Spasticity is a feature of altered skeletal muscle performance with a combination of paralysis, increased tendon reflex activity and hypertonia. It is also colloquially referred to as an unusual “tightness”, stiffness, or “pull” of muscles.
Clinically, spasticity results from the loss of inhibition of motor neurons, causing excessive muscle contraction. This ultimately leads to an hyperreflexia, an exaggerated deep tendon reflex. Spasticity is often treated with the drug baclofen, which acts as an agonist at GABA receptors, which are inhibitory and contribute to its efficacy as an antispasticity agent.
Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of cerebral palsy, which is group of permanent movement problems that do not get worse over time. GABA’s inhibitory actions contribute to GABA’s efficacy as an anti-spasticity agent.
Medical Marijuana Efficacy
A review by Shaheen Lakhan, PhD, and Marie Rowland, PhD, of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation in Los Angeles, found that five of six published studies they analyzed reported a reduction in spasticity and an improvement in mobility in MS patients treated with marijuana extracts.
“We found evidence that combined THC and CBD extracts may provide therapeutic benefit for MS spasticity symptoms,” Lakhan said in a news release.
Official Research Reports
Cannabis derivatives therapy for a seronegative stiff-person syndrome: a case report. (Vicente-Valor MI, Garcia-Llopis P, Mejia Andujar L, Antonino de la Camara G, García del Busto N, Lopez Tinoco MJ, Quintana Vergara B, Peiro Vilaplana C,Dominguez Moran JA, Sánchez Alcaraz A, 2012)
Low dose treatment with the synthetic cannabinoid Nabilone significantly reduces spasticity-related pain : A double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over trial. (Wissel J, Haydn T, Müller J, Brenneis C, Berger T, Poewe W, Schelosky LD, 2006)
Cannabis-based medicinal extract (Sativex) produced significant improvements in a subjective measure of spasticity which were maintained on long-term treatment with no evidence of tolerance. (Robson P, Wade D, Makela P, House H, Bateman C, 2005)
The effect of orally and rectally administered delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on spasticity: a pilot study with 2 patients. (Brenneisen R, Egli A, Elsohly MA, Henn V, Spiess Y, 1996)
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol shows antispastic and analgesic effects in a single case double-blind trial. (Maurer M, Henn V, Dittrich A, Hofmann A, 1990)
Treatment of human spasticity with delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol. (Petro DJ, Ellenberger C Jr, 1981)
Marihuana as a therapeutic agent for muscle spasm or spasticity. (Petro DJ, 1980)
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