OCT 12, 2020 8:00 AM PDT

Can Cannabis Relieve Symptoms of Down Syndrome?

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Increasing anecdotal and academic evidence has been emerging in recent years about the plethora of health benefits behind cannabis. Now, some studies allude to the possibility of cannabis being able to relieve symptoms of Down syndrome. 

Currently, there have been no animal or human studies specifically looking at how cannabis interacts with Down Syndrome. However, evidence exists both showing that the endocannabinoid system likely plays a role in Down Syndrome and that the usage of cannabinoids may be able to reduce symptoms of the disorder. 

study conducted in 2008, for example, found that people with Down syndrome tend to have increased activity among their Cannabinoid Type 2 (CB2) receptors and the enzyme DAAH (which breaks down the endocannabinoid, anandamide) in their beta-amyloid plaques.

Meanwhile, a study conducted in 2019 found that mice with Down syndrome tended to have more Cannabinoid Type 1 (CB1) receptors in their hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory, than mice without the condition. The researchers then found that blocking these CB1 receptors with medication or gene therapy restored deficits in their memory, synaptic plasticity, and adult neurogenesis (the growth of new brain cells in the adult brain). 

While these findings alone do not confirm whether the endocannabinoid system is actually dysfunctional in those with Down syndrome, they do suggest that cannabinoid-based therapies targeting the system may improve symptoms. 

Already, there have been several studies showing that cannabis-derived products may be able to improve various symptoms common to Down syndrome and other conditions. A review from 2018, for example, found that cannabinoids CBD and THC were able to reduce the presence of amyloid plaques and damaged neurons in humans and animals with multiple conditions.

Meanwhile, cannabinoids have been found to protect against plethra of other Down syndrome symptoms- from impulsivity and difficulty maintaining attention to gastrointestinal issues, sleeping issues, and seizures. Anecdotal evidence from parents of children with Down syndrome further confirms this. 

To conclude, existing evidence may leave some optimistic about the potential benefits of cannabis for relieving symptoms from Down syndrome. However, until human studies have been carried out, no conclusions can be drawn.

 

Sources: CannigmaNIH

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
JUL 08, 2020
Health & Medicine
The Myths About CBD and Coronavirus
JUL 08, 2020
The Myths About CBD and Coronavirus
Research collected over the last 20 years suggests that cannabidiol – the primary cannabinoid in CBD oil – h ...
JUL 29, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
CBD Tablets Help People Quit Cannabis
JUL 29, 2020
CBD Tablets Help People Quit Cannabis
Cannabis use disorder is essentially cannabis addiction. Although research suggests that it affects 9% of peop ...
AUG 05, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Might Trigger Heart Problems Says AHA
AUG 05, 2020
Cannabis Might Trigger Heart Problems Says AHA
The American Heart Association (AHA) has produced a new statement about medical marijuana and recreational cannabis. The ...
AUG 27, 2020
Health & Medicine
Study Confirms E-cigarettes and Marijuana Not to Blame for Vaping-Related Lung Injuries
AUG 27, 2020
Study Confirms E-cigarettes and Marijuana Not to Blame for Vaping-Related Lung Injuries
A Yale School of Public Health report published August 25 2020 in the journal Addiction confirms that it was neither e-c ...
SEP 21, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Why Do We Build Tolerance to Cannabis?
SEP 21, 2020
Why Do We Build Tolerance to Cannabis?
Many notice that after regularly smoking cannabis, it takes more and more to feel its effects- if any at all. While abst ...
NOV 13, 2020
Health & Medicine
Cannabis Oil May Help Burning Mouth Syndrome
NOV 13, 2020
Cannabis Oil May Help Burning Mouth Syndrome
If you’ve ever scalded the top of your mouth with very hot food or drink you'll know the pain it can cause. No ...
Loading Comments...