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Medical Marijuana and Melorheostosis

What Is Melorheostosis?

  Melorheostosis is a rare, non-hereditary bone disease that is caused my a mutation of the LEMD3 gene. While the disease is benign, it is also progressive, meaning the disease will get worse over time. Characterized by hyperostosis, or thickening of the cortical bone, Melorheostosis is typically apparent very early on, often within a few days of birth. Melorheostosis affects both females and males with 50 percent of the sufferers showing symptoms before age 20. The name, derived from the Greek melos "limb" and rhein "to flow, comes from the fact that when viewed on X-rays, the lesions that plague the bones tend to look like wax dripping down a candle. Both the bone and the soft tissue, including muscles, ligaments and tendons are affected when someone has Melorheostosis. Sadly, Melorheostosis typically results in severe functional limitations, extreme pain, soft tissue contractures and deformities of the limbs, hands and feet. The disease most commonly affects the legs, feet, arms and hands. It may affect both sides or only one side.  Common symptoms of Melorheostosis include irregular bone growth, limbs that are uneven, swelling or fusion in the joints, range of motion limitations, hyper-pigmentation of the skin, cold sensitivity and vascular abnormalities. In addition, soft tissue abnormalities are often present such as tendon and ligament shortening, muscles that are abnormal or missing altogether, calcification, and contractures that result in joints that are malformed or immobilized. Melorheostosis is a rare, non-hereditary bone disease that is caused my a mutation of the LEMD3 gene. While the disease is benign, it is also progressive, meaning the disease will get worse over time. Characterized by hyperostosis, or thickening of the cortical bone, Melorheostosis is typically apparent very early on, often within a few days of birth. Melorheostosis affects both females and males with 50 percent of the sufferers showing symptoms before age 20. The name, derived from the Greek melos "limb" and rhein "to flow, comes from the fact that when viewed on X-rays, the lesions that plague the bones tend to look like wax dripping down a candle. Both the bone and the soft tissue, including muscles, ligaments and tendons are affected when someone has Melorheostosis. Sadly, Melorheostosis typically results in severe functional limitations, extreme pain, soft tissue contractures and deformities of the limbs, hands and feet. The disease most commonly affects the legs, feet, arms and hands. It may affect both sides or only one side.  Common symptoms of Melorheostosis include irregular bone growth, limbs that are uneven, swelling or fusion in the joints, range of motion limitations, hyper-pigmentation of the skin, cold sensitivity and vascular abnormalities. In addition, soft tissue abnormalities are often present such as tendon and ligament shortening, muscles that are abnormal or missing altogether, calcification, and contractures that result in joints that are malformed or immobilized.

Medical Marijuana and Melorheostosis

Medical Marijuana and Melorheostosis

Medical marijuana may be able to help alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with Melorheostosis. Because the disease can cause such excruciating pain, opiate based pain relievers are commonly prescribed to reduce the pain. Although these pain medications are initially effective in pain management, they eventually stop working as well as the patient builds up a tolerance to the medication. In addition, traditional pain medication carries with it the risk of dependence or addiction. Marijuana is an alternative and/or an addition to an opiate based pain medication regimen.

Along with helping to control the pain associated with Melorheostosis, medical marijuana may also help to reduce the inflammation that is caused by the disease. As with traditional pain medication, prescription anti-inflammatory medications, commonly referred to as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, come with the potential for negative side effects. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and decreased appetite are common side-effects. With extended use, NSAIDs may cause damage to your liver or kidneys.

Medical Marijuana and Melorheostosis: Clinical Evidence

Not only has medical marijuana been used for centuries as a pain reliever, but recent studies have supported the conclusion that medial marijuana does work as a valid pain relief option, with considerably less negative side-effects. A recent study shoed that by adding medical marijuana to the opiate based pain medication regime of sufferers of severe or chronic pain, study participants experienced on average a 27 percent drop in pain levels without adding to the level of opiates found in their blood-levels. Numerous other studies on cancer patients have also concluded that medical marijuana offers significant analgesic benefits to pain sufferers. Those same studies have also shown medical marijuana to be effective in combating the nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite that they may be experiencing as a result of the numerous traditional medications they may have been prescribed.

Medical marijuana may also be able to help with the inflammation that is often associated with Melorheostosis. Along with THC, medical marijuana also contains Cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD is an important component of marijuana which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Along with CBD, medical cannabis has been shown to reduce tissue inflammation as a result of the presence of the compound β-caryophyllene. Both CBD and β-caryophyllene work to reduce inflammation in soft tissue that can cause pain in those suffering from Melorheostosis.

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