Cerebral palsy remains an incurable disorder, with symptoms ranging from mild spastic movements to severe seizures and the inability to control and use limbs. While research for a cure is still being conducted, scientists continue to focus on forms of effective treatment to help control the disorder’s symptoms. Research on medical marijuana and cerebral palsy is still limited, but findings from previous studies suggest that it offers a host of benefits, including pain control, reduction of spastic movements, seizures reduction, and more.
Survey of Pain Treatment Study
In 2011, results of a study on pain treatment or people with cerebral palsy were published in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A total of 83 adults with cerebral palsy participated in the study, which consisted of trying 23 different medications for pain, including medical marijuana. The legs, lower back, and hips, were reported as being the most common areas of pain. According to research,The treatment that was rated as providing the most relief was marijuana; however, less than 5% of the sample reported ever using this drug for pain.”
Medical Marijuana and Spastic Quadriplegia
Spastic quadriplegia is the most serious form of cerebral palsy, affecting all of the limbs, the face, and the body’s trunk. The majority of children with spastic quadriplegia are unable to walk and their speech is usually profoundly affected. While their limbs can be extremely stiff, their necks may be floppy, making it difficult for them to hold their head up. Physical pain and cognitive issues are all common of those with spastic quadriplegia.
Although more data is needed, the few studies conducted on medical marijuana and spastic quadriplegia symptoms indicate that it offers numerous therapeutic benefits. For example, a study published by NIH in 2007 states that clinical experience and animal studies showed that the active constituents in marijuana helped to control partial seizures, which are usual in people with spastic quadriplegia.
Another study published in 2014 showed marijuana to be effective in reducing painful muscle spasms. Although the study focused on people who experienced muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, spasms are one of the most common symptoms of people with cerebral palsy.
Federal guidelines make it difficult for scientists to continue to conduct in-depth research. Many states, however, now allow medical marijuana as a treatment for spasms and pain, but the only state that allows it specifically to treat spastic quadriplegia without a doctor’s referral. Yet, other states allow it to treat spastic quadriplegia as long as a physician recommends it.
Cannabis Oil (CBD)
Cannabis oil, or CBD oil, named after one of the many compounds found in marijuana, has gained a lot of popularity recently, especially after a special that aired on CNN that involved a young girl who once suffered from close to 50 convulsive seizures every day. After exhausting every other possible option to help her, the girl’s parents turned to a high concentration of CBD oil, known as “Charlotte’s Web,” after the girl’s first name.
Charlotte titrated the CBD oil over several weeks while continuing on with a seizure treatment plan that was already in place. After weeks of using the oil, her seizure frequency went down to only two to three per day.
The CBD oil treatment became so successful that Charlotte was eventually weaned off of her other anti-seizure medications. She also began walking, talking, and even riding her bicycle, things she had difficulties with before.