Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder which causes muscles to spasm and contract involuntarily. The condition can either be hereditary or can arise from a number of different causes, including physical trauma, poisoning, adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs or infections. It is the third most common movement disorder after Parkinson’s disease and tremors, affecting more than 300,000 people in North America. The symptoms of dystonia can vary depending on the kind of dystonia and severity. Currently, dystonia can be classified into 6 different types: Generalized, Focal, Segmental, Psychogenic, Acute Dystonic Reaction and Vegetative-Vascular. In most cases, dystonia tends to lead to abnormal posturing, tremors, difficulty producing speech, insomnia, heightened anxiety and/or stress, continuous pain, cramping, and relentless muscle spasms due to involuntary muscle movements. Significant muscle pain and cramping may result from very minor exertions like holding a book and turning pages. It may become difficult to find a comfortable position for arms and legs; even the minor exertions associated with holding arms crossed may cause significant pain similar, to restless leg syndrome. Due to the constant muscle and brain activity, disturbed sleeping patterns, mood swings, mental stresses, difficulty concentrating and blurred vision are all common symptoms.
Medical Cannabis and Dystonia
Because so much of the disease entails muscle spasms and involuntary contractions, medical cannabis – specifically CBD can be incredibly beneficial for treating involuntary muscle spasms. There has been research to support CBD treatment as particularly beneficial for reducing dystonic movement disorders. Topical lotions rich in CBD and THC can be extremely beneficial for patients who are looking for relief without any headchange. Small doses of THC have also been shown to improve motor control and minimize cramping without extreme psychoactive effects. Patients experiencing more intense forms of neuropathic pain and cramping have benefitted from using more indica dominant strains. Sativa strains can also be very effective treating motor dysfunction and daytime pain.