Cannabis For Spasticity: Benefits And Uses | CAC
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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects more women than men, with double the impact. As we explore ways to manage this condition, both traditional and alternative treatments hold value. Therapeutic cannabis is one such area of interest. For some, MS starts with episodes of relapsing and remitting before it worsens. This progression can lead to muscle stiffness, spasms, and pain that are difficult to manage1

Medical cannabis offers hope in easing muscle stiffness. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD show promise by working with the endocannabinoid system, which is critical in MS. As MS advances, brain atrophy accelerates, leading to increased disability. This underscores the urgency for new and effective treatments.

Research indicates that cannabis might do more than just manage symptoms like spasticity. It could play a key role in treating a broad range of neurological issues. People with MS often face not just muscle weakness but also fatigue, pain, and tremors. Reports show that cannabinoids can help with these problems, from easing spasticity and pain to improving bladder function. This shifts our perspective on the potential of cannabis in treating MS.

Key Takeaways

  • MS affects women twice as often as men1.
  • Therapeutic cannabis, especially cannabinoids like THC and CBD, show promise in relieving muscle stiffness and other symptoms.
  • The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis and therapy of MS.
  • Clinical evidence supports potential benefits of cannabis beyond traditional symptom management.
  • Anecdotal reports suggest cannabinoids can alleviate key symptoms, such as spasticity, pain, and bladder dysfunction1.

Natural treatments for MS

Understanding Spasticity and Its Impact

Spasticity causes muscle stiffness and spasms, significantly affecting quality of life. It is often linked to conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS) and spinal cord injuries. MS typically appears in young adults, affecting more women than men1.

Common symptoms of spasticity include muscle tightness, fatigue, and balance issues. It can also cause pain, disrupt sleep, and hinder mobility. As MS progresses, spasticity often worsens, making daily activities more challenging.

In MS, certain cells infiltrate the brain, leading to the breakdown of myelin. This can trigger chronic inflammation, exacerbating muscle stiffness. Cannabis has shown potential in reducing spasticity, particularly in MS model mice. Studies have demonstrated that THC and drugs mimicking natural cannabinoids can quickly reduce tremors and muscle stiffness, highlighting the potential benefits of cannabinoids for those with spasticity issues.

How Cannabis Interacts with the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) includes CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are crucial for nerve signal transmission. CB1 receptors are mainly in the brain, while CB2 receptors are found in various body cells. THC affects CB1 receptors, helping to manage muscle spasms and tremors. CBD, on the other hand, enhances receptor function without directly binding to them, potentially improving therapeutic outcomes.

Studies have shown that cannabis can alleviate MS symptoms such as muscle stiffness and pain. Clinical trials support patient reports of cannabis’s benefits. Cannabinoids interact with the ECS, protecting nerve cells and modulating the immune system, which is vital in conditions like MS. Research continues to uncover how cannabis aids the ECS, especially in inflammatory conditions1, making the brain safer in injuries.

Research is finding out more about how cannabis may aid by affecting our endocannabinoid system. Natural and man-made cannabinoids might protect our nerves, especially when the brain is inflamed. This defense is vital in diseases like MS, where the body mistakenly attacks the brain. This new knowledge shows that THC and CBD could be powerful tools to treat muscle stiffness and other symptoms.

cannabis for spasicity

Cannabis for Spasticity: Clinical Evidence and Studies

Using cannabis-based medicine for spasticity, especially in MS, is gaining a lot of attention. A significant study found that 30 out of 37 participants experienced reduced spasticity with smoked cannabis compared to a placebo, with a 2.74-point improvement on a spasticity scale. Pain reduction was also more significant with cannabis use, showing a 5.28-point improvement2.

People with MS often deal with muscle spasms, pain, and tremors, which cannabis can help ease. Components in cannabis, like THC and CBD, work with our body’s system that fights inflammation in the central nervous system. This helps protect nerve cells, reduce damaging inflammation, and balance immune responses, collectively lowering symptoms of spasticity1.

Clinical trials show that cannabis helps manage spasticity better than placebos in people with MS. For instance, a UK study at the University of Plymouth indicated long-term benefits after twelve months, suggesting that cannabis with THC and CBD could improve the lives of around 10,000 MS patients. While research is promising, more extensive studies are needed to confirm the benefits and safety of cannabis treatments for spasticity3.

Medical Cannabis and Multiple Sclerosis

MS affects the central nervous system, leading to immune dysfunction and inflammation. Spasticity, a common MS symptom, affects about 85% of patients, significantly impacting their quality of life. Medical cannabis is seen as a potential treatment for these symptoms.

Sativex, a spray containing THC and CBD, is approved for MS-related spasticity in the UK and is available through the NHS. However, it is prescribed cautiously, as it is not effective for everyone. Still, Sativex legally helps with muscle tightness and spasms in MS.

Many MS patients use cannabis in hopes of broader symptom relief. Studies suggest cannabis might improve their quality of life, with 82% of users finding it helpful and safe. Some patients self-medicate with cannabis to manage spasticity and mobility, with 38% reporting benefits. However, doctors recommend starting with treatments like Sativex under medical supervision.

More research and medical oversight are essential to understand how cannabis can be effectively used in MS treatment. By exploring the role of cannabinoids, we can potentially improve outcomes for MS patients4

Conclusion

Research into cannabinoids for spasticity management, particularly in MS, looks very promising. A study that looked at 134 people with conditions like multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries found that cannabinoids are effective at easing symptoms such as nerve pain and muscle stiffness. The people who took part in the study saw real benefits from treatments containing THC, CBD, or both, showing that using cannabis as medicine holds great potential5.

Additional trials support the idea that smoking marijuana can reduce spasticity. A scale used to measure this showed a 2.74-point drop for those using cannabis compared to those not. People also felt less pain, with ratings on a pain scale going down by 5.28 points when they used cannabis. This news is exciting because it hints that medical marijuana could really help people who suffer from muscle stiffness.

However, more information is needed about the long-term safety and efficacy of cannabis treatments. Comprehensive studies are required to fully understand the potential of these drugs for individuals with spasticity related to diseases like MS.

 

Source Links

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2626929/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3394820/
  3. https://www.mssociety.org.uk/research/latest-research/research-blog/cannabis-and-ms-research-whats-evidence
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9148011/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10459421/

 

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