Wondering if cannabis can be used to help manage the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy? Here’s how it might be useful…
Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that cause abnormalities in the movement, muscle tone or posture of the patient. Not much is known about the causes of cerebral palsy, but there are some links with conditions like Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) where damage occurs in the white matter of the brain during birth.
Despite there being no treatment or cure for PVL, medical cannabis has shown a lot of promise as a treatment for cerebral palsy symptoms both in anecdotal accounts and scientific studies.
In this post, we’re going to discuss the three main ways that medical marijuana helps people with cerebral palsy symptoms. This way, we’ll give you an idea of how it could help people with the condition. Take a look…
How Does Medical Cannabis Help with Cerebral Palsy Symptoms?
Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disorder with symptoms ranging from mild spastic movements to severe seizures. In the absence of a cure, scientists are currently looking for treatments to help relieve the symptoms, and medical marijuana has emerged as a promising prospect.
Research on this topic is still limited, but through a mixture of studies on cannabis and anecdotal evidence from people with cerebral palsy who’ve tried it, we can paint a decent picture of how this plant can help them manage the symptoms.
1. Helps control partial seizures
Several studies have been performed looking into the effect of medical cannabis on the symptoms of spastic quadriplegia. This is the most severe form of cerebral palsy that affects all parts of a person’s body. The common symptoms are:
- Muscles that rapidly contract and release
- Joints that can’t stretch or move
- Muscle tremors
- Muscle tightness and spasticity
- Difficulty walking
- Cognitive disabilities
- Speech Impediments
One of the main cerebral palsy symptoms medical cannabis has shown efficacy in reducing is seizures. Evidence of this can be seen in a study published in 2007 by the NIH that the active constituents of cannabis help control epileptic seizures.
There’s also anecdotal evidence that shows how CBD oil, a key component of marijuana, has helped reduce seizures in people with cerebral palsy.
2. Reduces painful muscle spasms
Medical cannabis isn’t only useful for treating the seizures associated with cerebral palsy, it also has an effect on muscle spasms.
There are recent, peer-reviewed medical studies showing how cannabis can relieve the pain caused by cerebral palsy-associated spasticity, or muscle tension, in:
- Spastic Quadriplegia: spasticity in the face, torso, and each limb.
- Spastic Hemiplegia: spasticity only on the right or left side of the body, with effects generally more distinct in the affected arm than leg.
- Spastic Diplegia: spasticity affecting the legs, with milder effects in the arms.
One of these studies, published in 2014, showed medical cannabis to be effective in reducing painful muscle spasms. The study focused on people who experienced muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, but this can be applied to cerebral palsy as well.
Another study – a randomised placebo-controlled trial conducted in 2012 and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal – showed that medical marijuana worked far better than a placebo for spasticity and pain management in people with multiple sclerosis.
If you add anecdotal examples of people with cerebral palsy reducing their muscle spasms to the mix, you can see why this plant appears to be an effective treatment for this particular CP symptom.
3. Improves speech disorders
The third and final cerebral palsy symptom medical cannabis has shown promise in reducing is speech disorders.
Speech repetition and stuttering are frequently associated with cerebral palsy. The effects can be extremely debilitating as they make it incredibly difficult for people with the condition to communicate with people effectively.
One such example of a person struggling with CP-induced stuttering is that of Jacqueline Patterson. Jacqueline struggled with this issue since she was a child and, in 2007, she was featured in a documentary called ‘In Pot We Trust’ where she detailed how this plant helped her improve her speech problem.
First smoking cannabis when she was 14, Patterson said she feels her muscles are not as tense and she is able to have better word pronunciation at a more fluid pace instead of having the words stuck at the tip of her tongue.
In this clip from her documentary, Patterson’s stutter is evident throughout, and you can clearly see at the end how smoking greatly improves her ability to speak.
There is very little clinical research out at the moment to corroborate this plant’s positive effect on stuttering. However, numerous physicians advocate its use as an effective treatment for cerebral palsy induced speech problems.
Are These the Only Ways Medical Cannabis Helps with Cerebral Palsy?
In this post, we’ve shared three main ways medical cannabis can help people with cerebral palsy. The three benefits discussed have the most evidence behind them, but there are other anecdotal benefits touted by people with cerebral palsy, such as improved sleep, that you can find online.
Medical cannabis is by no means a miracle cure for cerebral palsy, but it does show promise as a treatment for the debilitating symptoms associated with it.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.
Woman holding smoking cannabis joint – Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Woman lying down – Photo by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash
Woman holding foot – Photo by Imani Bahati on Unsplash