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Category: Qualifying Conditions

Qualifying Condition: Intractable Skeletal Muscular Spasticity

Muscle-Postier

Among the 14 qualifying conditions that allow New Jersey residents to register for the Medical Marijuana Program is Intractable Skeletal Muscular Spasticity.

Spasticity is caused by an imbalance of signals from the central nervous system to the muscles. This neurological condition is most often related to disorders like multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke, spinal injury and other conditions that harm parts of the nervous system.

This disorder presents symptoms mostly in skeletal muscles including involuntary overactive reflexes and movements, which may include spasms (brisk and/or sustained involuntary muscle contraction) and clonus (series of fast involuntary contractions), increased muscle tone, muscle stiffness and the inability to stretch the affected muscles.

 

In one of the largest studies conducted regarding cannabinoids and the treatment of spasticity, it showed evidence of improvements regarding patient-reported spasticity and pain, suggesting the
clinical usefulness of cannabinoids.

Other symptoms include contractures (a state of permanent contraction of a muscle /tendon due to severe and repetitive stiffness and spasms), decreased functional abilities, difficulty with care or hygiene, bone and joint deformities, abnormal posture and pain.

The pain a patient can experience from this condition can range from mildly stiff muscles to painful spasms in extremities, particularly one’s legs. Pain may also be present in a patient’s lower back or as pain or tightness around their joints.

In one of the largest studies conducted regarding cannabinoids and the treatment of spasticity, it showed evidence of improvements regarding patient-reported spasticity and pain, suggesting the clinical usefulness of cannabinoids.

According to MarijuanaDoctors.com, an Oxford study corroborated that medical cannabis could decrease muscle spasticity and pain. Other notable findings in the study were that the side effects of cannabis-based medicine had been predictable and tolerable, and the loss of bladder control was alleviated by cannabis extracts.

Similar findings were found in a review of multiple studies, which stated that a wealth of anecdotal studies show that cannabis and cannabinoids have “beneficial effects on disease-related pain, bladder symptoms, tremor and particularly spasticity, but until recently, little scientific evidence existed for their efficacy.”

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March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

ms-robbon-blue-orangeIn light of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, we want raise awareness about the scientific evidence showing cannabis as a palliative treatment for Multiple Sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis [MS], as we know it, is an autoimmune disease that results in the slowing of the speed of signals sent from the central nervous system to the peripheral nervous system and can even result in irreversible damage to the nerves in the central nervous system that were once protected by the myelin sheath. This condition can leave a patient suffering from a wide range of symptoms including fatigue, depression, weakness, spasms, spasticity, pain, sleep disturbances and more.

One of the largest studies on the effect of medical cannabis on patients with MS stated that patients who used Tetrahydrocannabinol reported improvements in pain, sleep quality, spasms and spasticity.

There is even evidence that suggests that cannabinoids may have immunomodulatory effects, and have therapeutic benefits in treating MS. 1

Current studies show that patients who perceive initial benefits from their cannabis medication experienced persisting positive effects into extended trials without tolerance.[1]

Of a small group of MS patients who participated in an abrupt interruption of their cannabis medication, there was no consistent withdrawal symptoms and five patients had to resume taking their medication due to reemergence of symptoms.

Symptomatic medications often do not provide adequate relief and may have toxic effects that can worsen a patient’s already diminished quality of life.1 These effects can be weighed in comparison to cannabis’s relatively limited side effects.

For more information on research studies relating to cannabis click here.

 

[1] Hazekamp, Arno, and Franjo Grotenhermen. “Review on Clinical Studies with Cannabis and Cannabinoids 2005-2009.” 5.Special Issue (2010): 1-21. Print.

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