Updated on January 28, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Arnold-Chiari malformations, also called Chiari malformations, are an uncommon disorder that affects the cerebellum, the skull and the spinal canal. This condition, which is present at birth, occurs when a portion of brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. The disorder has the potential to affect a person’s life in several different ways.
There are four different types of Arnold-Chi7ari malformations, which range in severity. Although some patients present no symptoms, one of the most common side effects of the condition is pain. The only real treatment option for Chiari malformations is surgery, but this is usually only recommended for extreme cases.
For those who suffer from painful symptoms due to their Arnold-Chiari malformation, medications are prescribed for pain management. But there may be a better, more natural option.
In many states across the U.S., patients struggling with pain related to their malformation are seeking medical marijuana treatments. Cannabis medications target the pain, without the harmful side effects associated with prescription pain meds. If you struggle with this disorder, cannabis could be a beneficial treatment option for you.
The pain caused by an Arnold-Chiari malformation happens because of the nature of the disorder. The condition due to a structural defect at the base of the skull. Normally, a small opening in the skull allows the spinal cord to pass through. However, in those with a Chiari malformation, the cerebellum extends into the upper spinal canal.
The condition can cause the following to occur:
When CSF is blocked, the brain and spinal cord are improperly cushioned. Since CSF is responsible for waste removal from the brain and the circulation of nutrients, blockages can lead to serious complications.
Because of any or all of these side effects are caused by an Arnold-Chiari malformation, pain can result. Whether its muscle spasticity, headaches, neck pain or spinal pain, these symptoms can lead to extreme discomfort or suffering. The debilitating pain can be chronic or sporadic, but it often leaves patients depressed, isolated and searching for relief.
Whether you’re seeking surgical attention for your Arnold-Chiari malformation or not, medical marijuana can bring relief to the painful and debilitating pain associated with the condition. There are two cannabinoids present in cannabis that work with your body naturally to target pain: THC and CBD.
Research says these two cannabinoids naturally influence our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS helps balance many bodily functions, including pain reception. THC and CBD bind to ECS neural receptors, which allows them to manage many different types of pain, from muscle aches to headaches.
In addition, cannabis doesn’t have the adverse side effects associated with prescription pain medications. It’s non-addictive and doesn’t lead to patient dependency.
Because we’re unfamiliar with the specifics of your condition, you should make an appointment with a marijuana doctor for individualized care. They can assess your symptoms and prescribe a course of treatment. Find a marijuana doctor in your state or visit a local dispensary.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat Arnold-Chiari Malformation, check out our resources: