Updated on January 3, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder that causes uncontrollable tics and muscle movements in various parts of the body. This neurological order presents symptoms similar to that of Parkinson’s Disease and Tourette syndrome. However, tardive dyskinesia typically manifests as a side effect of specific medications rather than arising without a given cause.
Some patients experiencing the discomforts of this disorder find marijuana allows for effective management of their daily symptoms.
Tardive dyskinesia manifests as a side effect of long-term treatment from specific antipsychotic drugs. Cannabis offers a safe, natural way to relieve the symptoms caused by another medication. Because those with tardive dyskinesia typically suffer from unwanted movements or jerks, marijuana provides a way to reduce these uncontrollable movements to more manageable levels.
The case studies below highlight successful experiments in which those with tardive dyskinesia or another condition with similar symptoms found relief by following a medical marijuana treatment plan.
Tardive dyskinesia manifests from damage incurred by certain prescription drugs that cause irregularities in dopamine processing. Because dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter, it’s crucial to examine receptors and signals within the endocannabinoid system that are imbalanced while one has tardive dyskinesia.
In this 2010 study, researchers Secil Beckmann et al. administered cannabis to a man with paranoid schizophrenia who developed involuntary muscle contractions from the medication used to treat his mental health disorder. While under the supervision of researchers, the patient demonstrated a considerable decrease in spontaneous movements while following a health regime that included smoking cannabis.
This study highlights the significance of the endocannabinoid system in controlling movement — an issue that cannabinoids work to resolve.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant widely known for its ability to ignite positive neuroprotective effects. In 2016, researchers conducted a study that aimed to examine how CBD’s curative properties could help patients with Parkinson’s disease and other cognitive impairment disabilities.
First, rats were altered to induce tardive dyskinesia symptoms by increasing oxidative stress and depleting nerve terminals. The rats in this study experienced modified mouth movements before receiving administration of cannabidiol. Rather than stimulating locomotor activity, the medication caused the rats to undergo a delay that inhibited some of the spasms and tics caused by pathophysiological mechanisms.
The results from the study demonstrated that CBD administration significantly improved both motor and cognitive impairments in animals modeled with Parkinson’s disease and tardive dyskinesia symptoms. CBD was shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective actions. For those with tardive dyskinesia, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease or other conditions marked by involuntary movement and spasms, these properties could potentially solve the discomfort associated with tics and sudden muscle movement.
The desire to understand the effects of cannabis on treating tardive dyskinesia has gained impetus within the last several years. In 2016, another case study was developed and published in the European Neuropsychopharmacology journal to understand the impact of cannabis on motor impairments and other health complications.
In this study, researchers organized a group of 433 patients experiencing muscle spasms and tics as a side effect of multiple sclerosis. These patients were administered Sativex and instructed to receive a mean dosage of six sprays each day. After three months, those who continued with the medication experienced significant improvements in pain, fatigue, spasms and sleep quality.
Although this study does not directly study tardive dyskinesia, the helpful impact of Sativex on multiple sclerosis patients warrants further investigation into cannabis as an anti-spastic drug.
If you believe you are experiencing the symptoms of tardive dyskinesia, it’s crucial to seek a treatment plan that can help you manage your symptoms. When you reach out to a doctor in your vicinity, you can begin to take steps toward finding daily relief. Find out more about medical cannabis or other medical conditions by browsing MarijuanaDoctors.com today.