Spasticity and Marijuana Information: Treat Spasticity With Cannabis

Spasticity is a condition in which there is an abnormal increase in muscle tone or stiffness of muscle, which might interfere with movement, speech, or be associated with discomfort or pain.  Spasticity is usually caused by damage to nerve pathways within the brain or spinal cord that control muscle movement.

Since the normal flow of nerve messages is interrupted, those messages may not reach the reflex control center of the brain. The spinal cord then attempts to moderate the body’s response.

The spinal cord is not as efficient as the brain, so the signals that are sent back to the site of the sensation are often over-exaggerated in an overactive muscle response or spastic hypertonia: an uncontrollable “jerking” movement, stiffening or strengthening of muscles, shock-like contractions of a muscle or group of muscles, and abnormal tone in the muscles.

It may occur in association with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, brain or head trauma, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, hereditary spastic paraplegias, and metabolic diseases.

Symptoms associated with spasticity include the following:

  • Increased muscle stretch reflexes
  • Involuntary contraction and relaxation of muscle (spasms)
  • Prolonged muscle contractions (dystonia)
  • Rapid, repetitive jerky motions (clonus)
  • Exaggerated deep tendon jerks or reflexes
  • Involuntary crossing of the legs (also called scissoring reflex)
  • Abnormal posture or abnormal positioning of the shoulder, arm, wrist, or finger
  • Increased resistance to movement of certain muscle groups

Clinical Information Related to Spasticity and Medical Marijuana

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