The following medical conditions are most recognized by states that have laws to allow for the use of medical cannabis.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
When one is in danger it is known that one experiences fear. This level of fear triggers split second preparation for the body to defend itself against the danger. The “fight or flight” response is a normal healthy reaction meant for the body’s protection but in post traumatic stress disorder this particular reaction is damaged and changed where a PTSD patient actually gets more stressed and frightened even when there is no danger.
PTSD develops usually after a extremely terrifying event that involved physical or mental harm and could be in the form of occuring to a loved one or being a participant in a harmful event. PTSD can be caused by a variety of traumatic incidents such as war, plane crashes, accidents, natural disasters, rape, bombings, abuse, kidnapping or hostage situation.
Some of the signs and symptoms of PTSD can be bad dreams, frightening thoughts, flashbacks, avoidance, or hyperarousal.
In recent discoveries it has been found that cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce anxiety, pacifies the nervous system and induces a state of relaxation without the challenging affects of THC on the psyche.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease that robs individuals of their independence and overall quality of life. Here in the Greater Delaware Valley, over 14,000 individuals are affected by MS with more than 2.1 million affected worldwide. The National MS Society through its network of chapters across the U.S. is leading the movement to stop MS in its tracks, restore function lost to the disease and end MS forever.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system. People with MS are usually diagnosed between the ages of 20-50 and face unpredictable symptoms that can include numbness, blurred vision, paralysis and blindness.
As we celebrate National MS Awareness Week, March 11-17, the Society encourages all local residents to reach out to their personal connections and ask them to join the movement against MS.
It has been discovered that cannabinoids reduce neuroinflammation with AMPA-induced excitotoxicity, as evaluated within multiple sclerosis. It has also been discovered that cannabigerol will alleviate neuroinflammation in multiple sclerosis. Cannabidiol has also demonstrated antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects
Those who are qualified for taking cannabinoids with this condition can utilize a variety of product types for relief from smokable form, extracts, vaporizing, tinctures, lotions, drinkables and edibles.
Life is a natural process resulting from flowing energy organizing mass. As we age the organization deteriorates and manifests as the various age-related illnesses including cancers. The creative nature of life is overpowered by misdirected energy flow. As a consequence, cancer a cell’s survival is directed by cellular metabolic survival efforts rather than organismic survival. They have become selfish cells instead of cooperative ones. All cancer cells, whether genetic or environmentally induced, result from misdirected energy flow.
Health restoration is best promoted by manipulating the energy flow that sustains life. The endocannabinoid system has emerged as nature’s solution for the adaptability that it selects for. In order to build the complex flow dependent biochemical systems that characterize life, it was essential to gain better control of the “friction of life,” free radicals. Why “essential”, because a single free radical molecule can kill a person and every day each of our tens of trillion of cells sustains 20,000 free radical damages, any one of which could be lethal. Hence we can easily see that misdirected energy flow, associated excess free radical production, is responsible for all age-related illnesses.
The endocannabinoid system is the master regulator of safe energy flow and regulates the health of all body systems. The complex weave of interacting flow dependent structures determines health and illness. Modern man is imbalanced in that, both metabolically and societally, we generate too much waste by using excess pollution-generating, dangerous but efficient means of energy production. Excess carbohydrates drive the dangerous free radical producing electron transport system rather than sufficiently repairing infrastructure, and sufficiently recycling free radical-damaged biochemical structures.
When cells burn fat (beta-oxidation), they are in fact turning on the recycling (autophagy) of free radical damaged subcellular biochemical components. Our approach to cancer treatment is to disrupt the cancer cell’s survival-directed biochemical pathways that allow cell survival under conditions that would otherwise lead to free radical induced cell death (apoptosis, necrosis). Our approach to restoring a person’s health is to promote recycling of free radical damaged cellular components, and the replacement of lost dead cells by promoting stem cell-directed replacement.
Large number of cancers form solid tumors while blood cancer types such as leukemias do not form solid tumors.
Cannabis has helped increase the quality of life for a large number of cancer patients around the world from nausea, vomiting, reducing pain and inflammation, fighting the side effects of chemotherapy and increasing appetite.
The National Cancer Institute admits that marijuana kills cancer cells in their recent article where they stated that “THC slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers, and virus-induced leukemia…” and “prolonged their lives by as much as 36%.”
Dr. Manuel Guzman from Madrid’s Complutense University discovered that THC could selectively induce programmed cell death in brain tumor cells with impacting healthy cells. In 2012 a pair of scientists found THC stops metastasis in many kinds of aggressive types of cancer as per the California Pacific Medical Center.
In recent years a large number of research studies and scientific reports on cannabis and cancer have appeared with incredible testimonials from young patients to seniors desiring to increase the quality of life and seeing further healing.
Stories like Alysa Erwin who suffered from anaplastic astrocytoma and utilized cannabis oil with a combination of cannabis product types to help the effects of cancer, radiation and surgery. Even when she stopped taking the preventative maintenance dose of cannabinoids and the cancer came back into her ventricles, brain stem and spinal fluids. She decided for a second time to utilize cannabis oil this time in the hospital with the acknowledgement of her doctors, “Keep doing what you’re doing.” She is cancer free once again at age 19 with her first diagnosis occurring at the tender age of 14.
Cancer patients are starting to spread the education and compassion of how cannabis helped their cancer by recommending cannabis by becoming pro-active with their doctors and having a true heart to heart with facts, research and testimonials with a combination of other alternative treatment techniques and supplements. This manner of introduction will not only help your doctor become educated in cannabinoid therapeutics but will assist future cancer patients who will ask about cannabis as a viable cancer treatment.
Hepatitis C is a contagious disease of the liver which is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Most become infected by direct contact with blood from a patient who is already infected through the sharing of needles or sometimes from sexual contact. It is estimated 3.4 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C. Hepatitis C can become a chronic infection that will lead to liver cancer.
Some of the symptoms of hepatitis C are loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue and joint pain all of which cannabinoids can help reduce in multiple product types from extracted oil, vaporizing and edible formats.
Based on a recent research study cannabinoids helped improve the effectiveness of various types of drug therapy for hepatitis C. It also showed that smoking cannabinoids made it more effective in reaching the objective of a sustained virological response which is considered a huge success with the disease not being found anywhere in the body.
Living with chronic pain should be enough of a burden for anybody. But pile on depression — one of the most common problems faced by people with chronic pain — and that burden gets even heavier. Depression can magnify pain and make it harder to cope. The good news is that chronic pain and depression aren’t inseparable. Effective treatments can relieve depression, migraines and can help make chronic pain more tolerable.
If you have chronic pain and depression, you’ve got plenty of company. That’s because chronic pain and depression are common problems that often overlap. Depression is one of the most common psychological issues facing people who suffer from chronic pain, and it often complicates the patient’s conditions and treatment.
Because depression in patients with chronic pain frequently goes undiagnosed, it often goes untreated. Pain symptoms and complaints take center stage on most doctors’ visits. The result is depression, along with sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, lack of energy, and decreased physical activity which may make pain much worse. One of the best things for chronic pain is juicing cannabis.
“Chronic pain and depression go hand in hand,” says Steven Feinberg, MD, adjunct associate clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. “You almost have to assume a person with chronic pain is depressed and begin there.” Pain provokes an emotional response in everyone. Anxiety, irritability, and agitation — all these are normal feelings when we’re hurting. Normally, as pain subsides, so does the stressful response.
But what if the pain doesn’t go away? Over time, the constantly activated stress response can cause multiple problems associated with depression. Those problems can include:
• Chronic anxiety
• Confused thinking
• Sleep disturbances
• Weight gain or loss
Cannabinoids have shown therapeutic properties that can simultaneously modulate many of the other opioid medications that are currently prescribed to chronic pain patients and far less side effects of opioid deaths.
Crohn’s patients seek cannabinoid approvals because they have already found that it changes the course of their disease. After seeing the first several patients reporting marked improvement in their conditions with the use of cannabinoids other groups began reporting the same significant change.
All surveyed patients with Crohn’s disease report statistically significant improvement in signs and symptoms in all categories: pain in the gut, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, depressed mood, and activity level. Based on a recent Israeli clinical study cannabinoids reduced pain in the gut more so than the pharmaceuticals that were provided. The number of stools per day was reduced, the body weight increased, and all patients reported the frequency and severity of flare-ups were reduced. Through the use of hemp many have seen these side effects reduce or completely become eliminated as the patient begins to embrace cannabinoid therapeutics.
It is now known that biopsy specimens from Crohn’s patients had large quantities of cannabinoid receptors. Activating these receptors with cannabinoids promoted healing of the gastrointestinal membrane. This could offer therapeutic relief to patients suffering from inflammatory disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Cannabinoid types of products that are available for Crohn’s disease patients credits raw cannabinoid juice, vaporizing and eating GMO free medible foods.
Cachexia also known as wasting syndrome with symptoms of significant loss of appetite, loss of weight, weakness, fatigue, and muscle atrophy in a patient that is not attempting to lose weight. This type of reduction in body mass will not be reversed nutritionally. Cachexia is primarily seen with patients who are suffering from cancer, AIDS, COPD, multiple sclerosis, tubercolosis, and familial amyloid neuropathy.
Patients suffering from cachexia can experience the chance of death. Cachexia physically weakens patients to no mobility from the loss of appetite, anemia and response to regular treatment is very poor. Cachexia tends to happen more in end-stage cancer which is also known as cancer cachexia. It is also associated with advanced stage of multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.
Medical marijuana or cannabis has been allowed for the treatment of cachexia in a number of U.S. states, such as Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Rhode Island, Washington, and Vermont.
Of cancer patients 50% suffer from cachexia with those that have upper gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers having the highest frequency of the development of a cachexic symptom. It rises to over 90% in terminal cancer patients. On top of increased morbidity and mortality, the aggressive side effects of chemotherapy, reduced quality of life, cachexia is considered to be the cause of death to a large number of cancer patients, from 25% – 50%.
Cancer cachexia symptoms include progressive weight loss and host reserves of adipose tissue and skeletal muscles. Traditional treatment options are appetite stimulants such as cannabinoids for cachexia have been used to increase weight on cachexic patients.
In clinical studies THC effects on cachexia has been seen to produce significant stimulation of appetite and increased body weight in HIV positive and cancer patients. Cannabinoids as a whole is better tolerated than THC by itself as it is combined with cannabidiol (CBD), which antagonize the psychotropic effects of THC, and do not inhibit the appetite-stimulating effect.
Cannabinoids also show a antiemetic effect in chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting. With cannabinoids offering improvements over modern antiemetic medication. It is noted that can-na-bis has been a appetite stimulant since as far back as 300 A.D. During the 19th century, doctors mentioned the increase of appetite after using kan-na-bis.This particular cause decreased the amount of pharmaceuticals prescribed for chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting.
In the mid-1980s people with AIDS discovered that cannabinoids relieved the nausea caused by their illness or by the medications taken to combat it. In addition, cannabinoids often improved their appetite and enabled them to stop losing or even to gain weight. Like most medical users of cannabinoids, AIDS patients have found that smoked cannabinoids has specifically been advocated than Marinol (dronabinol), a synthetic THC developed by a small pharmaceutical company, Unimed, with considerable financial support from the government. The federal authorities had come to believe that its availability would quell demands of herbal marijuana as a medicine.
The prevalence of pain in patients living with HIV/AIDS has been estimated at 60%. Pain interferes with daily living and is a marker for reduced survival. While pain associated with HIV/AIDS is well documented, it is often underrecognized and undertreated in clinical practice.
Painful conditions associated with HIV infection include pain due to headache, herpes simplex, peripheral neuropathy, back pain, herpes zoster, throat pain, and arthralgia. In addition, clinical experience suggests an increasing incidence of pain due to malignancies and associated treatments.
A study done by Dr. Donald Abrams found that smoked cannabis was effective at reducing painful HIV-associated neuropathy, as well as effective at reducing pain from a heat-capsaicin model of peripheral neuropathy.
Nausea is one of the main reasons for cannabis use by persons with HIV/AIDS. The ability of cannabinoid receptor areas to treat nausea has been recognized for a long time; the oldest prescription cannabinoids (dronabinol and nabilone) were approved for the treatment of nausea and vomiting following chemotherapy.
The effects of THC on appetite and weight were evaluated in 88 patients with AIDS related anorexia and weight loss. THC was associated with increased appetite, improvement in mood, and decreased nausea. The effects of cannabinoids on appetite, have shown that oral THC improves appetite and reverses weight loss. THC also showed a positive effect on sleep.
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a form of dementia and is recognized as a serious health concern, with the numbers of individuals that are afflicted growing as our population ages. The associated signs and symptoms of AD are easily recognized; however, the cause of the disease is not well understood by research professionals. Genetics are believed to play an important role in the development of the disease. As AD is typically associated with aging, frequently there is a tendency to confuse the signs and symptoms of AD with memory changes associated with the normal aging process. Diagnosis of AD is achieved via a combination of various types of testing and is likely to be successfully diagnosed about 90% of the time by physicians. AD is an area of great research activity as the far-reaching health and economic impacts are recognized by governments and health organizations globally. AD has affected most families and it is believed that in 2015 almost 47 million individuals worldwide lived with AD (that number doubles about every 20 years). In 2020, in the US alone, it is estimated that approximately 6 million people live with AD having an associated per-person cost of around $56,000 annually. By doing the math it is clear that humanistic and economic costs of AD are enormous—and growing. A detailed discussion about the symptoms of AD are available from the National Institute on Aging, here. If you are interested in further information regarding U.S. as well as international perspectives about AD you may click here,
Use of Medical Cannabis in AD
Prevention or Delay of AD
Researchers are seeing indications that the combination of THC and CBD in cannabis, in very low or “micro doses” taken on a daily basis, due to its potent anti-inflammatory nature and ability to cross the blood brain barrier, may prevent or delay the onset of AD. THC is 1,000 times more potent in the brain system than CBD—however, there is evidence that suggests that both compounds working together reduced brain inflammation far more effectively than either THC or CBD working alone.1 The available evidence from research conducted in both humans and animals indicate that beginning in mid-life the long-term, micro-dose daily exposure to the complex blend of compounds found in the marijuana plant appear to slow the brain’s processes underlying AD.
One researcher from The Ohio State University, Dr. Gary Wenk, PhD has conducted numerous studies in animals using a synthetic cannabinoid (often used in research to simulate the actions of THC), the results of which have helped him conclude the value of cannabis.2,3 You may be interested in viewing Wenk’s TED talk here. While his entire video has valuable information that is also relevant to our health, the specific discussion of cannabis effects begins around 10 minutes: 40 seconds.
Current research suggests the role of cannabinoids in the prevention and slowing of AD. However, until more research is conducted to clarify and confirm dosing, safety and cannabinoids’ general role in therapy for this devastating illness, we will not know the specifics. What we do know is that cannabis is effective in reducing, if not eliminating, the symptoms of anxiety, depression and aggression in the AD population. For only one example, a recent study conducted by researchers in Switzerland showed that cannabis in a THC and CBD combination, in a ratio of approximately 2:1 (CBD:THC) was well tolerated and greatly improved behavior problems, rigidity, and daily care in severely demented patients.4
Cannabis and Future AD Research
Over the past several years, due to the limited effectiveness and toxicities associated with pharmaceuticals, there has been increased interest in the use of cannabinoids for the management and treatment of AD. Several studies conducted in labs and clinics have indicated that cannabinoids may reduce oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in AD which, may contribute to reductions in neuronal damage and cell loss. Over the past 20 years this hypothesis has gained support in being a possible trigger for the development of AD.4 Due to the myriad of beneficial effects that cannabinoids appear to provide in the aging and AD populations, providing a strong proof of concept, this is a very important research consideration for cannabis and AD for the future.5
FDA Approved Medications for AD
Currently, the medications developed by the pharmaceutical industry treat the outward behaviors (symptoms) and consequent personality changes of AD, with many of them having harmful side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle cramps and increased frequency of bowel movements. In the case of a newer agent memantine, common adverse effects may include headache, constipation, confusion and dizziness. The five (5) FDA approved medications for treatment in AD all effect the chemical messenger systems in the brain, and include: donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine, memantine, and more recently the combination of donepezil with memantine has also been marketed.
1 E Aso, I Ferrer. Cannabinoids for Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: moving toward the clinic. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 2014; 5(37): 1-11.
2 Y Marchalant., et.al., Cannabioid receptor stimulation is anti-inflammatory and improves memory in old rats. Neurobiology of Aging. 2008:29; 1894–1901.
3 Y Marchalant., et.al., Cannabinoids attenuate the effects of aging upon neuroinflammation and neurogenesis
Neurobiology. Dis. (2009), doi:10.1016/j.nbd.2009.01.014
4 B Boers, et. al., Prescription of a THC/CBD-Based Medication to Patients with Dementia: A Pilot Study in Geneva, Med Cannabis and Cannabinoids 2019;2:56–59
5 EA Newcombe., et. al., Inflammation: the link between comorbidities, genetics, and Alzheimer’s disease. J of Neuroinflammation. 2018; 15:276.
Glaucoma is a chronic condition that causes damage to the eye’s optic nerve and progressively gets worse. The damage occurs though a buildup of pressure inside the eye and normally doesn’t show up till later on in life. The pressure is called intraocular pressure can damage the optic nerve and cause permanent loss of vision within a few years.
It has been discovered that Delta 9 – THC in the form of a topical application as in eye drops have been far less more effective than smoked cannabinoids. During a recent discovery of cannabinoid receptors located in the ocular area which has stimulated new research in the development of a topical eye drop form which would minimize the psychological effects of cannabis sativa.
Cannabinoids have been shown to decrease intraocular pressure for brief periods of time with consistent use of cannabinoids in smoking, vaporizing and ingesting cannabinoid oil form. Some of the new delivery methods are extended release oral capsules where there is improved cannabinoids that work with other medications or cannabinoids other than THC such as cannabidiol (CBD).
Nail patella syndrome is a genetic disorder which occurs at birth or during early childhood which lead to improper development, underdevelopment of the knee caps, underdevelopment of bones or abnormal projections of either side of the hipbone. Some may have increased pressure in the eyes leading to glaucoma.
Epilepsy & Seizures
Epilepsy is a chronic condition disorder in which the brain produces seizures. This type of seizure are not caused by other medical conditions such as high fevers or brain injuries. Epilepsy has the ability to affect patients in a variety of ways because there could be many reasons and many kinds of seizures. Some patients may have a variety of seizures or other chronic conditions on top of epilepsy. All of these factors play a dominant role in the severity of the patient’s condition and the impact epilepsy will have on their lives.
A seizure can produce varying side effects such as causing a patient to fall, have staring spells, shake, and in many cases become unaware of what is happening around them. Epilepsy can be caused by other conditions that affect the brain like strokes, brain tumors, central nervous system infection or traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
According to the latest statistics 2% of adults aged 18 years or older have been diagnosed with epilepsy or seizure disorder which is about 4.3 million adults and 750,000 children aged 0-17 years based on the population stats for 2013.
The total cost of epilepsy in the U.S. is estimated to be at $16 billion annually.
As news spreads of children and adults with uncontrollable epilepsy being provided cannabidiol (CBD) – a non-psychoactive ingredient and other types of medical cannabis strains, desperate parents and patients have created an outcry for more research, information and potentially a chance to attempt these treatments.
My Compassion believes that the serious long-term effects of synthetic anti-epileptic pharmaceuticals with a lifetime of unrelenting seizures cannot be set aside. The positive outcomes that some patients like Kimberly Cole and Noah Smith have been seeing with cannabinoid extracts are giving many patients and parents the hope they have been wishing.
Many epilepsy patients have tried countless number of medications, invasive electrical stimulation devices, brain operations, alternative therapies and dietary changes with inconsistent relief of their symptoms. Shouldn’t cannabinoids then become a viable natural alternative choice when no other treatments work?
My Compassion believes that cannabinoids provide a increase in the quality of life for patients, parents and families. My Compassion is committed to helping patients, caregivers, parents, doctors and researchers overcome the obstacles to advanced research in this area.My Compassion understands that cannabinoids or CBD enriched strains may not be the only answer and that much more needs to be done in finding treatments and a cure for all forms of epilepsy and seizures. Current epilepsy cannabinoid patients are encouraged that this may become a promising treatment presently and into the future. My Compassion researchers will be testing pure THC and CBD as well as high CBD / low THC, high THC / low CBD and other types of cannabinoid compounds on epilepsy in order to clearly define cannabinoid effects on seizure control and epilepsy.
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment – “No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. “Lateral” identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.
Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their demise. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe. The motor nerves that are affected when you have ALS are the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements and muscle control. Examples of voluntary movements are making the effort to reach for a smart phone or step off a curb. These actions are controlled by the muscles in the arms and legs.
There are two different types of ALS, sporadic and familial. Sporadic, which is the most common form of the disease in the U.S., accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all cases. It may affect anyone, anywhere. Familial ALS (FALS) accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all cases in the U.S. Familial ALS means the disease is inherited. In those families, there is a 50% chance each offspring will inherit the gene mutation and may develop the disease. French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot discovered the disease in 1869.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys. The spotlight shining on autism as a result has opened opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve families facing a lifetime of supports for their children. In June 2014, researchers estimated the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is as great as $2.4 million. The Autism Society estimates that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism. (This figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.
- A 2013 study conducted by Dr. Dario Siniscalco found indications that certain compounds—namely the CB2 receptor—found in cannabis may be helpful in managing autism.
- A study published in 2013 by Dr. Csaba Foldy at the Second University of Naples in association with Stanford University Medical School found that alterations in endocannabinoid signaling may contribute to autism.
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, also known as CIDP, is an acquired immune-mediated inflammatory disorder closely associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Affecting the peripheral nervous system, this condition is a chronic relapsing polyneuropathy.
It is a relapsing and remitting disorder. This means that a patient might suffer a particularly difficult period of symptom intensification, then after time recover completely. At some point within the disease’s progression, that patient will likely suffer relapses and not remit completely, then suffering resulting permanent damage. This is how the disease progresses over time.
Typical symptoms of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy include:
- Numbing of the body
- Tingling sensations, particularly in limbs
- Progressive muscle weakness and atrophy
- Loss of deep tendon reflexes
- Chronic fatigue
- Other abnormal sensations
Cannabis to Alleviate Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
Research has shown that cannabis helps slow the progression of Huntington’s disease through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. After studies determined that Huntington’s disease was related to a loss of cannabinoid receptors in the basal ganglia, researchers set out to examine whether increasing endocannabinoid activity could be therapeutically beneficial for treating the disease. Results have been encouraging.
In preclinical trials, the major cannabinoids found in cannabis have been found to be effective at protecting the life of neurons in the brain. Research has shown that through the activation of cannabinoid 2 receptors (CB2), the inflammation and toxicity of microglial cells is reduced, which in turn slows the neurodegeneration caused by Huntington’s disease2. Through the activation of cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1), cannabinoids have shown to effectively alleviate specific motor symptoms like tremors and movement disorders and reduce the process in which neurons are damaged and killed to slow the progression of the disease.
Additionally, studies examining the effect of cannabis-based medications on Huntington’s disease have proven cannabinoids effective at delaying the progression of the disorder.
Researchers suggest that targeting the cannabinoid system with cannabinoids may have a potential therapeutic benefit for treating basal ganglia disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Cannabinoids are effective at providing neuroprotection through three methods: reducing inflammation by activating CB2 receptors, limiting cell death by activating CB1 receptors, and providing an antioxidant effect through a mechanism independent of cannabinoid receptors. Studies also indicate that cannabinoids are effective at reducing muscle spasms and the inability to concentrate through their direct activation of vanilloid TRPV(1) receptors.
What is a muscle spasm?
Otherwise known as muscle cramps, spasms occur when a muscle involuntary and forcibly contracts and cannot relax. These are very common and can affect any muscle. Typically, they involve part or all of a muscle, or several muscles in a group. The most common sites for muscle spasms are the thighs, calves, foot arches, hands, arms, abdomen and sometimes along the ribcage. When occurring in the calves, especially, such cramps are known as “charley horses.”
What does a muscle spasm feel like?
Muscle spasms range in intensity from mild twitches to severe pain. The spastic muscle may feel harder than normal to the touch, and/or appear visibly distorted. It may show visible signs of twitching. Spasms may typically last from seconds to 15 minutes or longer, and may recur multiple times before going away.
Who gets muscle spasms?
Muscle spasms can occur at any time to anyone. Whether you are old, young, sedentary or active, you may develop a muscle spasm. It can happen when you walk, sit, perform any exercise, or even sleep. Some individuals are prone to muscle spasms and get them regularly with any physical exertion. However, those who are at greater risk for muscle spasms are infants, the elderly (over age 65), people who overexert during exercise, those who are ill, and endurance athletes.
What causes muscle spasms?
- Insufficient stretching before physical activity.
- Muscle fatigue.
- Exercising in heated temperatures.
- Electrolyte imbalances in potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Nausea can occur in so many different situations that it is often hard to pinpoint the exact cause. It is thought that the timing of nausea can indicate the cause. For example, if Nausea appears after a meal it could indicate food poisoning, an ulcer or gastritis.
According to WebMD, nausea and vomiting are not classed as diseases. However, they are referred to as symptoms of conditions such as:
- Early stages of pregnancy
- Medication-induced vomiting
- Motion sickness or seasickness
- Intense and chronic pain
- Emotional stress (such as fear)
- Food poisoning
- Gallbladder disease
- Infections (such as the “stomach flu”)
- Heart attack
- A reaction to certain smells or odors
- Concussion or brain injury
- Brain tumor
- Some forms of cancer
- Bulimia or other psychological illnesses
- Gastroparesis or slow stomach emptying (a condition that can be seen in people with diabetes)
- Ingestion of toxins or excessive amounts of alcohol
Cancer patients often experience Nausea during chemotherapy treatments. The level of nausea depends on the type of chemotherapy drugs they receive, for example, if you receive cancer treatments such as radiation or some other intense treatment. It also depends on whether you’ve experienced nausea or vomiting in the past.
Medical Cannabis is a form of treatment that dates back over thousands of years. In the 1970’s, positive evidence of cannabis’ cancer applications led researchers to investigate its effect on chemotherapy-induced nausea through synthetic THC pills.
Furthermore, evidence of CBD’s ability to reduce nausea has also caught the headlines due to numerous publications providing strong support for the for the combined action of cannabinoids found in medical cannabis.
Over the last few decades, cannabinoids have been proved to be an effective treatment in combating vomiting in animals in response to a toxic challenge, for example, chemotherapy in humans.
Other researchers at Temple University School of Medicine found that various cannabinoid receptors play a role in the regulation of food intake, gastric secretion and gastroprotection, nausea and vomiting, intestinal inflammation, and cell proliferation in the gut.
Your nervous system consists of two parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.
The nerves of your peripheral nervous system transmit messages between your central nervous system — your brain and spinal cord — and the rest of your body.
These nerves regulate a large range of functions throughout the body, including voluntary muscle movement (motor nerves), involuntary organ activity (autonomic nerves), and the perception of stimuli (sensory nerves).
Peripheral neuropathy, which is often simply referred to as “neuropathy,” is a condition that occurs when your peripheral nerves become damaged or disrupted.
More recently, cannabis has been shown to provide relief to patients that are unresponsive to other forms of treatment. This is primarily due to the substance’s relationship to our internal endocannabinoid system.
Peripheral nerves that detect pain sensations contain cannabinoid receptors and are therefore impacted by any form of cannabis consumption. When THC and CBD enter your body, they activate your CB1 and CB2 receptors which regulate the neurotransmitter and central nervous system, helping to manage pain levels.
A small 2010 study found that “a single inhalation of 25mg of 9.4% tetrahydrocannabinol herbal cannabis three times daily for five days reduced the intensity of pain, improved sleep and was well tolerated.” A separate 2013 study found that when compared to traditional neuropathic pain medication, cannabis effectively reduces pain with low dosages (1.29%) as a pain reliever with a medium dosage (3.53%). And a study in 2015 found that cannabinoids are effective at lowering pain levels associated with cancer, neuropathy and other acute and chronic pain conditions. Further long-term studies need to be done to prove the relationship between cannabis and pain, but the evidence is well on its way.
What is the science and pharmacology behind marijuana, and can it be used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms?
The endocannabinoid system is located in the brain and made up of cannabinoid receptors (a receptor is molecular switch on the outside of a cell that makes something happen inside a cell when activated) that are linked to neurons (brain cells) that regulate thinking and some body functions.
Researchers began to show enthusiasm to study cannabis in relation to PD after people with PD gave anecdotal reports and posted on social media as to how cannabis allegedly reduced their tremors. Some researchers think that cannabis might be neuroprotective — saving neurons from damage caused by PD.
Cannabinoids (the drug molecules in marijuana) have also been studied for use in treating other symptoms, like bradykinesia (slowness caused by PD) and dyskinesia (excess movement caused by levodopa). Despite some promising preclinical findings, researchers have not found any meaningful or conclusive benefits of cannabis for people with PD.
Researchers issue caution for people with PD who use cannabis because of its effect on thinking. PD can impair the executive function — the ability to make plans and limit risky behavior. People with a medical condition that impairs executive function should be cautious about using any medication that can compound this effect.
Sickle Cell Anemia
Sickle cell anemia is a blood disease. Healthy blood cells are shaped like donuts without a hole. These disc-shaped organisms are small, but contain our genetic code and, more importantly, our oxygen. Oxygen, as I’m sure you know, is what we breathe, and most times when our oxygen supply is put in jeopardy, so are our lives.
As the name suggests, sickle cell disease changes the shape of these once disc-like cells into that of crescent moons (or sickles). This reshaping makes it very difficult for blood cells’ hemoglobin to hold on to and circulate oxygen, and can also cause blockages in the circulatory system that can have fatal results.
Common symptoms of sickle cell anemia include:
- Shortage of red blood cells, causing anemia
- Bouts of “sickle pain” where congested parts of the circulatory system become swollen and inflamed, eliciting a throbbing/stabbing pain that is only abated by taking medication and/or increasing circulation
- Swelling of hands and feet
- Spleen and internal organ inflammation and damage, which can lead to frequent infections
- Slowed growth and delayed puberty
- Vision problems
- Risk of stroke
Cannabis may not be a panacea for everyone, but its usefulness and versatility cater to many, including those suffering from sickle cell disease. Alongside the mood enhancing, uplifting, and euphoric effects, cannabis also has analgesic (pain relief) and anti-inflammatory (anti-swelling) properties that are particularly useful for sickle cell patients. These attributes lend themselves to people surviving sickle cell disease.