Huntington Disease and Medical Cannabis Treatment
The progressive brain disorder of Huntington disease (HD), which is inherited by a defective gene, perpetuates emotional disorders, loss of cognition, and uncontrolled movements, reports the Genetics Home Reference cited by the U.S. Library of Medicine. The disease undeniably reduces life quality, with sufferers experiencing depression, involuntary muscle jerks, and problems making decisions.
Huntington disease doesn’t discriminate, striking at any age. While adult-onset sometimes occurs within an individual’s thirty or forties, “juvenile Huntington disease tends to progress more quickly than the adult-onset form; affected individuals usually live 10 to 15 years after signs and symptoms appear,” according to the library report.
Huntington Disease News reports the absolute benefits of medical cannabis for those who suffer from the brain disorder specifically in New York State, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed legislation adding the disease to the list of medical cannabis qualifying conditions including HIV/AIDS and cancer, both of which are treated with plant properties. The passage of legislation proves Huntington disease is one chronic condition that is treated with medical cannabis among dozens of other disorders.
Huntington Disease Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
The inherited condition caused by a defective gene has several disturbing symptoms reported by the U.S. National Institute of Health Genetic and Rare Disease (GARD) Information Center. Early stages of Huntington disease bring on clumsiness, arability, paranoia, depression, and anxiety. Middle stage symptoms of the condition include weight loss, speech impairments, walking off-balance, and stubbornness. Lastly, late-stage signs include rigidity, difficulty swallowing, severe weight loss, and inability to speak or walk.
Treatments for Huntington are limited for the condition that has no cure, reports GARD, noting “the current goal of treatment is to slow down the course of the disease and help affected people function for as long and as comfortably as possible.”
The Impact of Cannabinoids on Huntington Disease
Revolutionary Clinics, a high-profile Massachusetts’s medical cannabis dispensary, reports CBD and THC’s undeniable benefits on Huntington Disease.
“Preliminary research indicates that not only does cannabis provide relief from symptoms, but may slow down the progression of the disease,” according to the clinic. “CBD has been shown to have neuroprotective properties, which can resist the deterioration of neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Recently an exciting study shows that THCA, a non-psychoactive acidic precursor to THC, can reduce inflammation and also serve as a neuroprotective.”
As noted by GARD, keeping Huntington disease treatment comfortable is critical. And Revolutionary Clinic concurs. “The side effects of the pharmaceuticals used to treat HD can range from moderate to severe,” according to the Massachusetts’s medical cannabis dispensary. “Since larger dosages are required as the disease inevitably progresses, those negative effects tend to add to the patient’s suffering. Effectively, there’s little risk for trying cannabis to control the symptoms of HD. Marijuana has no contraindications with other medications, and its side effects are comparatively mild.”
Continued research, legislation, and personal testimony will likely conclude medical cannabis can treat symptoms of Huntington disease, alleviating the pain and discomfort caused by the rare disease.