Dystonia is a disorder where a person experiences involuntary muscle contractions that cause them to perform repetitive or twisting movements. Naturally, it can be a very debilitating condition that causes a lot of pain. However, a new study from Israel shows medical cannabis may be able to help.
The study’s results were presented at the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Society (MDS) Virtual Congress 2021 on September 17th — 22nd. The study included 23 participants, including 11 women and 12 men. A range of things caused the participant’s Dystonia (including Parkinson’s Disease), but they were all using medical cannabis as a treatment. On average, they’d used cannabis 3.3 — 4.3 times a day for 2.5 years.
In the study, researchers interviewed each participant about their experiences and recorded the results using a Likert scale. This led them to discover that the majority of participants found medical cannabis effective.
Specifically, they found medical cannabis to be 3.3 / 5 effective in managing dystonia and 3.7 / 5 effective in managing pain. It also boosted participants’ quality of life by 3.6 / 5 and helped 70% sleep better.
Aside from these findings, researchers also noticed two other interesting trends.
The first trend concerned cannabis’s psychoactive component THC. Participants who consumed cannabis with a higher THC quantity noticed more significant improvements to their dystonia than other participants.
The second trend concerned how participants consumed cannabis. Participants who consumed cannabis oil experienced more improvement in their dystonia symptoms than participants who smoked cannabis buds. Precisely 47.8% of participants used cannabis oil, 43.5% smoked cannabis bud and 8.7% used both.
Reflecting on these findings after the conference, the lead author of the study Saar Anis MD told Neurologylive this:
I can say that the results were pretty good because more than 50% of patients reported, subjectively of course, that they gained satisfactory [improvement] using cannabis on the dystonia itself.
At the conference, researchers also noted that this study isn’t the first to discover that medical cannabis helps with Dystonia. Previous research has found medical cannabis can manage Dystonia by activating cannabinoid receptors in the Basal ganglia of a person’s brain.