Cannabinoids and Tremor

Many folks have reported that cannabinoids (a mixture of CBD and THC) are an effective treatment for essential tremor. There are two main movement-disorder disease types: Parkinson’s (and its cousins), which are group of central nervous system degenerative diseases; and essential tremor, which is mediated by peripheral neurons in the spinal cord. 

Now, a new article in the prestigious Nature Neuroscience journal sheds some light on how cannabinoids can help relieve essential tremor.

The authors state:

Cannabinoids reduce tremor associated with motor disorders induced by injuries and neurodegenerative disease. Here we show that this effect is mediated by cannabinoid receptors on astrocytes in the ventral horn of the spinal cord, where alternating limb movements are initiated. We first demonstrate that tremor is reduced in a mouse model of essential tremor after intrathecal injection of the cannabinoid analog WIN55,212-2. We investigate the underlying mechanism using electrophysiological recordings in spinal cord slices and show that endocannabinoids released from depolarized interneurons activate astrocytic cannabinoid receptors, causing an increase in intracellular Ca2+, subsequent release of purines and inhibition of excitatory neurotransmission. Finally, we show that the anti-tremor action of WIN55,212-2 in the spinal cords of mice is suppressed after knocking out CB1 receptors in astrocytes. Our data suggest that cannabinoids reduce tremor via their action on spinal astrocytes.

Nat Neurosci 24, 658–666 (2021).

Thus, the lowly astrocyte, which until recently was depicted as simply a neuron support cell, is intimately involved in the generation of tremor in the spinal cord. Cannabinoids work against tremors by “mellowing out” the astrocyte, much like their CNS effects.

This new data offers hope for those suffering from essential tremor, and begins the validation of cannabinoids to treat this condition. Now (and I sound like a broken record here) we need solid clinical data to prove this in humans. If only the federal government would agree…

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