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.
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Cannabidiol Case report for Bell’s Palsy
A 66 yo man retired computer analyst had the onset of facial weakness, drooping eyelid and burning pain in the right ear that was diagnosed as Bell’s Palsy three weeks ago. Before treatment he described episodes of stabbing right ear pain and several acne form skin lesions on his ear and face. His right eye could not close with the greatest of effort and he needed eye drops to keep his eye moist. His speech was slurred with occasional drooling. His close vision was also impaired and he was unable to read fine print with glasses. His partner said he had started to make some improvement 4 days prior to our meeting. However when I saw him the right face was perfectly smooth with no muscular tone and no natural creasing in the forehead or the face. He was very concerned about the slow progress of recovery and subdued in his demeanor. He had been using a multi-vitamin by Baranta that he hoped would speed the recovery process.
He started CBD from industrial hemp by Elixinol using 10mg orally. He felt significant immediate pain relief and resolution of his visual impairment. He continued with 10 mg CBD for two additional servings before returning in 24 hours. At that time he had substantial recovery of his facial muscle tone including his eye lids, forehead and mouth folds. His vision was normal, his mood was upbeat, his speech substantially clear, his movements spontaneous and natural. Even skin lesion on his ear and hand that were previously non-healing became scabbed and non-painful. The stabbing ear pain was almost resolved. He plans to continue CBD at least until full resolution of his symptoms.
Bell’s palsy is a facial nerve paralysis caused that may be caused by a virus. It’s characterized by muscle weakness that causes one half of the face to droop and usually resolves on its own within six months. People may experience: Pain in the ear or abnormality of taste or sensitivity to sound. Because of facial muscle weakness there can be difficulty speaking clearly, drooling, or dry eyes. But, some people do not fully recover, consider the actress Anne Margret. A major part of the problem is the impingement of the facial nerve in at bony canal in skull due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. Due to compression the nerve cannot function properly and has impaired vascular supply. CBD immediately improved nerve function, vascular flow and reduced the inflammatory reactions leading to rapid initial recovery.
CBD engages two major pathways to improve outcomes in this case: neurotransmitters and immune reactions. By modulating neurotransmitters CBD immediately reduce pain and improves neurologic function. By reducing cytokines and inflammatory macrophages CBD reduces swelling and also pain. All of this with side benefits unheard of in most contemporary medical or surgical therapy: mood, cognition, healing, sleep and performance.
CBD also has anti-viral properties that have been shown specifically against hepatitis C virus as well as staph and strep bacteria. CBD has also been highly protective against fibrotic liver disease. CBD could be highly effective in shingles that is caused by varicella virus as well. Potential of cannabidiol for the treatment of viral hepatitis. Phcog Res 2017;9:116-8.