Dyskinetic and Spastic Movement Disorders and Medical Marijuana
The cannabis plant contains cannabinoids, which are compounds that interact with receptors in the central nervous system to produce some unique biological effects and also to improve symptoms of disease in a variety of movement disorders. Several research studies have shown how dyskinesia and spastic movement disorders received remarkable improvements as a result of the consumption of medicinal marijuana for treatment.
Movement disorders such as dyskinesia, Parkinson’s disease, and spastic disorders are highly debilitating conditions that have been linked to oxidative stress and neurodegeneration. The pharmacological therapies for these conditions, when available, are usually symptomatic, induce various side effects, and do not benefit all patients. However, due to the cannabidiol from medicinal marijuana, which is a non-psychotomimetic compound presenting anxiolytic, antipsychotic, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory effects, medical marijuana has since been a promising compound to treat or prevent such conditions.
What Exactly Are Dyskinetic Movements?
This type of movement often occurs together with spasticity and can either be twisting and repetitive movements (referred to as dystonia), or slow, ‘stormy’ movements (athetosis), or irregular, unpredictable movements like dance (chorea).
What Are Spastic Movements?
Muscle contractions are often increased by spasticity, causing tightness or stiffness of the muscles which may this interfere with movement, walking, and speech. Spastic movement is usually caused as a result of damage to the portion of the brain or spinal cord controlling voluntary movement.
It may happen due to spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, severe head injury, brain damage from lack of oxygen, and metabolic diseases like Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
How Can Medical Marijuana Benefit Patients with Dyskinetic and Spastic Movement Disorders?
Over the years, marijuana has shown tremendous promise as a treatment option for movement disorder, including Parkinson’s disease, dyskinesia, and many more, both in and out of the laboratory. In a 2004 survey involving 339 Parkinson disease patients, reports revealed that smoking cannabis improved symptoms of Parkinson disease significantly, including dyskinesia., rigidity, and bradykinesia.
Looking at the relationship between marijuana and motor functions, it was observed that medical marijuana could be an idea target for the treatment of various motor disorders.
Medical marijuana can help activate the endocannabinoid system, which affects motor function, pleasure, and mood.
Having more than 113 cannabinoids, cannabis activates some parts of the brain where dopamine treatment alone couldn’t have. Particularly, cannabis activates the CB1 receptors in large concentrations in three major parts of the brain associated with Parkinson’s disease and dyskinesia. These receptors include the basal ganglia, globus pallidus, and substantia nigra. This is important because various studies have shown that consuming marijuana cannabinoid and hence activating the CB1 receptors provides neuroprotection and thus prevent the development of dyskinesia.
Medical marijuana is antioxidant in nature
It is very important that you protect your brain from damages. Due to the antioxidant nature of marijuana, it helps to clear up free radicals in the body of people living with dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders and hence help reduce the harm these free radicals cause to the brain.
Cannabis does not only increase dopamine but also affects other neurotransmitters too
Right from history, it is believed that most movement disorders like including Parkinson’s disease is caused by dopamine deficiency. It has also been found that cannabis helps to increase GABA, which thus helps to decrease the incidence of levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson’s patients.
Medical marijuana also treats other symptoms of movement disorders
Apart from their effect on motor dysfunction, cannabinoids also have some other important benefits. Because of their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects, cannabinoids offer some neuroprotective effects. This means they help protect against further degeneration of precious neurons.
Marijuana has also been shown to have antidepressant effects, relieve pain, and improve sleep, which are all common problems been faced by dyskinesia and spastic movement disorder patients.