Updated on January 31, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
While only one in 1000 people have an Arnold-Chiari malformation, the condition can lead to many debilitating symptoms that affect a person both physically and emotionally. This disorder is present at birth and occurs due to a structural defect in the skull. The brain’s cerebellum extends past the skull into the spinal canal.
The four different types of Arnold-Chiari malformations range in severity. Some people with the disorder can live normal lives, free from any symptoms. Others struggle with a range of side effects that impact their everyday life. If the condition is severe enough, doctors recommend surgery, which is the only viable treatment option. However, others are left to manage symptoms with the use of prescription medications.
As medical marijuana loses its negative stigma, many people are recognizing its potential to treat a plethora of conditions and symptoms. In fact, cannabis can address many of the symptoms associated with Arnold-Chiari malformations. If you struggle with this disorder, medical marijuana could be a viable treatment option, allowing you to manage side effects of your Chiari malformation.
Because of the nature of an Arnold-Chiari malformation, the condition is associated with quite a few debilitating symptoms that affect both neurological and physical functions. The cerebellum is what presses into the opening of the skull. This portion of the brain helps regulate muscle control, balance and coordination.
The four different types of Chiari malformation can present differently and cause differing severities. However, all or some of the following symptoms can be caused by the disorder:
Other issues many patients with Arnold-Chiari malformation deal with are difficulty coping emotionally and insomnia due to the pain associated with the disorder. As patients search for treatment, the debilitating symptoms can make them feel isolated and alone, leading to depression or irritability.
Either while you’re waiting for surgery or if an operation isn’t an option, it’s crucial for Chiari malformation patients to find a course of treatment that will help them manage their symptoms and live their lives to the fullest. Pain medications are an option, but these can lead to physical dependence and other adverse side effects.
Medical marijuana works naturally with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which consists of receptors that work to bring balance to our major bodily systems. Because the cannabinoids in marijuana bind to these receptors, it has a multitude of benefits. This is good news for those with an Arnold-Chiari malformation, as there are many symptoms the disorder produces.
The major symptoms treated with medical marijuana are:
Each patient presents their own unique set of symptoms. That’s why if you’re interested in pursuing medical marijuana treatments, you should speak to a local dispensary or contact a marijuana doctor. They can give you more information about joining your state’s medical marijuana program.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat Arnold-Chiari Malformation, check out our resources: