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Medical Marijuana and Friedreich's Ataxia

What Is Friedreich's Ataxia?

Friedreich's ataxia, also called hereditary spinal ataxia, is the sclerosis of the posterior and lateral columns of the spinal cord, occurring in children and characterized by ataxia in the lower extremities that spreads to the upper extremities and is followed by paralysis and contractures.

Medical Marijuana and Friedreich's Ataxia

Friedreich's ataxia is a debilitating, and life-threatening degenerative neuro-muscular disorder that affects about one in every 50,000 people in the United States. This is an autosomal recessive inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system which results in symptoms ranging from gait disturbance to speech problems. In server cases, this condition can also lead to heart disease and the potential for diabetes.

The ataxia of Friedreich's ataxia results from the degeneration of nerve tissue in the spinal cord, and affects in particular the sensory neurons that are essential for directing muscle movement in the arms and legs. The spinal cord begins to become drastically thinner and the nerve cell begins to lose some of their myelin sheath, otherwise known as the insulating covering on the nerve cells that help conduct nerve impulses, and puts these cells at great stake. Onset of symptoms of this condition can vary from childhood to adulthood. Usually the childhood onset occurs between the ages of five and fifteen and tends to be associated with a more rapid progression of the condition. Symptoms of this condition results in loss of coordination in the arms and legs, fatigue or severe energy deprivation and muscle loss, vision impairment, hearing loss and slurred speech, aggressive scoliosis, diabetes mellitus and serious heart conditions in severe cases.

Medical marijuana contains cannabinoids, which are absolutely essential in the lessening or alleviating of the symptoms that are directly associated with Friedreich's ataxia. Cannabinoids not only act as antioxidants to reduce free radicals but they also act as pain relievers to suppress transmission of pain signals in the brain, relieve jerky eye movements, relax muscles that are tightened in the spine, help relieve depression or anxiety, relieves muscle spasms and drastic leg cramps and can help alleviate stress to no end. There is no cure for Friedreich's ataxia at this current moment; however researchers around the world are getting closer to finding the answers.

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