Although not much research has been done on medical marijuana’s effect on cerebral palsy, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Patients have found relief from this all-natural medication. In many cases, it’s proven more helpful than typical pharmaceutical options. There’s also the bonus of its relative safety when compared to sometimes harmful prescription opioids.
But what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for cerebral palsy? The answer lies in its chemical makeup. Cannabis is comprised of at least 113 active cannabinoids, which are the compounds that produce the effects associated with marijuana. If you’re unsure which cannabinoids will best treat your CP symptoms, read on to find out more.
Cerebral Palsy Symptoms
Cerebral palsy is a disorder that develops in the womb, at birth or in early childhood. It’s caused by either brain injury or a malformation of the brain. Individuals diagnosed with CP show a range of symptoms, and each person varies in the types and severity of these. However, some of the most common symptoms include:
- Chronic pain
- Muscle spasms or involuntary movements
- Rigidity — stiff muscles but normal reflexes
- Spasticity — stiff muscles with exaggerated reflexes
- Difficulty with motor functions and walking
- Speech disorder
- Trouble sleeping
- Severe seizures
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds produced naturally by the cannabis plant. These have documented medical value and are beginning to bring a better quality of life to many patients struggling with debilitating conditions.
Cannabinoids work by imitating compounds naturally found in our bodies called endocannabinoids. These small molecules are components in a greater biological system within us called the human endocannabinoid system. The system plays a vital role in maintaining our body’s homeostasis. If our endocannabinoid system is out of whack, physical complications and unpleasant symptoms can occur.
The cannabinoids in medical marijuana bind to receptors in the brain or the body. Depending on what kind of cannabis product you consume, you can bring relief to these receptors, thus lessening severe symptoms caused by many disorders.
Although some studies show there are 113 of these compounds, only a few play an impactful role in medical marijuana treatments. The most common of these are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC-A)
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC-V)
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
Choosing Cannabinoids to Treat Specific Symptoms
Many manufacturers and growers of cannabis are now producing strains that each favor a particular cannabinoid. This allows patients to find products that target their specific condition. Here are a few symptoms you might be experiencing and which cannabinoids have been shown to treat them effectively:
- Chronic Pain. Pain management is one of the most common uses for medical marijuana. THC is the most common cannabinoid in cannabis and has proven to be an effective pain reliever. However, because it produces a psychotropic side effect, many are turning to CBD as a non-psychoactive alternative.
- Muscle Spasms or Seizures. Cannabis is a proven treatment for seizures and muscle spasms. Many of the cannabinoids present in the herb have an anti-spasmodic effect. When looking for products, be sure those that contain CBD, CBN, THC-A and THC-V.
- Spasticity. Rigid muscles can cause intense pain in CP patients. It can also lead to speech impediments and difficulty walking. Certain strains high in CBD, CBG, CBN, THC and THC-A have been shown to effectively treat spasticity even better than some pharmaceutical options.
- Difficulty Sleeping. If your cerebral palsy is leading to sleepless nights, cannabis is an effective remedy. Specifically, the CBC, CBD, CBN and THC compounds have been shown most helpful. Be sure to look for indica strains to alleviate this symptom.
- Depression. CP patients often struggle with depression and hopelessness. This condition affects so many aspects of a patient’s life that it’s often hard to keep a positive outlook. Cannabis is used for the euphoric feeling it produces, caused by CBC, CBD, CBG, CBN and THC cannabinoids.