Updated on January 28, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
There are many benefits to patients who use medical marijuana. From pain to nausea, cannabis is proven to be an effective treatment. However, a use for the plant that’s been gaining popular attention is its ability to aid muscular health. Patients with disorders that cause muscle cramping, spasticity and weakness are finding medical marijuana brings relief to these often painful and debilitating symptoms.
As Arnold-Chiari malformations progress, they can start to cause neurological impairments, including muscular dysfunction. Surgery is an option, but after an operation, muscular problems can continue. There’s evidence that suggests medical marijuana could aid the muscular capacity in patients struggling with Chiari malformations.
There are four main types of Arnold-Chiari malformations. The name of the condition covers all forms of the disorder, and they share a common feature. Patients born with Chiari malformations have a portion of brain tissue that protrudes from their skull into the spinal canal.
Some with the disorder don’t notice any signs or symptoms. For others, however, chronic pain and other debilitating side effects become an everyday struggle. The different types of Arnold-Chiari malformations are classified I-IV based on the severity and how much brain tissue extends out of the skull.
One of the most significant complications that can arise due to a Chiari malformation is neurological impairment affecting muscle capacity. In most patients with this condition, the cerebellum is the portion of the brain the sticks out into the spinal canal. The cerebellum is responsible for motor control, which includes muscle tone.
If the condition is severe enough, patients begin noticing muscular issues, such as:
Muscular issues may not sound serious, but this symptom can severely impact quality of life. Patients who are weaker than normal can’t perform basic, everyday tasks. Spasticity and cramping are extremely painful, especially if the muscle is unable to stretch and relax.
Medical marijuana works because of the cannabinoids, or medicinal compounds, found in the plant. THC, CBD and CBG have specifically been found to address muscular issues. When a patient uses cannabis, the cannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body, including neurological receptors. This can have one of two effects:
On top of this, medical marijuana is an analgesic. This pain relief is one of its greatest benefits, especially if spasticity and spasms have left muscles aching.
If you feel cannabis is a treatment option you’d like to pursue, the next step is to reach out. Contact a dispensary near you or a marijuana doctor in your state. They can address your individual symptoms and inform you about the marijuana laws in your state.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat Arnold-Chiari Malformation, check out our resources: