Cannabinoids and Dystonia
Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder syndrome in which involuntary repetitive muscle contractions and spasms result in abnormal fixed postures or twisting. It can affect only one muscle, a group of muscles or even the entire body. It is believed to affect 1 % of the world’s population and it has been found to be more prevalent in women. In general, the cause is unknown. However, what is known is that it is often related to a problem with the basal ganglia (the area of the brain in control of initiating muscle contractions). It has also been found to be a sign of other illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Wilson’s disease.
Symptoms often associated with Dystonia
- Cramping in the foot/ feet
- Speech difficulties
- Uncontrollable blinking
- Involuntary pulling of the neck
- A “dragging leg”
Muscle fatigue and stress from constant spontaneous movements can be one of the things that prompt the other symptoms to become worse. Strong pain killers (like opioids) and muscle relaxers provides some relief. Pain experienced can vary from nothing to severe, all depending on the personal tolerance and/or the source of the problem. In addition, current treatments focus on blocking nerve communications with the muscles. Unfortunately, all prescriptions come with negative side effects and possible addiction and dependency.
Research about medical cannabis and dystonia
After extensive research it has been found that Cannabidiol (CBD) is one safe alternative, due to its powerful analgesic mechanism, extremely low risk for addiction and virtually no adverse effects. Thus, CBD has anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties, among others.
Another disease that disrupts signals between the brain and the rest of the body is Multiple Sclerosis (MS). CBD has been shown to improve some symptoms in this neurological problem, such as decreases muscle spasms.
Literature continues to include more case reports and surveys of CBD´s benefits. According to a case reported, a patient with dystonia secondary to Wilson’s disease, obtained marked improvement in response to the inhalation of Cannabis. Another published paper review found that the use of Cannabidiol showed a dose-response relationship, in order to see changes in dystonia.
Although studies in this area are difficult to do, there is a clear role for cannabis products in symptom management for this neurologic condition.
A review of the research done into the use of cannabinoids as therapy for Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder syndrome.
CBD for Dystonia
Life coach, author, and speaker Tom Seaman describes dystonia as feeling, “like someone constantly had a power drill in my skull, neck, shoulders, and back, and a rope tied around my head yanking it towards my right shoulder.” At least, that’s what Seaman says it’s like on a bad day.
More than 250,000 people in the United States have dystonia, making it the third most common movement disorder behind essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease. Today, let’s delve into the topic of using CBD for dystonia.
CBD for dystonia at a glance
- What the claimsare: CBD can help relieve the symptoms of dystonia, such as muscle spasms and pain. CBD can also address complications of dystonia, such as anxiety and depression.
- What the studies show:Research shows that CBD may be able to help manage pain as well as anxiety, depression, and muscle spasticity. Early research also demonstrates that CBD can act as a neuroprotector, potentially slowing the progression of degenerative conditions that result in dystonia, such as Parkinson’s disease. That said, there haven’t been a large number of trials done on CBD specifically for dystonia.
- What the facts say: Until comprehensive clinical trials on CBD for dystonia are done, we have to rely on early data and anecdotes to determine its value. In the meantime, there are early indicators that positively suggest CBD as a treatment for dystonia has great potential.
What exactly is Dystonia?
Dystonia is a movement disorder that causes muscles to contract involuntarily, resulting in repetitive, twisting motions. Dystonia can affect a single part of the body, as is the case in “focal dystonia,” whereas “segmental dystonia” can affect two adjacent parts of the body, such as the arm and hand. Lastly, there is “general dystonia,” which affects all parts of the body.
The severity of muscle spasms due to this disorder can vary wildly, ranging from mild to extremely severe. Oftentimes, they can be painful, and hamper a person’s ability to complete day-to-day tasks.
The cause of dystonia isn’t known, but we do know that some forms of dystonia are inherited.
Dystonia also can be a symptom of another condition or disease, such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, as well as due to poison, illness, injury at birth, or a traumatic brain injury.
Currently, there is no known cure for dystonia, but medications can help to improve symptoms. In certain cases, surgery to disable or regulate nerves or certain brain regions can be an option for people with extremely severe dystonia.
Symptoms of dystonia vary from person to person, but often:
- Begin in one region. Focal dystonia that begins after age 21 tends to start in the neck, arm, or face and then remain focal or segmental.
- Occur during a specific activity, like when handwriting.
- Worsen with anxiety, stress, or fatigue.
- Become more severe as time passes.
Dystonia can affect many areas of the body, including the neck, which can cause contractions that force the head to twist to one side, forward, or backward, which can cause discomfort and even pain. Other areas that can potentially be affected are the eyelids (which can result in rapid blinking and spasms), the jaw or tongue (which can cause slurred speech, drooling, or difficulty chewing and swallowing), the vocal cords and voice box, the hands, and the forearms.
How can CBD be used for dystonia?
CBD for dystonia can be used in a number of ways. Some people use it strictly for its relaxing properties. Dystonia symptoms can worsen due to anxiety, lack of sleep, and fatigue. Because CBD is known to help with those issues, some people find it can decrease the severity of their symptoms in that way.
Others might find that CBD for dystonia can help with their pain as well as any depression related to this disorder. That said, while some people are finding relief from dystonia symptoms, others cite no change or improvement in their muscular symptoms.
Are there any potential downsides of using CBD for dystonia?
CBD is generally well-tolerated, and doesn’t typically cause side effects. Those that do present themselves are minor and include tiredness, change in appetite, or diarrhea. Because many of the medications used to treat the symptoms of dystonia can come with other, more serious side effects, CBD for dystonia might be a viable option to add to your arsenal.
One thing we also like to note is that not all CBD products are the same. Make sure that you read the labels and do some research on the different offerings from various companies before you make any purchases to ensure you’re getting quality ingredients. You can find a great collection of reviews here at CBDbreaker.com, as well research-enriched profiles on CBD Companies.
It’s also important to use the product as directed and give it some time. That said, no matter how diligent you are about the quality of the product you purchase, CBD might not alleviate or improve your symptoms.
As for major risks or downsides, according to a recent study by the World Health Organization, CBD is not associated with abuse potential and appears to be non-habit forming.
Is CBD for dystonia the right choice for me?
Based on our research, CBD seems like it can address many of the symptoms of dystonia. It also appears as if it can address a number of underlying conditions and complications that come along with this disorder.
In short, CBD for dystonia could be an excellent option for some. That said, there have been very few studies on the subject to date, and more are needed to determine exactly how much CBD can help. As always, please make sure you consult with your primary care physician before making changes to your healthcare routine.
Is CBD a viable treatment option for those living with dystonia? Are there any risks or downsides? Find out about how CBD can heal your joints here.