Treating Cerebral Palsy with Marijuana

Medical marijuana has recently become a hot-button issue in America. Many people tout the medical benefits of marijuana and CBD oil with regard to cerebral palsy and/or seizures, but is it right for my child?

While there are medications, surgeries, and therapies aimed at helping individuals with cerebral palsy gain more control over their muscles, they may still face challenges with regard to seizures, mood, and more.

Some recent studies are now extolling the benefits of treating cerebral palsy with marijuana or cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a non-psychoactive constituent of marijuana.


Medical Marijuana

Marijuana was once seen as a recreational drug thought to have no medical benefits, but several recent studies on the plant have challenged this perception.

While there is still much controversy regarding whether or not the potential medical benefits outweigh any potential health risks, many families are desperate for any relief — especially when it comes to a child suffering from frequent seizures.

Although many states have recently legalized medical marijuana, it is still illegal to possess the plant (or any derivative) in several states. Even in states which do allow medicinal use, it’s only allowed with a doctor’s recommendation, and is still technically illegal to posses under federal law.

Marijuana is thought to have two main active compounds with medicinal properties: THC and CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound most-commonly associated with “getting high,” while cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound generally associated with downregulation and anti-anxiety.

Because THC can impair cognitive function, it is generally not recommended for use on children except in rare circumstances. On the other hand, children with cerebral palsy may benefit from CBD oil in a number of ways.

While many families have an understandable fear of potential legal consequences, in many cases, their number one concern is the health and well-being of their child. If you have questions or are considering this treatment option, speak to your child’s doctor.


CBD and Cerebral Palsy Symptoms

CBD Used to Combat Seizures

Between 35-50 percent of children with cerebral palsy develop seizure disorders. Recent studies have shown that CBD oil can dramatically reduce the number of seizures in some patients due to its anti-epileptic properties, and there have been several anecdotal reports from families who have had success with this form of treatment.

Treating Spasticity with CBD

CBD is a phytochemical that is found in higher quantities in some cannabis strains. That being said, it can be isolated and expressed in oil, which can be found in almost all marijuana dispensaries across the country. CBD is known as a muscle relaxant, mood enhancer, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) booster, and is thought to increases levels of chemicals that inhibit the over-expression of nerve impulses in the brain and body. CBD may therefore be useful for individuals with spastic cerebral palsy who may have a problem with stiff muscles and spastic movements.

CBD for Chronic Pain Relief

CBD oil can also be helpful in individuals with cerebral palsy who may be suffering from chronic muscle and joint pain due to not being able to fully extend their limbs. CBD oil has been shown to have pain-relieving properties by boosting levels of serotonin, which is a chemical responsible for the perception of pain and tempering down of inflammation.

CBD oil may also address issues such as insomnia or sleep disturbances (due to promoting the release of melatonin), mood or depression, difficulty with speech, and even constipation.

As with any type of medical treatment, you should always speak to your child’s doctor about the potential risks and benefits. Marijuana may show promise, but it is not always recommended unless other treatment options are ineffective or insufficient — especially when it comes to young children.

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