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
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.