Updated on January 28, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
An Arnold-Chiari malformation is a debilitating condition that one in 1,000 people are born with. A structural defect in the skull allows the cerebellum portion of the brain to extend past its boundaries and into the spinal canal. This can lead to an array of symptoms and complications that affect a patient’s quality of life.
There are four forms of Arnold-Chiari malformations. Although they present similar symptoms, the severity depends on whether you have Type I, II, III or IV, each being worse than the last. The main treatment method is surgery. However, some patients don’t suffer from a severe enough form of the disorder to qualify for an operation. They’re left to manage their symptoms using prescription pain medications.
States throughout the country are now allowing patients to pursue medical marijuana treatments if they have a debilitating condition. A common qualifying symptom is severe and chronic pain. Because of this, many patients with Arnold-Chiari malformations meet the requirements for cannabis medications. However, there are many different strains of medical marijuana on the market to choose from.
Depending how much of the cerebellum extends through the base of the skull into the spinal canal, the severity of symptoms worsens. That’s why there are four categories for Arnold-Chiari malformations, depending on how much brain tissue is extending.
Cannabis is an all-natural medication that works with our bodies to relieve many debilitating symptoms. The cannabinoids present in the plant, primarily CBD and THC, bind to our body’s endocannabinoid receptors and produce many beneficial effects. Some of the symptoms medical marijuana can treat in patients with Arnold-Chiari malformations include:
There are many ways to administer cannabis medications. The most common is inhalation — meaning smoking and vaporization. However, Chiari malformations can lead to difficulties breathing in severe cases, which is we highly recommend edible medical marijuana treatments for patients with this disorder. Although it takes longer to feel the effects, this method has its own benefits:
Depending on your symptoms, you may want to use a different strain of medical marijuana. Here are our recommendations to help you find targeted relief:
Treat your insomnia with:
Muscle Tremors and Spasticity
These symptoms can be alleviated by:
Treat your chronic pain with strains like:
If you’re experiencing depression, try using these strains:
The first step to getting medical marijuana treatments is reaching out to a marijuana doctor in your state or a local budtender or dispensary. These professionals can assess your individual circumstances and help you plan a course of treatment.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat Arnold-Chiari Malformation, check out our resources: