Medical Marijuana and Stuttering
We all have moments when our speech doesn’t flow as smoothly as we’d wish. Individuals who stutter tend to get stuck on certain words and sounds making maintaining a conversation difficult. This speech impediment can make individuals feel nervous and uncomfortable. It’s important to know you’re not alone — and there are treatment options, including the possibility of including medical marijuana into your therapy regimen.
What Is Stuttering?
Stuttering, also commonly referred to as stammering, is a communication and speech disorder in which the individual has speech disfluencies. You can identify stuttering by the repetition of syllables, sounds and words interrupting the normal flow of speech. You’ll find people who stutter know precisely what it is they want to say but have difficulty producing sentences.
Stuttering links to tension due to embarrassment, anxiety or fear. This physical tension stutterers experience when flexing speech muscles include:
- Rapid eye movement such as constant blinking
- Tremors of the lip or face
- Fist clenching
Many different patterns of stuttering exist, ranging from mild to severe. Individuals with this speech disorder find it challenging to communicate with other people. As a result, the quality of their life is often affected as well as interpersonal relationships.
Symptoms of Stuttering
At the onset, a speaker may not realize they have a stuttering issue. After all, there are times when we all have experienced an interruption in our flow of speech. If you find you’re experiencing such a disfluency often, then it’s a sign you likely have a speech disorder.
Some specific symptoms of stuttering you may have noticed in yourself or someone else include:
- Prolongations: The tendency to stretch out a single word for a long time.
- Blocks: During stammering, you may have a hard time getting a word out. Therefore, you might take a long pause or might be unable to make a sound at all.
- Repetition: Repeating parts or a whole word several times.
- Circumlocutions: Avoiding problematic words or adding in extra words such as “um” or “you know.”
Stutterers experience great stress when speaking. This stress and anxiety will convey itself in the form of:
- Hesitation to speak or pausing before beginning a sentence
- Refusing to speak at all
- Facial and body tics
Stammering habits can vary from day-to-day. There are times when a stutterer is quite fluent, and then there are times of increased disfluency. Stuttering can get worse when a person is excited, angry, stressed or under pressure.
Causes of Stuttering
No one knows the exact cause of stuttering. However, medical experts consider stuttering to be part of a neurological condition, which explains the disruption in the regular production of speech. For some people, stuttering can be an inherited condition, while in others it’s mainly triggered by emotional and situational factors. The Stuttering Foundation reports genetic components have a role in a percentage of stuttering cases.
Sudden onset stuttering is usually neurogenic, which means the brain has trouble sending signals to the nerves, muscles or areas of the brain controlling speech. This can be due to brain trauma, drug abuse, epilepsy or even chronic depression.
Types of Stuttering
Health experts typically group speech disorders into three main categories:
- Developmental stuttering: This is the most common form of stuttering. Developmental stuttering affects young children who are still in the process of learning how to talk and developing their vocabulary. Clinicians believe this occurs when a child’s speech and language abilities are unable to match verbal demands. In many cases, developmental stuttering resolves itself over time.
- Psychogenic stuttering: Psychogenic stuttering is a result of a traumatic event. This form of stammering develops in the part of the brain controlling normal thinking and reasoning. Stuttering develops in response to emotional and psychological disturbance, which commonly displays in adulthood onset stuttering. Stammering may even persist after you’ve minimized your trauma.
- Neurogenic stuttering: As previously mentioned, onset stammering can be a result of a neurogenic condition. Abnormalities in the signal transferred throughout the brain, nerves and muscles are responsible for this type of stuttering. Head trauma, a degenerative condition like Parkinson’s disease, tumors or a lack of blood flow to the brain can cause neurogenic stuttering.
Statistics on Stuttering
About one percent of the world’s population stutters. This works out to be approximately 70 million people worldwide and three million Americans. Stuttering can affect both men and women of all ages.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), stuttering commonly affects young children. Children between the ages two and six are more likely to start stuttering as they develop language skills.
Roughly 75 percent of children outgrow stuttering. The remaining 25 percent who continue to stutter will have to deal with this communication disorder through adulthood.
Though stuttering is not inherited in the standard sense, there may be some genetic component. Nearly two-thirds of people who stutter (60 percent) have a family member who also stutters.
History of Stuttering
Of course, stuttering isn’t something new. There are historical examples of stammering. This speech impediment dates back to the B.C. era. In fact, Moses, a biblical prophet, struggled with stuttering. When God sought to use him to fulfill his purpose, Moses told him he was “slow of speech” and “slow of tongue.”
In mid-300 B.C., a Greek statesman named Demosthenes had a speech disorder. He worked alongside a well-known actor of that time called Satyrus to improve his stuttering. Supposedly, Satyrus had Demosthenes put pebbles in his mouth and using a mirror had him practice formal speech.
Effects of Stuttering
This communication disorder can have an impact on an individual’s well-being, especially when it’s left untreated. Stammering has no physical effects. However, it can affect emotional and psychological health.
Stutterers typically experience emotional and psychological difficulties. They often suffer from low-self esteem, social anxiety and fail to develop relationships with others. People with severe stuttering tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. They experience depression and in some cases may inflict harm upon themselves.
Current Treatments Available for Stuttering and Their Side Effects
Although there is no cure for stuttering, there are several treatment options available. An individual should be medically evaluated to determine a diagnosis for effective treatment. Most treatment options aim at teaching skills and strategies implemented during oral communication with no side effects.
Some common forms of treatment used to help people who stutter include:
Often, people who stutter have to undergo speech therapy. Fluency-shaping therapy and stuttering modification therapy are frequently used to teach:
- How to speak fluently at different speeds
- How to stretch vowels and consonants
- Breathing control methods
- How to deal with anxiety which makes stuttering worse
Speech therapy can be time-consuming, but is often covered by health insurance.
Electronic fluency devices is another treatment method for stuttering. An individual will wear an earpiece to provide auditory feedback by echoing the speaker’s voice, so they feel like they’re talking in unison with someone else. This is supposed to help eliminate stuttering. While some people respond well to this treatment, it has proved to be ineffective for many. Electronic devices for stuttering can be expensive and researchers don’t know their long-term effectiveness.
Recent Developments in Stuttering
Recent research into why stuttering occurs has revealed the possibility that brain activity in individuals who stutter is different than in people who don’t. Brain images have shown differences in the function and structure of the circuit governing speech production.
Other recent developments in the study of stuttering include the discovery of three stuttering-associated genes, but more research is needed before the medical community can apply their understanding to improvements in speech.
Also, a few studies have shown the bundle of nerve fibers connecting the motor and sensory parts of the brain is disorganized in people who stutter. Such slight abnormalities in this area are what cause speech disfluency.
What Side Effects/ Symptoms of Stuttering Can Medical Marijuana Treat?
Medical marijuana for stuttering is said to relax the muscles, which remove the speech disruption when you speak, so you stutter less. Some stuttering symptoms and signs weed may help with include:
- Excess tightness, tension or movement of your upper body or face to produce a word
- Head jerks
- Facial tics
- Rapid eye blinks
- Clinching fists
- Limited ability to communicate effectively
- Tremors of your jaw or lips
Stuttering often involves distress, anxiety and low self-esteem along with the spasmodic sound repetition. The CBD in medical pot can help to resolve these issues, so we can deduce CBD will likely assist with stuttering challenges. Therefore, it could be worth you trying medical cannabis for stuttering.
Some studies have already shown CBD can help reduce the severity and frequency of tics. For instance, one study in 1998 showed patients with Tourette Syndrome (TS) who used marijuana experienced an outstanding 80 percent decrease in their tics.
Another study involved two patients with treatment-resistant TS and incapacitating stuttering-like disfluencies in a speech from palilalia and vocal blocking. The study showed when clinicians gave subjects either dronabinol (synthetic THC) or medical weed, the patients experienced significant improvement in things like:
- Vocal tics
- Complex and motor tics
- Social contact
- School performance
- Quality of life
Best Strains of Marijuana to Use for Stuttering Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects
Probably the best cannabis strains for stuttering are those used to tackle anxiety and to relax you and your muscles. Some relaxing strains you could try include:
- Blueberry Cough (Hybrid)
- Nova OG (Indica)
- Hawaiian Punch (Sativa)
- Green Ribbon (Hybrid)
Some good anxiety-fighting strains to try include:
- Outer Space (Sativa)
- Midnight (Hybrid)
- Rockstar (Indica)
- Green Goddess (Hybrid)
You’ll probably want to experiment a little to find the strain or strains that work best for your stuttering and other symptoms.
Best Methods of Marijuana Treatment to Treat Side Effects and Symptoms of Stuttering
There’s no clear-cut method all patients should use. Each patient differs in their ideal ingestion method, and everyone’s biochemistry responds differently to different THC and CBD ratios and routes of delivery.
You should discuss your administration options with your cannabis doctor and the type of relief you’re looking for so they can help come up with a marijuana treatment plan tailored to you and your particular stuttering symptoms.
Some common medical marijuana administration routes include:
- Raw Medical Cannabis, Edibles and Beverages
Cannabis beverages and edibles offer you a slower delivery method. Your digestive process will allow the herb to pass through various organs before you get the actual dose, meaning it could take around an hour for the cannabis to travel to your brain from your liver before you get a thorough amount of THC and/or CBD in your system.
Vaping seems to be a better and healthier choice than smoking weed. Whether flower or oil, you heat up the active ingredients instead of burning them, leaving you with a potent gas or vapor dosage. It produces quick effects which are great to help calm down your anxiety, facial tics, vocal tics and other symptoms.
- Tinctures and Sprays
Medical cannabis for stuttering sprays and tinctures work well if you want to avoid the lung irritation and other potential risks of smoking. Using a sublingual application, you placing the mixes of oil, extracts, glycerin and alcohol under your tongue. As with edibles, tinctures can take a while before you begin feeling their effects.
- Pills and Suppositories
Many individuals are now choosing to receive their medical cannabis in pill form. Similar to edibles, pills could provide you with a more potent treatment since weed tends to be stronger when you ingest it rather than burn it. Suppositories produce similar effects with your colon except they bypass your stomach enzymes altogether.
Take the Next Step in Obtaining Medical Marijuana for Stuttering
Obtaining medical marijuana for stuttering begins with finding a cannabis doctor to evaluate you. After you receive your medical marijuana card, you can shop at different dispensaries to find the strains and products that suit you best.
Here at MarijuanaDoctors.com, you can browse through our medical marijuana physician listings to find a cannabis-certified doctor who can determine your eligibility. Use our resources page to learn more about how to use our site to help you begin treating your stuttering with cannabis.
This information is not provided by medical professionals and is intended only to complement, and not to replace or contradict, any health or medical advice or information provided by healthcare professionals. If you have any questions, please contact your doctor or other healthcare professional.