cbd oil for nf

Treating Neurofibromatosis with Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana treats symptoms of neurofibromatosis, such as mood disorders, pain, seizures, headaches, sleep problems, and fatigue. Cannabis can also be used to treat side effects of neurofibromatosis treatments. In addition, cannabis has anti-tumor effects that may be able to prevent or slow the growth of tumors.

What is Neurofibromatosis?

Neurofibromatosis refers to a group of rare, genetic disorders that cause tumors on nerves and growths in other areas of the body. Tumors may develop on the skin, brain, or spinal cord. Tumors in neurofibromatosis are usually benign or non-cancerous, but can sometimes become cancerous. Neurofibromatosis is caused by gene mutations in genes that suppress tumors. In some cases the gene mutation is inherited and in others is it a newly changed gene mutation.

Types of Neurofibromatosis

There are three main types of neurofibromatosis -NF1, NF2, and Schwannomatosis. Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) is the most common type and is usually apparent during childhood. It is characterized by bone deformities or curvature of the spine (scoliosis) and flat brown spots on the skin (cafe au lait spots). Children with NF1 may also be short in height and have a larger than normal head size. They may also experience tumors on the optic nerve, neurofibromes (benign tumors in or under the skin), and bumps on the iris of the eye.

Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) is a less common type that can be diagnosed from childhood through early adulthood. It usually causes benign tumors in the ears, called acoustic neuromas. These tumors can cause hearing deficits. Tumors may also affect nerves that control balance.

Schwannomatosis is a rare type of neurofibromatosis that is usually diagnosed in early adulthood. Benign tumors often develop on the cranial and peripheral nerves, as well as spinal nerves. Nerves that control hearing and balance are rarely affected.

Symptoms of Neurofibromatosis

Symptoms of neurofibromatosis vary based on the type and nerves affected by tumors. Common symptoms include pain, weakness of the legs, balance deficits, gradual hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), headaches, vision problems, seizures, and loss of muscle. In rare cases, tumors may develop into cancerous tumors. Having neurofibromatosis increases the risk of some forms of cancer, including leukemia, breast cancer, and brain tumors. Some people with neurofibromatosis may have neurological deficits or learning disabilities.

Neurofibromatosis Treatment

There is no cure or standard treatment for neurofibromatosis. Symptoms are managed through pain medications, epilepsy medications, and anti-depressants. Surgery may be performed to remove tumors that damage organs or compress nerves. Radiation therapy can be used to shrink tumors. If a tumor becomes cancerous it is often treated with cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy or radiation. Tumors should be monitored closely, as well as blood pressure, bone deformities, vision, and hearing, to prevent complications.

Neurofibromatosis and Medical Marijuana

Neurofibromatosis may be an approved condition for medical marijuana treatment in some states. If it is not approved in your state, you may be eligible to receive medical marijuana through doctor approval or through a diagnosis of severe pain, headache disorder, seizures, or other symptoms of the condition or its treatments.

Medical marijuana relieves a majority of neurofibromatosis symptoms, has anti-tumor properties that slow the growth and development of tumors, and treats side effects of medications and treatments. Medical marijuana is an excellent treatment supplement and less harsh than pharmaceuticals. CBD dominant medical marijuana is non-intoxicating and can be used in pediatric conditions.

Case Study: CBD Improves Neurofibromatosis Symptoms

A 2019 case study of a 25 year old woman diagnosed with NF1 found that CBD dominant cannabis improved pain, depression, and anxiety over the three months of the study. The patient experienced severe pain and mood disorder due to NF1, which she was diagnosed with at puberty. She reported intense pain from the tumors themselves, as well as over 20 surgeries and laser treatments. She also struggled with crying episodes, stress, and migraine headaches. Anti-depressants were not tolerated due to their side effects and her migraine headaches were not relieved with pain medications. The patient’s symptoms interfered with her quality of life, ability to find employment, and resulted in social withdraw and overall stress.

After 3 months of using CBD oil in a 20:1 CBD to THC ratio twice per day in 8 milligram doses, her pain was reduced significantly. Pain scores dropped from an average of 6/10 to 1/10. The patient’s mood was stabilized and anxiety scores dropped from 9/10 to 3/10. Her migraine incidences dropped from 15 per month to only 5 per month. She also noted she was able to decrease dependence on anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief. This patient did not report negative side effects and the CBD dominant cannabis oil was well-tolerated.

Studies: Cannabis Reduces Tumor Size and Slows Tumor Growth

There is growing evidence that the cannabinoids in medical marijuana, such as THC and CBD, have anti-tumor properties that slow the growth and development of tumors.

Pre-clinical studies have found that cannabinoids induce cell death (apoptosis) in unhealthy, cancerous, and malignant cells, while keeping healthy cells alive.

In 2001 a multi-institutional and international research team showed a “considerable regression in the size of malignant tumors” using injected cannabinoids in animal studies.

In 2003 Italian researches found that CBD produces stress in brain cancer cells and promotes apoptosis, the process the induces death of cancer cells. CBD was able to promote apoptosis, or cell death, in unhealthy cells, but did not have this effect on normal healthy cells.

In Spain, researchers confirmed the cannabinoids including THC caused reduction in tumor size in animal studies in 2004.

One study of 2 children with neurofibromatosis found cannabis reduced tumors over a 3 year period as the only treatment.

Further research is needed at this time, however this pre-clinical and anecdotal evidence shows that cannabis has positive effects in reducing tumor size and slowing the growth of tumors. It is recommended to use cannabis in conjunction with other treatments, unless a knowledgeable doctor has agreed it is the best option.

Medical Marijuana Relieves Neurofibromatosis Symptoms

Medical marijuana can relieve the following symptoms of neurofibromatosis:

Consistent characterization to help ensure quality, protect patients and promote sound research

In many parts of the US, cannabis is available for medical use under state law. Prescribers, manufacturers and distributors – not to mention patients – are all concerned about the safety and quality of cannabis for medical use. States have adopted different approaches to oversight, but the lack of consistency may leave patients at risk.

As part of the safety net that protects and promotes public health in the US, USP is taking steps to prevent harm to patients resulting from exposure to substandard, super-potent, contaminated or adulterated cannabis for medical use under state law.

USP is working with researchers, manufacturers, distributors, regulators and health care practitioners to protect public health and promote sound research by establishing a framework for the consistent characterization of cannabis for medical use.