Cannabidiol has caught medical researchers’ attention for a diverse range of potential treatments. One of the most exciting areas is helping patients with movement disorders such as dystonia. There have been some anecdotal reports of people experiencing significant improvement after using CBD and other cannabis products. However, you may wonder what the research says.
What Is It?
Dystonia is a condition characterized by involuntary contractions that cause repetitive or twisting movements. The symptoms are slow repetitive movements, cramps and/or abnormal posture.
It can be caused by issues with the basal ganglia. These can be caused by trauma, stroke and infections. Central nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease can also contribute.
Sometimes it is confused with a closely related condition called dyskinesia if the patient has Parkinson’s disease. The difference is that dystonia is muscle stiffening caused by PD, while dyskinesia is a type of muscle twisting caused by some PD medications.
What Are the Treatments?
Traditionally, the treatments have included drugs, injections and physical therapy. Many patients want to find a more natural alternative that is better tolerated. The potential for CBD to help has grabbed the attention of some doctors and researchers working in this field.
Can CBD Help?
Research such as a 2015 study exploring the impact of cannabis has been promising. That research determined that cannabis could help with movement issues such as dystonia, dyskinesia and tics. It also found evidence that there is a direct benefit of cannabis on the conditions, not just treatment for anxiety and pain.
Another study published in 2018 came to similar results. It found that there may be a protective role that CBD can play in treating and even preventing some movement disorders. However, it also noted that the current research is too scarce at the moment.
Overall, it appears that CBD is not a cure but can be a treatment for neuropathic pain and movement difficulties. This is currently very promising. However, there are some studies (especially for other movement disorders such as PD) that paint a less optimistic picture. There is a clear need for more data.
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