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Medical Marijuana and Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome

What Is Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome?

Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome, known colloquially as restless legs syndrome or RLS, is a condition that presents as unsettling feelings in the arms, torso, phantom limbs or legs, though it most often affects the legs. The sensations of Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome differ from patient to patient. They are most often described as itching, crawling and painful. They manifest before or during sleep. Walking often helps and sufferers will often move their legs around during sleep in an unconscious effort to obtain relief. The cause of Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome is currently unknown. However, researchers have shown particular interest in the nervous system and in anemia. 

The symptoms of Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome include wanting to walk, relief when walking, the aforementioned sensations, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep and feeling tired during the day. The symptoms often go away for a period of time and then come back, so sufferers will typically have days, weeks or even months of relief. Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome may become more likely with age. However, sufferers often say the condition simply got worse as they aged but had been present since early adulthood. 

Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome can sometimes be treated with medical marijuana. Cases where anemia is causing the restless leg symptoms will require different treatment as medical marijuana cannot treat anemia. However, even in such cases, medical marijuana may be able to help with difficulty falling asleep and difficulty staying asleep. With an estimated 10 million RLS patients in the United States alone, this treatment is important for both Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome and the resulting lack of sleep that most sufferers experience.

Medical Marijuana and Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome

Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome and Medical Marijuana Research 

Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome is commonly found in individuals who suffer from the notoriously difficult to treat condition fibromyalgia. Research on medical marijuana and fibromyalgia is far more extensive than that of medical marijuana and Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome. However, some studies on the former condition have produced results on the latter. Furthermore, doctors who prescribe medical marijuana to patients with restless legs syndrome have witnessed results and many medical and non-medical marijuana users with the condition report positive results. 

A study conducted on 56 patients with fibromyalgia, half of which were marijuana users before the study, showed that 81 percent of the patients who had sleep disturbances due to their fibromyalgia experienced relief from these symptoms. However, the published results did not show what percentage of these relieved patients suffered from restless legs syndrome, though it did mention Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome as one of the co-morbid conditions from which some of their subjects suffered. 

Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome, Lack of Sleep and Medical Marijuana Research 

Because Wittmaack Ekbom's Syndrome symptoms occur when in restful states, before sleep and during sleep, the primary complication is lack of sleep. While there is not much clinical research available on the efficacy of medical marijuana for Wittmaack Ekbom's Syndrome, there is a wealth of it concerning using medical marijuana as a sleep aid. In fact, medical marijuana has been used as a sleep aid for thousands of years. Its effectiveness at helping individuals with sleep conditions like Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome is well known. Even recreational marijuana users report this side effect of marijuana.

A study conducted at the University of Alberta was testing the use of medical marijuana as an appetite enhancer in cancer patients and found that the patients slept better while using the drug. The focus of the study was on eating and that showed positive results as well. The sleep aid was just an added benefit, but it shows what people have known for thousands of years; medical marijuana can help people sleep. It also has fewer side effects than many sleep aids. 

Medical marijuana has a few known potential side effects. These include paranoia and anxiety. Common sleep medications have side effects that include diarrhea, nausea, behavioral changes, trouble breathing, fainting, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. These are found in even over-the-counter sleep aids, which RLS sufferers often turn to for relief. Medical marijuana can be taken with no emergency side effects. From what is currently known, it cannot fatally harm a patient, no matter the dose. 

Wittmaack-Ekbom's Syndrome sufferers can take it with very little chance of lasting side effects and no chance of an emergency physical reaction. This is a very important component of any drug for this condition, given that it is a long-lasting condition that will likely require treatment over a period of months or years.

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