There are hundreds of muscles in the human body, and experiencing an annoying or even painful spasm or cramp is something to which we can all relate. For people living with certain medical conditions, however, muscle spasms are a persistent part of everyday life. Here’s how cannabis comes in.
Understanding a Muscle Cramp
According to the Mayo Clinic, a cramp is an involuntary, temporary, and often painful muscle contraction. The sensation comes on rapidly and renders the affected muscle temporarily unusable. In most cases, these cramps resolve themselves in a few minutes. They’re known as acute muscle spasms, and they may be triggered by a few causes:
- Magnesium or potassium deficiencies
- Poor circulation
Severe or persistent muscle spasms are different. Severe muscle spasms are usually related to nerve stress or damage, which could be the result of pinched nerves, hernias, or spinal cord injuries. Persistent muscle spasms, which occur daily or close to daily, are often the result of a serious medical condition or possibly vascular, hormonal, and metabolic issues. This kind of painful daily spasm can be a symptom of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Lou Gehrig’s disease, among other disorders.
Can Cannabis Help?
Treatment for the painful spasms caused by disorders like MS varies. Recommendations may include muscle relaxers, some kind of pain reliever, or an anti-inflammatory medication. But more and more people are turning to cannabis. In 2018, a report compiled by the National Academy of Sciences issued a statement as part of a larger cannabis report regarding the efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for muscle spasms caused by MS. It’s a position based on substantiated evidence compiled in the review, which clarified that both oral and inhaled cannabis were effective.
There is further evidence that cannabis can help relieve muscles spasms, including a study conducted at the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at UC San Diego.
As legal medical cannabis markets continue their slow but steady march across the nation, so does our position for learning more about this plant and its potential for treating all kinds of health conditions. Research to date is encouraging, but it’s just the beginning. If you’re considering treating muscle spasms or cramps with cannabis, be ready to explore different products and ingestion methods. As always, we recommend speaking with an experienced, knowledgeable budtender and explaining the symptoms you’re hoping to alleviate.