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Study: Topical CBD Treatment May Reduce Central Nervous System Inflammation

A controlled animal study published in Daru: Journal of Faculty and Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences found that topical treatment with 1% purified (i.e. >98%) CBD topical cream may help to reduce damage caused by a disease that results in brain inflammation. This holds relevance for humans with autoimmune diseases that lead to demyelination (damage to the fatty covering around neurons that helps them to transmit signals faster) like multiple sclerosis.

Topical CBD vs. Multiple Sclerosis Experiment

Using hmouseealthy mice and mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis [(EAE)- encephalo= brain, myel= myelin= fatty nerve covering, itis= inflammation] as models for humans with multiple sclerosis, researchers applied either 1% purified CBD cream, inactive cream, or no cream to the skin of the healthy mice, and to the skin of diseased mice once symptoms of EAE began to appear. The mice were observed daily, and 28 days after EAE had been induced, spinal cord and spleen cell samples were taken.

Results of the Study

The researchers found that treatment with CBD cream helped to reduce damage caused by EAE, characterized by:

  • reversal of back leg paralysis (i.e. loss of muscle function)
  • reduction in indicators of spinal cord damage like demyelination and white blood cell count
  • reduction in release of lymphocytes from spleen cells
  • reduction in inflammatory signals


The results of this study provide further support for the potential of cannabinoids in reducing damage caused by autoimmune/inflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis. More uniquely, however, they show that cannabinoids may produce beneficial biological effects even when only applied to the skin, as opposed to typical internal administration (e.g. edibles, vaping, smoking).


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