Dystonia is a movement disorder in which muscles contract involuntarily and uncontrollably in repetitive and twisting motions. This disorder can affect a single muscle, a muscle group of the entire body. Spasms range from mild to severe and they can even be painful and affect the performance of everyday tasks. Approximately one percent of the population suffers from dystonia, and women are more prone to it than men. There is no cure for dystonia, but it can sometimes be managed through medications or surgery.
Depending on the location and the severity of the muscle spasm, dystonia shows itself in different ways. Symptoms may also progress through varying stages. Early-stage symptoms include:
- Foot cramping
- A limp leg
- Pulling of the neck involuntarily
- Difficulties with speech
Symptoms may also show during a certain action such as during handwriting or could worsen with stress, fatigue and anxiety. Dystonia symptoms oftentimes become more noticeable over a period of time.
The cause of dystonia is not known, but it likely includes altered communication between nerves and cells in many regions of the brain. Some forms of dystonia can also be inherited.
What Areas of the Body Does It Affect?
- Neck (cervical dystonia): This causes your head to pull back or forward or twist or turn side to side. These movements can be painful.
- Vocal cords or voice box (spasmodic dystonia): This form of dystonia may cause you to have a tight or whispering voice.
- Eyelids: Eyelids blink rapidly and involuntarily spasm, making it difficult to see. While this movement isn’t painful, it can increase in bright light, while under stress or while you are interacting with people.
- Jaw or tongue (oromandibular dystonia): Slurred speech, drooling, difficulty chewing, or swallowing are all present when this area of the body is affected.
- Hand and forearm: Repetitive activities such as writing or playing a musical instrument may trigger dystonia for some people.
Medical Marijuana and Dystonia
Medical marijuana has been proven to improve the symptoms of dystonia, as it contains two main cannabinoids that activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Both THC and CBD help regulate the inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters that are necessary to reduce any muscle tremors and spasticity that dystonia sufferers may experience. Medical cannabis has also been proven to help eliminate pain that stems from dystonia and help muscles unclench so one can move. The antispasmodic properties in medical marijuana are also helpful in counteracting the movements of dystonia.
How Greenhouse Can Help
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