Excitotoxicity is where nerve cells suffer damage or death after excessive release of neurotransmitters like glutamate, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid, or N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (glutamate is most common). Excitotoxicity can be caused by stroke and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), cancer, rapid alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal, and neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
There is some evidence that cannabinoids like CBD have neuroprotective and anti-excitotoxic effects. This is because CBD enhances expression of sodium-calcium exchanger proteins (aka NCX proteins), which helps control glutamate release and signalling.
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