Everyone, at some point or another, has experienced muscle spasms and cramps. With causes ranging from simple imbalances to serious diseases, muscle spasms can become painful for some patients if not treated properly. Traditional methods of treatment are often ineffective or have negative side effects. In such cases, medical marijuana becomes an effective solution for treating chronic muscle spasms in patients.
If you or someone you know is suffering from regular muscle spasms, read on to know more about the use of medical marijuana for its treatment. You will also find information regarding Marijuana Cards in New York in this article.
What Causes Muscle Spasms?
Muscle spasm or muscle cramp refers to the involuntary contraction of muscle that can last for a few seconds, minutes, to even a few hours in extreme cases. Muscle spasms are fairly common among people of all ages. Pulled muscles, foot cramps, and Charley horses of the calf affect almost everyone.
Muscle spasms are common but people who are older and/or overweight are at greater risk of being affected by muscle spasms. Even athletes are prone to regular muscle spasms due to their physical activities. Muscle spasms are typically caused due to overexertion, dehydration, magnesium and potassium imbalance, not using the muscle often, pinched nerves, poor blood circulation, obesity, spinal cord injury, and many such causes. But muscle spasms may be caused by certain specific diseases as well. Two of the most common causes of muscle spasms can be Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Treatment for Muscle Spasms
To cure these spasms, most patients follow conventional home remedies, medicines prescribed by their physicians, or traditional homeopathic treatments. Medications prescribed for muscle spasms include Tizanidine, Baclofen, Cyclobenzaprine, and other drugs which can have many side effects such as Nausea, Headache, Drowsiness, Chest pain, Dry mouth, Difficulty in breathing, and even depression.
These medications are often coupled with regular exercises and diet changes to relieve chronic muscle spasms. But often, these medications or methods do not help with muscle spasms and thus, many patients have turned to medical marijuana for helping with their disorder. Usually, opiates are often used to treat muscle spasms and injuries. Even though it can be effective in the short term, the long-term effects of opiates can be more harmful than good. Opiates can have several side effects such as drowsiness, constipation, nausea, liver damage, and even brain damage. Opiates can also be addictive for patients. As an opioid alternative, medical marijuana is a better option because not only is it more natural, but also more effective in treating chronic spasms or muscle injuries.
How Does Medical Cannabis Help in Muscle Spasms?
Cannabinoids are effective for muscle spasms as they reduce inflammation caused by cramps. The University of South Carolina conducted a study where it was found that psychoactive Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) causes a reduction in the immune system’s response to muscle injuries or spasms, and consequently the system’s inflammatory proteins are deactivated.
THC also has a positive effect on the network of cell receptors in the human body that impact feelings of pain. THC binds to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and starts an anti-inflammatory response that stops muscle spasms and inflammation, for instance, after an injury.
As mentioned earlier, Multiple Sclerosis is a common cause of muscle spasms. MS is a disease that is characterized by serious damage to the central nervous system. The nerve fibers get inflamed and the result is a disruption in the communication between the brain and the body. A 2013 study showed that medical cannabis helps in relieving inflammation of the nerves. The study demonstrated how the phenotype responsible for inflammation in MS is reduced by Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol.
The effectiveness of medical marijuana for muscle spasms is studied mostly for cases where there is an underlying cause to the spasms such as Multiple Sclerosis. In other instances, muscle spasms generally tend to be curable and not a persistent disorder. Some studies show how orally administered cannabis can lead to a significant improvement in the patient’s spasticity thus helping with chronic muscle spasms.
It can be expected that more studies and research will be conducted in this field once the involvement of the pharmaceutical industry in this area increases. It is also desirable that studies be conducted to find out more about the efficacy and efficiency of medical marijuana for muscle spasms unrelated to diseases such as MS.
It can be said without a doubt that medical cannabis is certainly very effective for the treatment of inflammation and muscle spasms. Lots of patients are gravitating towards it for relief while more and more states in the USA are approving the use of medical marijuana for treating muscle spasms.
Using Medical Marijuana for Muscle Spasms
Medical cannabis can be used for muscle spasms in a variety of ways. It can be orally consumed, vaped, smoked, or topically applied. The exact process varies depending on the area of the patient’s muscle spasms or the strain of cannabis being used.
Often, localized treatment such as topical application can be preferred as it allows the body’s immune system to better respond to the muscle injury and thus facilitating the treatment.
There are more than 300 strains of cannabis that are approved for treating muscle spasms. A few popular strains are- Snoop Dogg, The Hog, Head Cheese, and Green Candy.
All these strains are extremely effective in treating muscle spasms and although they are safe for the most part, there are a few side effects of medical marijuana that should be kept in mind. Patients using medical marijuana can experience dizziness, dry eyes, headache, and dry mouth. But the side effects of medical marijuana are minimal compared to those of conventional medicines used for treating muscle spasms. Moreover, the side effects of medical marijuana can be reduced to a great extent based on the particular strain and its dosage.
The right strain for a particular symptom and the dosage of the same should be carefully discussed between the doctor and the patient. It is also advisable to continue physical therapy alongside the use of medical marijuana for better results.
Medical Marijuana for MS-related Muscle Spasms
Medical cannabis has proven to be highly effective for patients experiencing muscle spasms caused by MS. There are around 50 cannabis strains that are approved for treating the same. Popular among patients is the use of Cannabidiol. Patients have the option of smoking, vaping, orally consuming, or applying medical marijuana and related products.
Medical Marijuana Card in NY
With the healing effects of marijuana being proven in recent years, an increasing number of states in the USA are legalizing the use of medical marijuana for treating several health issues.
Recently, New York State has legalized the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.
This means that people have legal protection against state prosecution for possessing and using marijuana provided it complies with the program.
With the scope of the medical marijuana program expanding, millions of patients are likely to benefit from access to medical cannabis.
The first step to get a medical marijuana card in New York is to visit a certified practitioner who can diagnose and certify if the patient requires medical marijuana or not. After the certificate is given, the patient can apply for a medical marijuana card which is a state-issued identification card that allows a patient to procure marijuana for medical needs despite the item being illegal under federal law.