Updated on December 10, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Cerebral palsy is a severe neurological condition affecting more than 500,000 children and adults in the U.S. alone. Every year, around 8000 babies are diagnosed with this debilitating disorder.
Over the years, many different therapies have been attempted to treat cerebral palsy. These include pharmaceutical options, physical therapy and even surgery. These often bring relief to CP patients, but can cause unwanted side effects.
Medical marijuana is showing promise as an effective treatment for cerebral palsy. It targets some of the most well-known symptoms associated with the disorder. Below you’ll learn how medical marijuana can help manage specific symptoms caused by this condition.
To treat a condition, you need to understand it. Cerebral palsy is caused by brain malformation or some brain injury in infants and children. It can occur in the womb, during birth or even in early childhood. Children up to the age of three can develop CP. There are many known risk factors, including:
The brain injury that causes cerebral palsy affects a child’s brain development. The condition then manifests differently from person to person. The signs and symptoms can vary greatly and range from mild to severe. However, the most common side effects include:
CP doesn’t change with time, meaning a patient’s symptoms will most likely stay the same. However, certain symptoms like muscle rigidity can worsen if not treated.
Because of the severity of the symptoms, many patients struggling with CP end up feeling frustrated and despondent. Extreme anxiety and depression aren’t uncommon in adults living with this condition.
The research for treating cerebral palsy with medical marijuana is limited. However, these studies are showing favorable results. Many of the CP’s most aggravating symptoms are showing relief and even improvement due to cannabis medications.
Aside from treating many of the symptoms related to CP, another benefit of medical marijuana is its relative safety. Many pharmaceuticals used to treat the uncontrolled body movements or spasticity associated with cerebral palsy cause harmful side effects, like addiction. Cannabis is an all-natural treatment that is much safer by comparison.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat Cerebral Palsy, check out our resources: