Seizures are neurological events. Spasms are muscular incidents. Sometimes, they are connected, but muscle spasms are generally associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, cardiac events, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and other disabling conditions. Medical marijuana continues to help patients with occasional problems from muscular spasm pain to those with chronic and debilitating problems.
There are three types of muscle tissue: cardiac, smooth, and skeletal.
- Cardiac muscle cells are in the walls of the heart, appear furrowed or striated, and operate involuntarily without nervous or hormonal stimulation.
- Smooth muscle fibers are in walls of hollow visceral organs like your digestive, reproductive, and urinary tracts. Smooth muscles are not striated or voluntary.
- Skeletal muscle fibers account for 40% of your body weight. They are striated and attached to the skeleton and under voluntary control. You can voluntarily control skeletal muscle by sending neurological signals, for example, to lift or flex.
Muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary, and often unexplained contractions of one or more of your muscles. They cause mild to severe pain, and while generally harmless, muscle cramps can make reduce your quality of life. Technically, they differ from seizures although they can occur simultaneously.
Some spasms occur following intense exercise, heavy physical labor, or in hot humid weather. These spasms end to be short-lived and are treated with heat, cold, massage, hydration, and home remedies.
But, those related to progressive, chronic, and degrading physical conditions can disable and debilitate with life-changing effects. In many of these situations, the repeatedly tightening muscles will shorten the muscles and cause deformities. This aggravates existing conditions and triggers others. For example, when tightened leg muscles create a limp, that stresses the spine leasing to disc issues and pain.
Treatments for muscle spasms
If stretch, hydrating, heating pads, or ice packs don’t work, most people move on to over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Aleve).
Flexeril and cyclobenzaprine are commonly used muscle relaxants, but Drugs.com lists over 20 options with side-effects and user reviews. And, most medical professionals are reluctant to prescribe relaxants as a long-term solution because of their sedating and possible addictive effects.
Even when prescribed, they are recommended as part of a therapeutic regimen including physical therapy, diet, and lifestyle changes.
Alternative treatments for muscle spasms
Chiropractic care, acupuncture, yoga, and tai chi are all practical therapeutic options. Naturalists suggest chamomile, cayenne pepper, cherry juice, clove oil, blackstrap molasses, and more.
Nutritionists recommend balancing potassium and magnesium intake, promoting adequate hydration and electrolytes, and supplementing with foods rich in Vitamin-D.
However, as a symptom or result of a chronic medical condition, spasms require consistent and monitored care.
How medical marijuana treats muscle spasms
WebMD.com says, “Medical marijuana may help calm your spasms and let you move your arms and legs more freely.” In addition, it may reduce the attendant stress and depression to take the edge off daily physical problems.
Marijuana is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. The cannabinoids released by cannabis affect the endocannabinoid system that runs throughout the body’s tissues, nerves, and organs. They provoke a neuro-chemical balance where there was none.
That balance restores the neurological flow that carries messages to and from the brain. It can mask pain, calm contraction, and distract the brain from related concerns. So, while cannabis topicals might benefit the occasional leg or back spasm, patients may do better with edibles or smoking when spasms are a symptom deteriorating conditions.
Cannabis has two key elements, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). The THC produces the legendary psychoactive high, and the CBD produces the muscular and neurological sedation. So, medical marijuana patients seeking to reduce or relieve muscle spasms should opt for strains with a measurable CBD presence.
Best strains for treating muscle spasms
- AK-47 is an award-winning Sativa-dominant hybrid with a potent 18-25% THC and up to 2% CBD. It’s not for first-time smokers because it packs a euphoric punch leaving users couch locked. It relieves stress and tension but risks paranoia with overuse.
- Alien Bubbais an Indica with 15-20% THC content. It produces soothing effects with a pleasant smoking experience. It’s an evening experience because of the cloudy and sedating effect it produces.
- Amnesia Haze is a strain you’ll remember. It’s a Sativa-dominant hybrid with 20-25% THC content. It offers a quick focus and acute awareness of surroundings. Its euphoric effects will distract from anxiety and fear.
- Blue Dream continues to top medical marijuana lists. A Sativa-dominant hybrid, it holds 15-25% THC for brain-focused feeling with full-body relaxation.
- Dragon’s Breath is a Sativa- dominant blend with a super happy, euphoric, and fully relaxing hit.
- Grapefruit Kush leaves users Sativa sleepy with a temptation to stretch limbs and muscles. It makes it a favorite among regular users without a taste for adventure.
- KC-36is an Indica-dominant hybrid. It offers a fast, powerful body high, happy and fully relaxed. It’s good for comfort and peace, enough to distract users from daily stress and pain.
- Kali Mist is a Sativa-dominant hybrid delivering a clear mind and floating cerebral high that lets you work throughout the day.
- Lemon Skunk is a Sativa-dominant that leads to euphoric relaxation, enough to forget or set aside the pain.
- Super Sour Diesel produces a strong head high good for daytime use because it will help you stay awake with euphoria, happiness, and relaxation.
Medical marijuana for treating muscle spasms
Everyone occasionally experiences muscle spasms from too much work or muscular strain. It might come from dehydration or low potassium and/or magnesium. For others, spasms are a constant reminder of some muscular-skeletal dysfunction like degenerative disc disease or joint problems.
For many others, spasms are a debilitating companion to chronic disorders like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease palsies which need therapy and attention to relieve suffering and sustain some quality of life. An increasing number of such afflicted people find some relief including medical marijuana in their response.
Cannabis is not offered as a cure. Still, for some, it can reduce the pain, frequency, and intensity of spasms. And, for many of them, its main benefit lies in suppressing the sense and memory of pain as well as the related stress and depression.