Does CBD oil help with muscular dystrophy?

Some studies suggest that CBD oil might improve muscular dystrophy (MD) by targeting the CB1 receptors as a potential for adjuvant therapy for MD and by interacting with the endocannabinoid system for muscular development or degeneration. Still, there is insufficient evidence to prove that CBD oil can treat, heal, or cure MD.

Muscular dystrophy (MD) describes a group of muscle diseases caused by genetic mutations and may start in childhood and worsen progressively, making one lose mobility. It shortens the sufferer's lifespan, and while a person has it, he must deal with heart problems, breathing difficulties, pain, and many other challenges. Meanwhile, CBD oil grows in the hype daily, and it seems like there is nothing it can help with. However, there is insufficient evidence to prove that CBD oil can treat or heal MD. Here is all the basic information about CBD oil and MD.

The Basics About Muscular Dystrophy (MD)

MD describes a group of at least 8 diseases that cause genetic muscular weakness. In each case, genetic mutations happen, causing the muscle mass to waste away. MD is more serious since the muscle mass wastes continuously, and it worsens as one grows. It is often diagnosed in childhood, but it has no cure and progresses to adulthood, where it shortens a person's lifespan. Other than the progressive wasting of muscular mass, MD causes breathing difficulties, heart problems, pain, and learning challenges. Because it progressively weakens the muscles of the sufferer, he eventually needs a wheelchair. Imagery and screening are often needed for diagnosing MD, and surgery and various therapies underscore the commonest treatment methods for this condition without a cure.

What is CBD Oil?

Since many people have joined the CBD bandwagon, and more people are expected to do so, there is every need to help people understand it. CBD oil has risen up the popularity ladder, but not every person has the right information about it. It is a cannabis extract and one of the many active compounds called cannabinoids in cannabis plants. It can come from hemp or marijuana plants, but most brands focus on hemp-derived CBD oil with less than 0.3% THC, to harmonize with the requirements of the 2018 Farm Bill. CBD and THC have the same chemical formula, but CBD oil has non-psychoactive properties, and unlike THC, it does not cause the ‘high’ effect. There are many ways of taking CBD oil effectively, including inhalation (CBD vapes/high-CBD cannabis flower), ingestion (CBD capsules & edibles), topical application (CBD topicals, including serums, lotions, massage oils, creams, balms, patches, and bath soaks), and sublingual administration (CBD oils and tinctures). Irrespective of the product you choose, you can enjoy CBD oil in the following forms;

  • Isolate-based CBD oil; denotes purified CBD oil without any other compound from cannabis plants.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD oil; Features multiple compounds, including terpenes, flavonoids, and many cannabinoids, including CBC, CBT, CBG, and CBGA, but does not have the psychoactive THC.
  • Full-spectrum CBD oil; Is more like broad-spectrum CBD oil, only that it does not have the psychoactive THC.

Can CBD Oil Treat MD?

CBD research is limited, and there are only a few studies on cannabinoids for MD. In these studies, there is insufficient evidence to prove that it can help with MD. Still, research suggests that CBD oil may help MD sufferers manage MD symptoms. The commonest symptoms or challenges MD patients face include pain, muscular weakness, and respiratory issues, some of which CBD oil may help with, as detailed below.

CBD Oil for Managing MD Symptoms

There is hope that CBD oil might help with symptoms of MD, although it cannot cure the condition. For instance, Iannotti et al. (2019) reported that CBD oil could help people with MD, specifically Duchenne MD, manage muscular weakness. The study showed that since CBD oil interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it may have a role in muscular development, muscular degeneration, and genetic mutation. As such, the study adds that CBD oil takes the corrective mechanism role in the body, aligning processes, although it cannot reverse the genetic mutation that caused the muscles to start wasting. It also suggests that the adjuvant therapy for muscular weakness in Duchenne MD can take CB1 receptors (components of the endocannabinoid system) to help MD patients better manage the condition. So far, it is the only study that has shown great potential in CBD for helping with genetic muscular wasting, and we need more studies to uphold it before recommending CBD oil for MD. Mizuno et al. (2018) also noted that CBD oil could help people with MD and mental weakness manage their conditions. Despite the promising finding, the research was limited in the population size and used a small number that was significant in real life but statistically insignificant.

CBD Oil for Muscular Pain

MD patients have to deal with pain throughout their life. The pain originates from the weakened muscles that are not only vulnerable but constant ache. Besides, the respiratory problems they face also lead to pain. Wong & Caims (2019) reported that CBD oil could help relieve muscular pain, suggesting that it might be helpful for MD patients. Besides, Uberall (2020) noted that oromucosal CBD oil could help with pain stemming from respiratory complications. Of course, these findings are promising, but they need further research to uphold them and prove that taking CBD oil in any form or formulation can indeed help with MD.

Should you Take CBD Oil for MD?

CBD promises to help MD patients manage the symptoms of the condition better. Still, many knowledge gaps surround CBD oil, including how it works to help with any condition it is assumed to help with. Besides, the CBD industry is largely unregulated, and some brands deal in substandard products. With these cons in mind, weigh the pros and decide the best choice.


Muscular dystrophy is a genetic condition that causes progressive muscle wasting and often leads to loss of mobility. Although there is insufficient evidence to prove that CBD oil can cure it, existing studies suggest that CBD oil could help manage the pain it causes and target the CB1 receptors to improve it. So far, the existing studies express confidence in CBD oil for MD, but more studies are needed before recommending it for the condition.


Iannotti, F. A., Pagano, E., Guardiola, O., Adinolfi, S., Saccone, V., Consalvi, S., ... & Di Marzo, V. (2018). Genetic And Pharmacological Regulation Of The Endocannabinoid CB1 Receptor In Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Nature Communications, 9(1), 1-13.

Mizuno, Y., Maeda, N., Hamasaki, H., Arahata, H., Sasagasako, N., Honda, H., ... & Iwaki, T. (2018). Four‐Repeat Tau Dominant Pathology In A Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 Patient With Mental Retardation. Brain Pathology, 28(3), 431.

Überall, M. A. (2020). A Review Of Scientific Evidence For THC: CBD Oromucosal Spray (Nabiximols) In The Management Of Chronic Pain. Journal Of Pain Research, 13, 399.

Wong, H., & Cairns, B. E. (2019). Cannabidiol, Cannabinol And Their Combinations Act As Peripheral Analgesics In A Rat Model Of Myofascial Pain. Archives Of Oral Biology, 104, 33-39.