although, clinical research is still going on, the results do look promising. In any event, as we cannot stress this enough, talk to your physician to make sure that cannabidiol is a good choice for you, and use it consistently to ensure the best potential results.
Colorado Man Says Hemp Oil Relieved His Facial Paralysis
Curt Platt has lived with Bell’s palsy, a paralysis or weakness affecting part or all of the face, for about 12 years.
Platt was suffering a debilitating flare-up when he decided to try hemp oil as a possible treatment — and his story could point to yet another possible medical benefit of cannabidinol, or CBD.
A Hemp Oil Patient Finds Relief
Within minutes of trying a few drops of hemp oil from Denver-based World Class Health, Platt started to feel better within minutes, according to the testimonial he shared with the company.
Within 20 minutes, 90 percent of Platt’s symptoms were gone; he now takes hemp oil daily and feels great, according to the company. Platt previously suffered from Bell’s palsy flare-ups for about one month annually.
The condition affects about 40,000 Americans per year, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
It’s not a life-threatening condition, and most patients fully recover within one to two months.
The CBG Effect
No medical studies of medical marijuana’s direct impact on Bell’s palsy exist that Benzinga could find, but the general anti-inflammatory properties of medical marijuana and cannabinoids suggest it’s worth a second look.
The tincture World Class Health provided to Platt is high in CBG, or cannabigerol. It’s one of more than 110 identified cannabinoids present in marijuana, and it has analgesic, antibacterial, anticonvulsive, and anti-inflammatory properties, according to Ben Rippley, World Class Health’s sales director.
World Class Health said it’s taking advantage of the benefits of cannabinoids like CBG and aims to create products that would represent a synergy between CBD and other cannabinoids.
© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
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