Medical Marijuana for Spasticity

Spasticity causes painful muscle contractions that can make it difficult to move, sleep and perform routine activities. Fortunately, medical marijuana is emerging as an effective treatment for spasticity. Patients have reported improvements in pain management, spasms, sleep and quality of life.

What is Spasticity?

Spasticity, or muscle spasticity, is a neurological condition in which certain muscles are continually in a contracted state. It is not necessarily an illness on its own, as it is often associated with other neurological issues that impact muscle control. The major signs of spasticity include contracted, tight or stiff muscles and difficulty with normal bodily movement. 

The condition is a result of an imbalance in signals from the nervous system to the muscles, causing muscles to contract involuntarily. The cause of the imbalance varies from patient to patient.

The neurological disconnect that causes spasticity is commonly found as a result of other underlying conditions. Cerebral Palsy (CP), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are leading causes of spasticity in patients. Additionally, spasticity can result from the following conditions:

  • Neurological damage due to brain injury or spinal cord injury
  • Stroke
  • Encephalitis
  • ALS
  • Meningitis

Spasticity Symptoms: What Does it Feel Like to Have Spasticity?

The sensation of spasticity is on a spectrum – from minor discomfort and stiffness to debilitating contraction of the muscles.

In general, spasticity will cause a feeling of tightness and stiffness in your muscles often resulting in a “tight” feeling. The tightness can be painful depending on the severity of spasticity. Because spasticity generally affects the muscles involved in helping you stand and stay upright, tightness, aching, contraction and pain will often be felt in the following muscles:

  • Back
  • Groin
  • Feet
  • Thighs
  • Calf

For patients living with spasticity, mental health can also become a concern as persistent fatigue, chronic pain and anxiety can lead to a decreased quality of life.

Traditional medications may not fully alleviate muscle spasms, leading to an increasing interest in medical marijuana for spasticity.

How Does Medical Marijuana Help Spasticity?

Certain cannabinoids like THC have shown results as therapeutic applications for MS patients with spasticity. Here’s how it works: 

THC, one of many cannabinoid components in marijuana, is absorbed by our endocannabinoid system, improving the communication between muscles and nerves. By blocking lesion inflammatory actions, patients with spasticity who utilize medically-prescribed cannabis-medication can alleviate the uncontrollable contracting of muscles.

There is significant data that shows a beneficial effect of cannabis on the nervous system. Medical marijuana is a relatively new method of treatment for spasticity, but compared to prescription medications and surgery, it promises a safe and low-risk option for people living with spasticity.

If you have spasticity in Texas, medical marijuana might help. As an improved condition, Texans with spasticity are eligible for medical marijuana through a prescription from a registered doctor.

Click below to find a prescriber in your area, including secure telemedicine options.

Click below see clinical trials of how medical cannabis is helping alleviate the symptoms of spasticity.

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