Nowadays, cerebral palsy is the most common motor illness among children. It is characterized by impairment or loss of muscle coordination and body movement. According to the official statistics, this incurable condition affects three live births out of every thousand in the United States. Though patients with this disease have no hope for curing, medical cannabis was found by scientists to be able to ease some symptoms of cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal brain development in kids before birth. Children suffering from this debilitating condition experience such symptoms as muscle spasms, hyperactive reflexes, stuttering, and involuntary movements. A few cannabis-related studies have already discovered that marijuana may be helpful in treating the severe symptoms of cerebral palsy, but this condition is still not added to the qualifying lists of any state where medical cannabis is legal.
Though the conducted studies were limited, there has been evidence to illustrate how cannabis can help patients with cerebral palsy.
In 2011, a group of American scientists investigated the frequencies of pain in 83 people suffering from cerebral palsy and discovered that 63% of participants experienced chronic pain almost every day. During the study, the participants reported the effect of different pain-relief medications, and cannabis appeared to provide the same strong effect as the most effective pharmaceutical drugs. However, only 5% of patients surveyed reported ever using marijuana for pain.
In a case study, Curtis Kile, a cerebral palsy patient and a single parent of two children, treated his severe muscle spasms with medical marijuana. During the treatment, Kile smoked cannabis to ease his spasticity. It allowed the patient to come back to his normal life and forget about days when he was stuck in his wheelchair.
Terri Argast is also a cerebral palsy patient who found relief in medical marijuana, which reduced her muscle stiffness and pain. Previously, Argast took several pharmaceutical drugs, but they had many side effects. After choosing marijuana, her struggle with cerebral palsy became easier. She felt less tension, her manner of walking became different, and Argast really began to think that she did not need pharmaceutical drugs anymore.
Unfortunately, the conducted investigation and the anecdotal evidence of cannabis effect on cerebral palsy patients are not enough for doctors to recommend cannabis for patients suffering from this disease. Cannabis still has a Schedule I status, and only licensed physicians in certain states can recommend cannabis to patients. Moreover, further open studies on this issue are necessary, as medical marijuana has a great potential to become an effective alternative form of medication for patients with cerebral palsy.