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Medical Cannabis for treating Multiple Sclerosis or Muscle Spasms

With continual advances in the field of medicine and pharmacology, the recent trend seems to be in favor of the use of medical marijuana as one method to decrease pain and muscle spasms experienced by people suffering from multiple sclerosis and other diseases and conditions that cause severe muscle spasms.

Cannabinoids have been studied for a variety of neurological disorders with promising results. Strong evidence indicates THC and CBD’s ability to treat muscle spasticity and neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, although a clear role of cannabinoids or the treatment strategy for this condition is not yet defined by the medical community. Around the world, the majority of patients who choose to complement their therapy with cannabis derivatives don’t receive proper support from healthcare systems and from physicians that would possess competences on cannabis treatments. In some cases, patients can join specific clinical programmes that also contribute to the global knowledge about the efficacy of cannabis against muscle spasms, pain, and other typical symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders.

WHAT IS MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease deteriorating the fatty protein that protects nerve cells. The exposed nerves lose their full functionality and the resulting symptoms include pain, muscle spasticity, fatigue, inflammation, depression, leading to reduced physical activity and a low quality of life. This demyelinating process that takes places in the central nervous system affects 2.3 million people worldwide.

Standard treatments to help the patient return to a sort of normal life include anti-inflammatory and pain management drugs, muscle relaxants and tranquillisers. Although recently we saw significant advances in therapies, none of the current treatments can definitely cure MS-related symptoms. Given an already vast anecdotal evidence about a supposed efficacy of cannabis flowers, hash, and oils against MS symptoms, many patients started turning to this herb.

There’s plenty of personal reports by patients who use medical cannabis to alleviate pain, anxiety, muscle tremors and spasms caused by MS. Moreover, today the scientific confirmation of these effects is starting to rely on a solid base of hundreds of patients under clinical trials. Let’s have a quick look at some new research results of cannabis treatments in multiple sclerosis.

THE LATEST STUDIES

Several recent studies support the efficacy of cannabis extracts [1] in oral form to treat the symptoms of MS. In a randomised, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled study involving 572 people with MS, the oral cannabis extract Sativex was given as a complementary therapy to patients with refractory spasticity. The goals were to evaluate the difference between different treatments using the mean spasticity Numeric Rating Scale, the spasm frequency score, the level of sleep disturbance, the general impression of the patients and clinicians. All these parameters were in favour of the cannabis extract.

A similar, yet smaller study on patients with MS showed the effects of Sativex in comparison to a placebo for 12 weeks. The researchers found that patients in the cannabis group experienced much more relief from muscle stiffness [2] .

A review of studies from 1948 to 2013 [3] addressing treatment of symptoms of multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and movement disorders with cannabis, found strong evidence of the efficacy of its derivatives for muscle issues, reducing spasticity and central pain or painful spasms. This was according to both patient-centred and objective measures at 1 year. The cannabis compounds were found possibly ineffective in controlling urinary dysfunction and tremors, and the risk of adverse psychopathological effects hit nearly 1% of the patients.

A few years later, two high-quality systematic reviews [4] concluded that the only strong evidence for efficacy of medical cannabis in neurological disorders was for reducing the symptoms of spasticity and central pain in multiple sclerosis, and that the only complementary medicine in MS with evident efficacy was cannabis. Serious adverse events were rare and THC was generally well-tolerated. After that study, a survey by the University of Colorado including MS patients using cannabis derivatives to handle their condition resulted in similar conclusions. Patients were using CBD and/or THC to manage pain, sleep, muscle stiffness, and most users did not report any side effects, while a few experienced some dizziness or decrease in vigilance and other minor side effects. Other recent studies and meta-analysis with large numbers of patients evaluated the effects of oral or oromucosal cannabinoids as well, collecting significant findings for spasticity, pain, and bladder dysfunction. Finally, we find a study assessing the effect of CBD [5] on mobility in people with multiple sclerosis. The study indicates that cannabis derivatives with 1:1 or greater CBD:THC ratio are able to reduce muscle spasticity and pain in multiple sclerosis patients.

USING CANNABIS AGAINST MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

In many countries, doctors are allowed to prescribe cannabis in order to provide relief to multiple sclerosis patients, and this is probably going to be a common option over the next years, to help alleviate pain, muscle spasms and tremors. Some of THC’s side effects might affect certain multiple sclerosis patients more than others, and consequently, more research is needed in order to understand which specific medical cannabis strains and which consumption forms work best, with less adverse effects.

Even if more and more patients today are comfortable discussing their medical cannabis use, or their will to use it with their physicians, most of healthcare personnel is not yet trained to prescribe or monitor cannabis-based treatments for MS. Here too, scientific literature so far doesn’t offer many specific hints on strains and doses to rely on. Once again, prohibition is slowing down clinical research on cannabis, leaving most of MS patients on their own when it comes to experimenting with strains, devices, or doses. Not to mention when it comes to obtaining good quality medical cannabis at reasonable prices for a daily use. This shouldn’t prevent patients from conducting their own research, experiments, and eventually cultivations.

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Royal Queen Seeds does not condone, advocate or promote licit or illicit drug use. Royal Queen Seeds Cannot be held responsible for material from references on our pages or on pages to which we provide links, which condone, advocate or promote licit or illicit drug use or illegal activities. Please consult your Doctor/Health care Practitioner before using any products/methods listed, referenced or linked to on this website.

With continual advances in the field of medicine and pharmacology, the recent trend seems to be in favor of the use of medical marijuana as one method to decrease pain and muscle spasms experienced by people suffering from multiple sclerosis

What Are The Cannabis Shakes And Why Do They Happen?

Ever started shaking uncontrollably after smoking a large amount of weed? Well, you’re not alone. The “cannabis shakes” have numerous causes and are most likely nothing to worry about.

Contents:

Breaking down the cannabis shakes: what they are, why they happen, and how to deal with them.

So, you’re relaxing, enjoying a smoking session with friends, when suddenly your leg starts to twitch, then your shoulder, and your eyelid. You start to freak out and the tremors get worse. Panicked, you wonder what’s happening to you. Don’t worry, it’s probably just the cannabis shakes (and you should be fine in a few minutes).

What are the cannabis shakes?

“The shakes” are involuntary muscle twitches and tremors. This phenomenon can sometimes occur after consuming weed. If you typically associate the shakes with alcohol withdrawal or more serious health conditions, don’t stress. When it comes to cannabis, the shakes are generally no big deal.

Cannabis has a very good safety profile [1] . While no formal studies have been conducted on cannabis shakes, a plethora of anecdotal reports tell us they’re relatively common and typically harmless. Like other symptoms of consuming too much weed, such as increased heart rate, sweating, and nausea, they tend to subside as quickly as they began.

Why do you shake after smoking cannabis?

So, what causes the cannabis shakes? Are they just a side effect of getting too high for your own good? There are actually a variety of factors that could contribute to the shakes, including:

• Cold environment
• Over-stimulation
• Anxiety
• Too much THC

Let’s break it down:

Cold environment

You might be shaking or shivering because you’re cold. Cannabis actually lowers your body temperature [2] —an effect known as “THC-induced hypothermia”. Before you start imagining yourself freezing to death as your couch morphs into a snow-covered mountain, take a beat. THC-induced hypothermia only causes a slight drop in basal body temperature. You might shiver and shake what your mama gave you, but it isn’t dangerous or life-threatening.

Over-stimulation

In a lot of places, it’s common to roll a little tobacco into your joint. Nicotine is a stimulant: it excites the nervous system and boosts dopamine levels. While this boost is the reason a lot of people like to add a pinch of tobacco to their weed, it can cause twitching and anxiety in higher doses. If you’ve been enjoying this combo and find yourself with a case of the shakes, the problem could actually be the tobacco, not the cannabis. Likewise, if you’ve been drinking a lot of coffee, tea, or soda, caffeine could be contributing to your tremors.

Anxiety

It’s well-known that weed can cause acute anxiety and paranoia, and some people are more susceptible to it than others. If you’re one of those people, or if you just caught a bad break, nervousness could be at the root of your shakes. Of course, your body acting in ways that feel out of your control can amplify anxiety. If you get the shakes, try not to panic. Instead, keep calm and carry on.

Too much THC

To go back to the original question: Are the shakes just a side effect of getting way too high? Often, the answer is yes. The cannabis shakes are commonly due to a mild THC overdose. Don’t let the word “overdose” freak you out too much, especially if you’re young and healthy. We’ve all flown too close to the sun at some point, but nobody has died from overdosing on cannabis alone [3] . Freaked out and embarrassed yourself in front of all your friends? That’s another story.

What can you do if you get the cannabis shakes?

To recap, the cannabis shakes are not life-threatening, but they can leave you feeling alarmed and uncomfortable. While time is a key factor, waiting for them to subside on their own isn’t your only option. Here are some quick harm-reduction tips to help combat the shakes:

• Adjust your environment
• Move around, distract yourself, breathe
• Stay away from stimulants
• Consider switching strains
• Try some CBD

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Adjust your environment

Regardless of the precise cause of your shakes, sitting there and panicking or focusing on how uncomfortable you feel won’t help. Instead, take control of the things you can.

Environment plays a huge role in our emotional state, especially when psychoactive substances are involved. Feeling comfortable, warm, and safe is key. That could mean going to a different room or a more relaxing place. It could mean leaving an overwhelming social situation. It could be as simple as adjusting the lighting and putting on your favourite tunes. And, if your shakes are actually shivers, crank the heat. Cosy blankets are a chilly stoner’s best friend.

Move around, distract yourself, breathe

If you feel yourself starting to panic, switch gears from straight up shaking to shaking it off. Get up and move around. Distract yourself with a simple task, even if it’s counting steps. Take slow, deep breaths to calm down, or try some other strategies to calm anxiety. Movement and breathing help you recenter yourself in your body and focus on something other than your anxiety. Walking or moving around also gets you to stretch and warm up your tense, twitching muscles.

Stay away from stimulants

If you’ve been rolling your joints with tobacco or drinking caffeine, it’s time to try less-stimulating alternatives. Switch to non-caffeinated beverages and limit the amount of tobacco in your joints. If using pure cannabis feels too basic, spice it up with something different. A number of herbs make great tobacco alternatives. Just avoid anything with strong stimulant properties. You don’t want to end up back where you started, with the shakes (version 2.0).

Switch strains

A few of the factors that cause the shakes—anxiety, over-stimulation, too much THC—could boil down to the strain you’re smoking. There are hundreds of cannabis strains out there, each with its own unique mix of properties. In general, sativa-dominant strains tend to be more stimulating (and possibly anxiety-inducing) than indica-dominant strains.

Many people love the boost they get from a good sativa. But, if you’re prone to anxiety or paranoia, look for indica strains that tend towards relaxation. Of course, the indica/sativa split isn’t a hard rule. The best choice is an informed one, so don’t be afraid to check strain reviews from other users or ask your budtender for a recommendation.

Try some CBD

It’s also possible that the THC content of your strain is simply too high. Instead, look for a strain that’s high in CBD (cannabidiol). CBD isn’t psychoactive, and scientific studies [4] have found that it mitigates some of the side-effects of THC. Research also suggests it has potential as an anxiolytic, meaning it may help to combat anxiety. Depending on your preference, choose a strain with a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD, or one that’s higher in CBD and lower in THC. These popular high-CBD strains are an excellent starting point.

What if it’s too late to switch strains and you’re already high? If you find yourself caught in the midst of those twitches and tremors, CBD could still help. You probably don’t want to add more THC to your system, so choose CBD oil or isolates with quick delivery mechanisms. A few drops of high-quality CBD oil or tincture under the tongue is your best bet.

How long do the cannabis shakes last?

Luckily, the cannabis shakes usually don’t last too long. Of course, this depends on a few factors, including the amount of cannabis you took (and how you took it). If you vaped, smoked a joint or indulged in one too many bong rips, you should feel better within 15–20 minutes. If you overdid it on the edibles, you might be in for a longer haul.

If you experience truly alarming symptoms, have underlying health conditions, or suspect something more is going on, check with your doctor or a cannabis-informed healthcare provider. Beyond that, a few key adjustments and a little bit of patience (or CBD) should do the trick.

Twitches and tremors after smoking weed are generally harmless. Here's what causes the cannabis shakes and how to combat them. ]]>