Updated on January 25, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
If you’re new to the world of medical marijuana, you may be surprised to learn there are many kinds of cannabis plants with varying strengths and weaknesses. Patients with myoclonus have heard of cannabis’ anticonvulsant benefits, but may not know which kind would help them most.
Myoclonus refers to sudden and involuntary muscle jerks. Everybody experiences myoclonus to some degree — hiccups and night starts are two common forms. But, patients with severe myoclonus can experience so many of these muscle jerks that it becomes an issue.
Severe myoclonus may or may not have an underlying cause. It appears as a symptom of conditions like Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, but can sometimes show up after a health issue like oxygen deprivation in the brain or liver failure.
Regardless of the cause, intense myoclonus can radically reduce your quality of life and ability to perform everyday living activities. Typical treatments can have dangerous side effects, so some folks are turning to medicinal cannabis, which can provide similar benefits without the drawbacks.
While most strains of cannabis treat similar symptoms, some work better than others for specific health issues. You’ll get more out of your medicine if you pick a strain suited for your condition. So, how do you make that decision?
There are thousands of strains out there, but they can all be sorted into one of three categories:
Some patients must try more than one kind of strain before they find the right one for their needs. If a strain doesn’t work for you, don’t worry — work with your doctor and budtender to find another one.
So, the next question to ask is “What category of strain will relieve my myoclonus the most?” The answer will ultimately depend on your health needs, but indica strains usually work best for seizures and spasms.
Indica strains tend to have more cannabidiol (CBD), one of the two major components in marijuana, than sativa strains. CBD has potent antiseizure and anticonvulsant properties you can use to relieve your myoclonus. So, look for indica strains known for helping people with movement issues, such as:
One of the benefits medical cannabis has over standard medicine is how versatile it is. You can work with your doctor to customize your treatment experience. Adjusting when and how you take your medication can reduce side effects and enhance relief.
Some patients combine methods, dosage times and strains to get the most out of their medication. For example, if you want to avoid indica-related sleepiness during the day, you can take your medicine at night. Patients who also have depression can medicate with a sativa strain during the day and an indica strain before bed.
If you think you could try a different approach to your regimen, just ask your doctor! Always make sure to run an idea by them before you switch things up.
Everybody has unique needs and symptoms. Ask a marijuana-certified expert about what treatment strategy will work for you. Book a medicinal cannabis appointment with a trained physician today, or stop by a local dispensary.