Cbd oil for focal dystonia

CBD Effects on Dystonia

CBD is a product that may bring questions marks for some, and for others, it has become an essential part of their routine. Researchers are looking into its effects on conditions such as motor excitability in certain types of epilepsy and other movement disorders such as spasticity in multiple sclerosis. Patients and clinicians have sensibly asked whether this effect of CBD might extend to the management of dystonia. So, is CBD a safe and effective way to alleviate symptoms in patients with dystonia? Today, let’s explore the effects of CBD on dystonia.

What Is Dystonia?

Dystonia is a very complex rare neurological movement disorder syndrome in which muscles contract involuntarily in repetitive and twisting motions, resulting in uncontrollable muscle spasms and abnormal fixed postures – which can be tremendously painful. Dystonia can affect a single muscle, a group of muscles, or the entire body. It is estimated that 250,000 people in the U.S. have dystonia , and it has also been found to be more prevalent in women. Muscle contractions caused by dystonia range from mild to severe and hamper a patient’s ability to perform everyday tasks.

There are several subtypes of dystonia, – classified according to the area of the body they affect – they include:

  • General Dystonia (affects all parts of the body)
  • Blepharospasm (Affects the eyes)
  • Cervical Dystonia (affects only the neck)
  • Oromandibular Dystonia (affects the face, tongue, and jaw)
  • Myoclonus Dystonia (affects the torso, neck, and arms)
  • Laryngeal Dystonia (affects the larynx)

It’s important to note that dystonia can be task-specific, which means that the symptoms manifest when carrying out particular activities. These activities may include playing a musical instrument, writing, and even typing.

Symptoms of Dystonia

Dystonia manifests itself in different ways depending on the subtype of dystonia and the severity of muscle spasms and contractions. Symptoms associated with dystonia may also progress through different stages and other body parts. However, this is not necessarily the case. The symptoms of dystonia vary from individual to individual; some patients find that their dystonia symptoms diminish or plateau over time. Common symptoms of dystonia include:

  • Tremors
  • Uncontrollable blinking
  • Speech difficulties
  • A “dragging leg”
  • Muscle cramping and spasms
  • Involuntary pulling of the neck
  • Abnormal twisting of affected parts

Dystonia symptoms can arise for the first time at any age, regardless of the individual’s gender. These symptoms often:

  • Begin in one area
  • Occur during specific activities that cause muscle fatigue and constant spontaneous muscle movement such as writing and playing a musical instrument.
  • Worsen with fatigue, anxiety, or stress
  • Worsen as time passes

Causes of Dystonia

Sadly, the specific cause of dystonia remains a mystery. However, medical researchers believe that dystonia could be caused by damage or a form of abnormality in sections of the brain responsible for movement, such as the basal ganglia. There may also be damage to neurotransmitters (which are responsible for communication between nerves and cells in the brain) or an abnormality in how the patient’s brain processes information and generates commands to prompt movement.

Researchers have also found that dystonia may be inherited (genetic) or from exposure to specific drugs, such as antipsychotics – typically used to treat individuals with schizophrenia and mental illness. Other neurological conditions, such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease, has been linked to dystonic symptoms.

Treatment for Dystonia

At the moment, there is no known cure for dystonia, but there are treatments that can help lessen the symptoms. These treatments work by hindering nerve communications with muscles. They include:

  • Botox injections (Botulinum toxin)
  • Medications: Such as Baclofen and Levodopa
  • Physical therapy
  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
  • Surgery: Sometimes, surgery can be done to regulate or disable certain nerves or brain sections in people with dystonia to help manage dystonia symptoms
  • Muscle relaxers and strong painkillers like opioids have been used to provide some relief for people with dystonia. The pain experienced by people with dystonia can vary depending on the source and the patient’s tolerance.

Unfortunately, the medications and treatment options available for people with dystonia are expensive and have been reported to have many negative side effects, including possible addiction. And with most treatments and medications for dystonia having adverse negative side effects, it is no wonder many are looking for an alternative solution. Besides, some patients experience dystonia symptoms that don’t respond to medications.

CBD and Dystonia

As scientists and researchers continue to make groundbreaking discoveries in the medical field, many are waiting, hoping, and praying for treatments to be developed that might treat and cure dystonia. And CBD may be a potential candidate to help manage the symptoms of dystonia.

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Aha, you read that right, researchers are looking into the possible use of CBD for symptoms of dystonia and how CBD can benefit those with dystonia. But could CBD really help with dystonia symptoms? If so, how?

The Effects of CBD on Dystonia

CBD has gained a lot of traction in recent years. Additionally, new research is continually revealing new potential benefits of CBD, including its great potential for those affected by dystonia. The most probable explanation regarding CBD’s effect on dystonia is CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The Endocannabinoid System and Dystonia

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is present throughout the body, including the brain. This system is composed of receptors (CB-1 and CB-2), enzymes, and endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system is highly expressed in the basal ganglia, which is involved in motor function through coordination of movement. Researchers have hypothesized that this is where cannabidiol might exercise its effects on dystonia.

Over the last couple of years, several experimental and clinical studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in motor function. Three lines of evidence support the idea of ECS’s effect on motor function:

  1. Endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid receptors (CB-1 and CB-2) are abundant in the cerebellum and the basal ganglia – two regions of the brain that play a direct role in the control of motor function.
  2. Endocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and plant-derived cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) have been seen to produce a wide range of effects on motor activity in lab animals as well as humans.
  3. It has been noted that several movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, alter the ECS components. This has led researchers to consider the endocannabinoid system as a target for developing new treatments for motor function disorders.

CBD and the ECS

Interestingly, CBD interacts with your body and the brain through the ECS. CBD helps inhibit FAAH (fatty acid amidohydrolase) and MAGL (monoacylglycerol lipase), responsible for the breakdown of endocannabinoids in the ECS, which include: anandamide and 2-AG. That means taking CBD may indirectly elevate endocannabinoid levels in your brain, influencing the release of neurotransmitters such as GABA and dopamine. GABA and dopamine play a key role in reducing anxiety.

Although extensive research is still needed in this area, there may be a promising role for CBD in symptom management for dystonia.

How Can I Use CBD?

While CBD does not cure dystonia, it may show promise to help ease symptoms and improve a patient’s quality of life. You can use CBD in several ways. But first, consult with your doctor before introducing CBD into your routine.

You can use CBD for it’s relaxing properties. Symptoms of dystonia can worsen because of fatigue, lack of sleep, and anxiety. Since CBD may help combat these issues, you might be able to use it to decrease the severity of symptoms.

Another way you can use CBD is to help alleviate pain. Numerous studies have suggested CBD’s potency for lowering pain and inflammation. That said, you may be able to use CBD in pain management.

CBD has the potential to offer relief for psychosis and tremors in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Similarly, CBD could demonstrate relief for muscle cramping and tremors associated with dystonia.

Are There Side Effects of Using CBD?

One major concern is whether using CBD has side effects. Several studies have shown that CBD has little to no known side effects. Some side effects may include tiredness, dry mouth, and irritability. Oftentimes these side effects are seen with higher doses. Always start with a low dose and gradually increase until you achieve your desired effects. It’s important to note that CBD can interact with certain medications. So be sure to speak with your doctor before you start your CBD journey.

What Is the Best Type of CBD?

If you’re looking for CBD products to help manage your symptoms, there are several choices at your disposal. However, you may consider a full-spectrum CBD product. The idea is to get a product that has some THC in it. This is because THC also plays a key role in affecting symptoms. Full-spectrum CBD products allow you to benefit from both cannabinoids. And, you don’t have to worry about a “high” from the THC in full-spectrum products. CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC, which is not enough to induce intoxicating effects. For more guidance on CBD products, check out our CBD products page.

Final Thoughts

Dystonia can have a severe impact on an individual’s quality of life. Not only does it cause constant muscle contortion and spasming, but it can also cause severe neuropathic pain – which can make everyday activities challenging. While further research is needed, CBD may show promise at addressing many of the symptoms of dystonia.

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Cannabis Therapy for Dystonia [Does It Work?]

Dystonia is a general term that doctors use to describe a group of movement disorders. These conditions involve uncontrollable muscle spasms and sometimes pain. They can have a massive impact on the sufferer’s quality of life, but treatment options are limited.

With medical marijuana and CBD becoming more popular, some patients are wondering whether cannabis therapy can help dystonia. We investigate in this in-depth article. But, first, let’s take a closer look at dystonia and its symptoms.

What Is Dystonia?

The term dystonia describes any one of several conditions that affect the muscles and movement. It results in uncontrollable muscle spasms and cramps, which can be extremely painful.

There are many different subtypes of dystonia, each affecting a different part of the body. They include the following:

  • Generalized dystonia (affects the whole body)
  • Myoclonus dystonia (jerking that typically affects the arms, torso, and neck)
  • Cervical dystonia (only affects the neck)
  • Blepharospasm (affects the eyes)
  • Laryngeal dystonia (affects the larynx)
  • Oromandibular dystonia (affects the lower face, jaw, and tongue)

Some types of dystonia are ‘task-specific,’ meaning that they only occur when carrying out certain activities. These activities might include writing, typing, or playing a musical instrument.

Dystonia Symptoms

In the early stages, dystonia symptoms are often mild. They may only occur in an isolated body part when performing a specific activity.

Eventually, these symptoms may progress to other body parts and become present most of the time. However, this is not always the case. Some people find that their dystonia either plateaus or improves over time.

How and when to use CBD Oil…

The most common symptoms of dystonia include:

  • Unusual twisting of the affected body part
  • Slow, repetitive movements
  • Muscle spasms and cramping
  • Tremors
  • Uncontrollable blinking

Dystonia symptoms can occur for the first time at any age. Most types of dystonia are more common in women than in men.

What Causes Dystonia?

Most experts agree that dystonia results from an abnormality in one of the brain regions responsible for movement.

For example, the basal ganglia control voluntary muscle and eye movements, among other things. This region of the brain is often dysfunctional in patients with dystonia, although other areas may also be involved.

Dystonia also appears to have a potential link with certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). When the brain is unable to process these neurotransmitters effectively, their messages can become jumbled, which may lead to abnormal movement.

Most experts agree that dystonia results from an abnormality in one of the brain regions responsible for movement.

Doctors generally classify dystonia into one of three categories:

  • Idiopathic dystonia: This type of dystonia has no apparent cause.
  • Genetic dystonia: Mutations in a specific gene cause a variety of dystonia that runs in families.
  • Acquired dystonia: A kind of dystonia that occurs due to brain injury (stroke, oxygen deprivation, or physical trauma) as well as certain medications.

Dystonia often appears in tandem with other medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. Moreover, there are several dystonia triggers that can exacerbate symptoms. These include:

  • Tiredness
  • Stress
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Activities such as talking, chewing, writing, typing, etc.

Common Dystonia Treatments (Not Cannabis)

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dystonia yet. However, there are several treatments that may help patients to manage their symptoms:

  • Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Deep brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation involves placing a battery in the chest or abdomen. It is connected to the brain via thin wires and provides electrical stimulation to specific areas of the brain. For some patients, it can give relief from symptoms. However, others derive minimal benefit.

With dystonia treatment options so limited, it is little wonder that some patients are turning to cannabis. But does it really help?

Does Cannabis Help Dystonia?

Cannabis therapy has become widely accepted in recent years. The majority of American states now have medical marijuana programs in place, and some even allow recreational use.

Furthermore, new research is continually shedding light on the myriad benefits of the plant. To date, most studies have focused on THC and CBD, the two most prominent cannabinoids.

THC is probably best known for its intoxicating effects but also possesses a wealth of medicinal uses. On the other hand, CBD is famous for providing many similar benefits to THC but without the high.

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So far, research into cannabis for dystonia has yielded somewhat mixed results. According to a 2015 study for the journal Neurotherapeutics, there have been several reports of marijuana helping patients with dystonia. However, these are mostly single case reports, and large-scale clinical trials are lacking.

One 2002 study assessed the effects of nabilone (a synthetic form of THC) for dystonia. It found that there were no significant improvements in subjects.

Research into CBD for dystonia is slightly more promising. A 2002 study for the European Journal of Pharmacology tested CBD on hamsters with idiopathic dystonia. They found that high doses tended to delay the progression of the disease.

Another study for The International Journal of Neuroscience followed five patients with dystonic movement disorders. The participants took CBD doses between 100mg and 600mg daily for a total of six weeks.

Amazingly, all of the patients experienced improvements, ranging between 20% and 50%. However, two patients with Parkinson’s features found that doses over 300mg exacerbated their symptoms.

CBD Effects on Dystonia

The most likely explanation for CBD’s effects on dystonia is its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is present in most of the body’s tissues, including the brain.

The ECS is composed of cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and chemicals called endocannabinoids. These two components bind together like a lock and key to regulate a range of physiological functions. The ECS is involved in mood, appetite, and immunity, among other things.

CBD works by slowing the breakdown of endocannabinoids, thus increasing their levels in the brain.

The ECS also plays a crucial role in motor function. There is an exceptionally high concentration of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the basal ganglia of the brain. Experts have hypothesized that this is where CBD exerts its effects on dystonia.

CBD works by slowing the breakdown of endocannabinoids, thus increasing their levels in the brain. Furthermore, CBD has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. These benefits mean that it could help to protect structures in the brain from damage in conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

However, more research is necessary to confirm how well CBD works for dystonia.

What Is the Best CBD for Dystonia?

If an individual decides to try CBD for dystonia, there are a few things to bear in mind.

If a person lives somewhere where medical marijuana is legal and has a qualifying condition, they can apply for an MMJ card. This card allows its holders to purchase high-CBD cannabis strains or CBD oil from licensed dispensaries.

The advantage of this is that it allows people to choose a product containing some THC alongside its CBD and benefit from both cannabinoids.

However, if a person lives somewhere without a medical marijuana program, they are limited to buying hemp-derived CBD oil. This product contains just trace amounts of THC and is, therefore, legal in the majority of places.

Revealing the truth…

Hemp-derived CBD is also an excellent option for anyone who does not want to deal with the intoxicating effects of THC.

The problem with many CBD products is that the market is not well-regulated. Therefore, a lot of companies are selling items that are not up to scratch. Some contain far less CBD than they should, while others could include contaminants like pesticides or solvents.

Therefore, people should be cautious when buying CBD oil for dystonia. Look for a brand that offers third-party lab reports on its website. These reports show exactly what is in each product and prove there is nothing to hide.

There are also a huge variety of different CBD products to choose from, and picking one can be confusing. For more guidance on purchasing CBD, check out our guide to the best types of CBD products.

Cannabis Therapy for Dystonia: Final Thoughts

Dystonia is a condition that has a severe impact on a person’s quality of life. It can cause not only severe pain but also makes everyday activities a challenge. Furthermore, there are few truly effective treatments available.

Therefore, many people are turning to cannabis therapy for dystonia. There have been reports over the years of this natural medicine relieving dystonia symptoms for some people. However, hard clinical evidence is lacking, so there is no guarantee that it will work for everyone.

If a person is thinking about trying cannabis or CBD oil for dystonia, consult a medical professional first. They will advise whether it is safe or not and offer additional advice on how to manage one’s symptoms.