Neurological ConditionsMedical cannabis for Neurological Conditions
A Neurological condition is any condition that affects the brain, spinal cord and/or nerves and includes a wide range of disorders. Neurological conditions can affect anyone at any age. One in six people in the UK lives with a neurological condition.
One in six people in the UK lives with a neurological condition.
It is sometimes useful to group neurological conditions.
Sudden onset – stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, meningitis, or brain cancers.
Intermittent – epilepsy, migraine and cluster headaches
Progressive – Parkinson’s disease, dementia, motor neurone disease or Multiple sclerosis
Extensive research and clinical trials have demonstrated the potential of medical cannabis in alleviating the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. The cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), have shown promising results in managing various aspects of MS, including:
Pain Relief: Medical cannabis has analgesic properties that can help reduce the chronic pain experienced by individuals with MS. It can target both nociceptive pain (arising from damaged tissue) and neuropathic pain (resulting from nerve damage).
Muscle Spasticity Control: Muscle spasms and stiffness are common symptoms of MS. Medical cannabis can help relax muscles and reduce spasticity, providing much-needed relief and improving overall mobility.
Sleep Improvement: Many individuals with MS struggle with sleep disturbances. Medical cannabis has been shown to have sedative effects, promoting better sleep quality and duration.
Mood Enhancement: MS can impact an individual’s mental well-being, leading to symptoms of anxiety and depression. Medical cannabis has shown potential in alleviating these symptoms, promoting relaxation and improving overall mood.
MS is most commonly diagnosed in people in their 20s, 30s and 40s although it can develop at any age. Average life expectancy is slightly reduced for people with MS. It’s about 2 to 3 times more common in women than men.
Pain affects around two thirds of people with MS and there is an estimated 10,000 people with pain and spasticity symptoms in MS where licensed treatments have not worked. (MS Society Report, 2021).
Medical Cannabis is thought to help ease stiffness and muscle spasms that are common experienced with MS.
Restless Legs Syndrome
- Epilepsy is a neurological condition characterized by recurring seizures of varying intensity.
- These seizures result from disturbances in specific brain regions, leading to bursts of abnormal brain activity.
- Controlled studies have shown that medical cannabis, particularly CBD, can reduce seizures in patients of all ages with epilepsy.
- Stroke is a medical condition that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, leading to a range of symptoms, including muscle weakness, speech difficulties, cognitive impairment and pain.
- Medical cannabinoids like CBD and THC, can help in managing some of the symptoms and complications associated with stroke, such as pain and spasticity
Spinal Cord Injury
- A spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord that can result in various physical and neurological impairments, often causing long-term functional limitations and severe and chronic pain.
- Medical cannabis is considered by some as an alternative when traditional pain management fails, as it offers relief with fewer side effects.
- Cannabis can improve cognitive clarity and reduce the need for other prescription medications, contributing to overall well-being.
- Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder with motor and non-motor symptoms.
- Medical cannabis is being explored for its potential to provide relief, particularly in managing non-motor symptoms like pain, sleep problems, and fatigue.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is a complex and debilitating condition characterized by persistent and unexplained fatigue, often accompanied by various symptoms such as pain, sleep disturbances, and cognitive issues. It significantly impairs a person’s ability to carry out daily activities and may last for an extended period. Although the exact cause remains unclear.
- Medicinal cannabis may help manage chronic fatigue symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory, sedative, and analgesic properties.
- Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioural changes, ultimately leading to severe impairment in daily life. CBD, with its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory qualities, might mitigate some Alzheimer’s symptoms.
- Research on CBD’s potential to restore cognitive functions in mice with genetic susceptibility to Alzheimer’s is promising, but further research is needed.
- Tourette Syndrome is a neurological condition characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations, known as tics, often accompanied by behavioural and emotional challenges.
- Anecdotal reports suggest that medical cannabis may be effective in suppressing tics and addressing associated behavioural issues.