Marijuana For Muscular Dystrophy

Overview

Muscular dystrophy is a group of medical conditions that cause the muscles to weaken and waste away. It also causes defective protein metabolism. The diseases under muscular dystrophy are usually as the result of genetic disorders. Most of the time, it begins during childhood but manifests itself in later years. Typically, muscular dystrophy is signified by the patient experiencing difficulty in running, jumping or lying down. People who are living with muscular dystrophy experience pain and stiffness in their muscles and joints. In some cases, the effects of the condition could be so severe that they prevent the patient from breathing or even taking a few steps.

Conventional treatments for muscular dystrophy

The main drugs used to treat MD in society today are mexiletine, phenytoin, and procainamide. Mexiletine is effective in the treatment of muscle stiffness, one of the primary symptoms of muscular dystrophy. Unfortunately, this drug has numerous side effects. These include dizziness, heartburn, lightheadedness, nausea, blurred vision, clumsiness, and diarrhea.

Cannabis and its benefits to people suffering from MD

Currently, there is no exclusive research on the effects that cannabis has on muscular dystrophy. However, research has been conducted on the advantages that medical marijuana has for people living with multiple sclerosis. Since marijuana treats effects from this disease that are similar to those of MD such as muscle loss and stiffness, there is evidence that marijuana could treat these symptoms in MD as well.

In the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care, a study conducted in 2010 is featured. It explains how medical marijuana could benefit ALS, a muscle degenerative disease similar to MD. In the study, cannabis was found to have the following advantages. Theoretically, marijuana could pose the same benefits to people living with MD. The benefits include:

• Anti-inflammatory activity throughout the body as a result of its cannabinoids. The reduction of swelling in areas such as the joints from people suffering from muscular dystrophy could reduce their pain.

• Marijuana was discovered to prevent the death of healthy cells. This advantage would reduce the rate at which muscles waste away for an individual with MD.

• Cannabinoids found in marijuana have neuroprotective properties. That means they encourage the proper functioning of nerves. The development of these nerves would indicate a lesser likelihood of effects such as difficulties in breathing.

A 2013 study on cannabinoids’ effect on pain showed that small doses of THC helped to reduce pain significantly. Since joint pain is one of MD’s primary symptoms, the condition’s effects can be significantly reduced by the use of medical marijuana. According to research so far, medical marijuana cannot fully eliminate all the symptoms of MD. It can, however, help patients cope very well with the disease.

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