Updated on December 19, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.