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Prion Infection overview

Prion diseases refer to several different issues with an important type of protein in the brain called prions. These infections tend to cause other proteins in the brain to unfold abnormally, leading to severe complications and eventual death.

Prion diseases are known to be transmittable to humans through contaminated meat products. That said, even the most common types of prion diseases are incredibly rare. There are several different ways someone could end up with one, and they aren’t always anything we can control. Sadly, most types of prion diseases are fatal, with many being extremely fast-moving.

Prion diseases and infections are caused when the prion proteins, which cover many types of cells, start functioning abnormally. This leads to the clumping of prions, which damages the brain in several ways, including memory loss, personality changes, and trouble moving. Given how rare they are, researchers still don’t know much else about these often life-threatening conditions.

The primary symptoms of various prion diseases include rapidly increasing dementia symptoms and confusion, increased fatigue, muscle stiffness, and general difficulty with movement. Signs have also been known to manifest as hallucinations or trouble speaking and finding the right words.

Despite the lack of detailed information, researchers have identified three distinct risk factors for developing prion diseases. As with many conditions, research shows that having a family history of prion diseases greatly increases your risk of developing one as well. That said, others have developed prion diseases due to environmental exposure. For instance, infection from contaminated medical equipment and ingesting infected meat are both known to cause these terrible conditions.

While some of the main risk factors of prion diseases are things we can’t control, there are still some clear cut ways to reduce risk. Generally, robust cleaning and sterilization practices have been shown to reduce the spread of diseases drastically. Advances in regulations for the feeding of cows has also decreased the overall risk of contamination.

As mentioned, Prion diseases are extremely rare, with only around 300 people affected each year in the US. However, given the often terminal prognosis, identifying advances in neuroprotective medicines remains paramount.

Prion infections are severe, and the outlook gets much worse the longer it takes to begin treatment. While prion diseases are often fatal, proper treatment plans can significantly increase the quality of life and even slow the progression. If you’re worried you or a loved one could be facing a prion disease, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Only they can accurately diagnose the issue.

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Table of Contents

CBD Research For Prion Infection

potencial impact research overview

Prion Infection - Nonpsychoactive cannabidiol prevents prion accumulation and protects neurons against prion toxicity

  • French National Center for Scientific Research
  • 2007

related conditions:


Researchers sought to understand the role cannabinoids may play in the accumulation of protease-resistant prion protein in the central nervous system. Their experiment found that CBD inhibited protease-resistant prion protein accumulation, where other cannabinoids were weak inhibitors or non-inhibitory. The results of the study suggest that CBD may offer neuroprotective benefits against the neurodegenerative process that takes place during prion infection, showing potential as a novel anti-prion drug.

Prion Infection - Cannabidiol: a prion therapy for mice?

  • Institute for Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
  • 2008

related conditions:


This review, published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research, highlights key data and research noting the potential neuroprotective properties of CBD against the neurodegenerative effects of prion infection. The authors note the unique effects of CBD on prion accumulation as opposed to other cannabinoids. They conclude that CBD offers great potential for the development of new anti-prion therapies and drugs.

Prion Infection - Alteration of the endocannabinoid system in mouse brain during prion disease

  • Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry
  • 2011

related conditions:


Noting its ability to modulate neuroimmune responses and neurotransmission, researchers study the endocannabinoid system in a prion-infected mouse model. Endocannabinoid production was enhanced following infection, with CB2 receptor expression being upregulated as well. This study highlights important modulations of the endocannabinoid system during the early stages of prion infection, long before clinical signs are traditionally displayed.

CBD Research That Might Be Useful for Symptoms of Prion Infection

potencial impact research overview

Mood Disorders- Acute Effects of a Single, Oral dose of d9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) Administration in Healthy Volunteers

  • University of Barcelona
  • 2012

related conditions:

Mood Disorders

Unlike THC, which was shown to have acute behavioural and physiological effects, CBD was proven safe and well tolerated by healthy patients. In fact, while THC was associated with higher risks of anxiety and dysphoria, there were no differences between the CBD and placebo on any negative symptomatic variable.

Sleep - Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature

  • Palo Alto University, CA, USA
  • 2017

related conditions:


This report concludes CBD holds promise for significantly increasing the quality of REM sleep. Researchers believe it could one day be a primary force behind improved overall sleep quality. CBD was even shown to reduce daytime sleepiness in many patients.

Anxiety - Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: a review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence

  • University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 2013

related conditions:


A comprehensive review of all the plant-based medicine which has had both preclinical and human clinical trials conducted about their anxiolytic-like effect. An analysis of over 1500 papers identified 21 plants which had been adequately tested, with one of the most successful of these plants found to be CBD enriched Cannabis species.

Prion Infection & CBD Research Overview

Over the last 15 or 20 years, CBD has quickly grown from a lesser-known alternative to THC, into a well-respected medication of its own. As such, it wasn't all that long ago, very few people had any idea the massive range of things CBD could potentially help improve or prevent, including prion infections.

One of the most vital ways it seems that CBD could help is by reducing the accumulation of protease-resistant prion proteins. According to Nonpsychoactive cannabidiol prevents prion accumulation and protects neurons against prion toxicity, beginning a CBD regimen can inhibit the release of these vital proteins, suggesting powerful neuroprotective properties are at play.

Reviews of the available research, including Cannabidiol: a prion therapy for mice?, have also suggested CBD has neuroprotective benefits. The team tested the efficacy of various cannabinoids to reduce the prion growth, confirming CBD is most potent and should be studied further.

However, the researchers behind Alteration of the endocannabinoid system in mouse brain during prion disease observed important changes to the endocannabinoid system after infection. Their research showed endocannabinoid production is impacted by prion infection development in a consistently trackable way, well-before clinical signs of the disease become apparent.

Anxiety and general mood swings are two common complications of worsening prion infection. That said, reports such as Acute Effects of a Single, Oral dose of d9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) Administration in Healthy Volunteers, and Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: a review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence, provide evidence both these issues are mitigated via a CBD regimen. CBD was proven to be much more tolerable in humans than other cannabinoids, including THC, as it wasn't associated with higher rates of anxiety or dysphoria. Additionally, reviews of over 1500 papers concluded CBD is the single best plant-based anxiety medication we currently have at our disposal.

Finally, many living with a prion infection may have difficulty getting quality rest at night. This is another issue that CBD may offer some relief from, as reports such as Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature, have indicated. The researchers not only believe CBD can significantly improve REM sleep, but also reduce daytime sleepiness as well.

Best CBD for Prion Infection

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Suggested CBD Dosage for Prion Infection

Dosage Per Day


600 mg


800 mg


1000 mg

One of the most common questions we get asked is about dosages. However, there is not one blanket answer to this. With CBD, there are so many variables in play that the right routine can vary a lot from person to person even when they are dealing with the same symptoms or conditions.

There may not be any precise answer, but studies show it takes very high levels of CBD to reduce the impact of neurodegenerative disorders, such as prion infection. In fact, some researchers think upwards of 5mg per pound per day is needed to effectively reduce risk. This means the average person will need about 1000mg of CBD per day, which could prove untenable for many.

While CBD is widespread in many parts of the country, there are still some areas where it is considered illegal, as a product of cannabis. We urge our readers to do thorough research whenever traveling so that you can avoid any repercussions from local authorities.

It is also good to point out that while many of the CBD products on the market are THC-free, there are some that do contain THC. This is because some people feel that the THC bolsters the effect of CBD. So it is important if you are unable or unwilling to get high that you use CBD only products.

Whether you have decided that CBD works for you or not, we hope you will share what you have learned. We are working to build a trustworthy source of information for those just starting their CBD journey. We hope that if you are taking those first steps, you take a look at the comments and hopefully find the information you need. If we all continue to work together, we can all get closer to a well-informed world.

Tracking CBD Effectiveness For Prion Infection

When initially starting treatment with CBD, it can be difficult to know exactly how well it is working. This is an issue that many people deal with at the beginning since the effects of CBD can be subtle. That said, it's important to tease out the ideal treatment improving quality of life for those with Prion Infection.

One suggestion we have found effective is tracking your daily dosage and resulting symptoms in a journal. After a few weeks of tracking, you'll find not only if CBD works for you, but also how well. Tracking your progress over an extended period of time really puts it into perspective.

Everyone's relationship with CBD is different, so it may take a matter of days, or it may be a matter of weeks to find the ideal balance for you. You have to experiment a little before finding the right fit. When going through this process, it is always important to stay in tune with your body's needs.

We often get questions about the necessity of tracking your routine. While some people are able to find success in their CBD routine without it, we have found the most consistent success comes with a few weeks of journaling.

We would also like to encourage those members of our community who have tracked their CBD usage to share what worked for them. All we ask is to take a few minutes and score how CBD has helped with your anxiety, trouble sleeping, and mood swings. Your comments could help the next newcomer find their solution. Likewise, please see if others have left anything you find useful. Together we can try to bring some relief to those who are dealing with Prion Infection.

Written By
John Mace Alois is lead content creator at the Did CBD Work? project. He’s analyzed over 400 research papers related to Cannabidiol and helped publish over 55 works related to different conditions for the project. He majored in Cultural Anthropology, with a minor in English, from the University at Albany. He is an avid collector of art supplies and refurbishes old furniture in his spare time.

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