Can Medical Marijuana Be Used to Manage Myoclonus-Related Convulsions?

Updated on December 19, 2018.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Can Medical Marijuana Be Used to Manage Myoclonus-Related Convulsions?

Everyone experiences some form of myoclonus — after all, haven’t you had hiccups before? However, some folks deal with the jerky convulsions in other parts of their body, making it hard to move.

Just like any other movement symptom related to the nervous system, myoclonus is often treated with potent drugs or even surgery. But, science shows medicinal cannabis could work just as well. Let’s talk about using medical cannabis to treat myoclonus.

About Myoclonus

Myoclonus refers to sudden, involuntary jerks in your muscles that can happen in one muscle or a group of them. The intensity and frequency depend on the person experiencing them.

Everyone has at least mild myoclonus, like hiccups and sleep starts. But some people have severe myoclonus. Health issues like infections and multiple sclerosis can intensify these episodes.

There are many types of myoclonus that occur differently. For example, physiological myoclonus describes the muscle jerks we all have in everyday life. Other types of myoclonus have more severe symptoms, including persistent spasms or pain.

What Does the Research Say About Cannabinoids and Myoclonus?

Marijuana consists of several compounds called cannabinoids. Each cannabinoid works on its own to affect your body, and they also work together to create more potent relief. In medical research, scientists often isolate certain cannabinoids from the others to learn more about their individual effects.

We currently don’t have any studies that focus on the impact of cannabinoids on myoclonus, but we do have research on how they affect muscle spasms and seizures in general. Like many other studies covering cannabinoids, they often look at the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) separately.

One research review indicates cannabinoids could relieve seizures and convulsions. In particular, CBD can work to protect the nervous system from further damage and reduce movement-related symptoms.

Benefits of Using Medical Marijuana for Muscle Twitches

As an alternative treatment, cannabis medicine has advantages over typical drugs. Standard therapies for myoclonus include tranquilizers, Botox, anticonvulsants and surgery, all of which involve harsh side effects and invasive procedures. On the other hand, medical cannabis benefits patients in the following ways:

  • Fewer Side Effects: Cannabis medicine only causes issues like sleepiness and hunger, as opposed to side effects like addiction and coordination loss.
  • Versatile Treatment Opportunities: You can medicate with many diverse forms of marijuana. For example, if you take care of a child with myoclonus, you can add CBD oil to their favorite food for easier administration.
  • Non-Psychoactive Options: Contrary to widespread belief, weed doesn’t have to make you feel high, and not all kinds of medical marijuana intoxicate you. In fact, CBD, one of the most effective cannabinoids for movement disorders, doesn’t the user at all.

Recommended Medication Methods

One of the remarkable things about cannabis medicine is the many forms it comes in. Even folks who have never used marijuana in their lives can find a method they feel comfortable with. Some types of medication that work best for myoclonus include:

  • Vaping Products: While smoking cannabis is the most familiar way to use it, it’s also one of the least healthy. Vaping lets your medicine kick in as quickly as it would with smoking, but without hurting your lungs.
  • Topical Treatments: If you have symptoms in a localized area close to the skin, you can apply a cream to find relief. Not only do topical treatments provide benefits quickly, but they also allow the medicine to go right where it needs to.
  • Oils: You can use cannabis oils like CBD oil in numerous ways. Some patients directly ingest it, while others add it to their food.

Get Expert Advice

Making an appointment with an experienced marijuana-certified doctor or dispensary worker will allow you to get personalized help. To figure out the best treatment plan for you, find a nearby doctor or local dispensary today.

Information About Medical Marijuana and Myoclonus