Medical Cannabis and Muscle Spasms

A spasm is a sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle. Most commonly, it is a muscle cramp which is accompanied by a sudden burst of pain. A muscle cramp is usually harmless and ceases after a few minutes, but the experience can be uncomfortable. Spasms in skeletal muscles are the most typical, and they are usually the result of poor hydration or electrolyte issues. 

There are other causes of involuntary muscle contractions, and some of these may cause a health problem. There are a variety of causes of muscle spasms, and each depends upon predisposing factors, the part of the body involved, and the environment that the body is in.

Spasms may occur when a muscle is overused, tired, previously injured, or strained. The spasm may occur if the muscle has been overstretched or if it has been held in the same position for a prolonged period of time. In effect, the muscle cell runs out of energy and fluid and becomes hyperexcitable, resulting in a forceful contraction. This spasm may involve part of a muscle, the whole muscle, or even adjacent muscles.

Why Treat Muscle Spasms With Medical Cannabis?

In a 2012 study, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine discovered that patients that consumed cannabis experienced a one-third decrease in spasticity, compared with participants given a placebo. But even more revealing was that cannabis reduced the patients’ perception of pain by 50 percent. Putting it in plain terms, marijuana may help half of the patients suffering from muscle spasms.

Marijuana works by reducing inflammation, which causes muscle spasms. A study by the University of South Carolina found that the immune system’s response, such as to a muscle injury, is reduced and the systems inflammatory proteins are deactivated by psychoactive THC, a cannabinoid.

As more pharmaceutical companies become involved in producing and distributing medical marijuana, it’s expected more research will be conducted about how and why medical cannabis affects chronic muscle spasms caused by issues unrelated to diseases like MS, such as muscle injuries.

Marijuana’s proven efficacy for treating inflammation and muscle spasms makes it a viable and ideal treatment option for patients, which is why so many states have approved its use as a treatment option.