Overview of Spasmodic Torticollo (cervical dystonia)

Cervical dystonia, also known as spasmodic torticollis, is a rare neurological disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions in the neck that cause abnormal movements and postures of the neck and head. In some cases, these abnormal contractions may be sustained or continuous; in others, they may be present as spasms that can resemble tremor. The severity of cervical dystonia can vary, but the disorder can cause significant pain and discomfort as well as difficulty due to the abnormal postures. Cervical dystonia typically begins in middle age, and rarely begins in adolescence and young adulthood. The cause of cervical dystonia is unknown, although a genetic susceptibility is thought to underlie some cases. If cervical dystonia begins in infancy or early childhood, secondary causes should be investigated. 
Cervical dystonia is the most common form of focal dystonia that presents in an office setting. Dystonia is generally characterized by involuntary muscle contractions that force the body into abnormal, sometimes painful, movements and positions (postures). Cervical dystonia is a form of dystonia that involves the neck area. Symptoms may vary among affected individuals, including the age at onset, intensity, presence of pain, and degree of disability.

Findings: Effects of Cannabis on Spasmodic Torticollo (cervical dystonia)

The condition is so severe that voluntary movements can cause it to worsen. Possible causes of dystonia are lead and carbon monoxide poisoning, genetic inheritance, physical trauma (especially to the brain), infections, and stroke. It may even be caused by pharmaceutical drugs, particularly neuroleptics, a type of psychiatric medication commonly used to treat schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.

Types of dystonias depend on the regions of the body they affect. Because so much of the disease entails muscle spasms and involuntary contractions, cannabidiol treatment, or medical marijuana, can be incredibly beneficial for treating involuntary muscle spasms. There has been research to support CBD treatment as particularly beneficial for reducing dystonic movement disorders.

Research has found that medical cannabis for dystonia does improve symptoms. Cannabis contains two main cannabinoids that activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors of your endocannabinoid system. These are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and they help regulate the inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters necessary to diminish muscle tremors and spasticity.

A study of Sativex, or cannabis medication, in people who had spasticity symptoms due to MS revealed that after four weeks of weed treatment, the spasms traditional efforts didn't work on were significantly reduced. 

The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management published a 2002 case study that reported improved dystonia symptoms in a 42-year-old chronic pain patient. Her subjective pain score, which was at a nine, fell to zero after she inhaled the cannabis smoke. She also needed no additional analgesic drugs for the next 48 hours. Researchers said no other types of treatment provided her with significant relief in her condition.

What Symptoms of Dystonia Can Marijuana Treat?

Contorting muscles and repetitive spasms not only characterize dystonia, but they’re also often accompanied by neuropathic pain. The pain can target any extremity, including your hands. Disabling and painful dystonias can occur in your shoulder, neck and facial areas, and prevent you from being able to speak, move or walk if left untreated.

Now, although cannabis for dystonia can't cure the condition or reverse any side effects, it's been said that it can, in many cases, eliminate your pain and cause your muscles to unclench and relax to the point where you're not severely disabled anymore and may be able to function and move normally.

CBD does seem to help relieve some muscle spasming associated with dystonia but doesn't appear to help as much as it does when it's combined with high levels of THC. In treatments of CBD without THC, patients don't seem to get the relief from residual pain.

Marijuana for dystonia helps ease symptoms of severe pain, nausea and appetite loss due to its antiemetic, analgesic and appetite-stimulating properties. It also has antispasmodic properties that help counteract the involuntary movements that go along with dystonia.

Resources

WE MOVE (Worldwide Education and Awareness for Movement Disorders) 
5731 Mosholu Avenue
Bronx, NY 10471
USA
Tel: (347)843-6132
Fax: (718)601-5112
Email: wemove@wemove.org
Internet: http://www.wemove.org

Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
1 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2810 East Wacker Drive
Suite 2810
Chicago, IL 60601-1905
United States
Tel: (312)755-0198
Fax: (312)803-0138
Tel: (800)377-3978
Email: dystonia@dystonia-foundation.org
Internet: http://www.dystonia-foundation.org

National Spasmodic Torticollis Association
9920 Talbert Avenue
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Tel: (714)378-9837
Fax: (714)378-9830
Tel: (800)487-8385
Email: NSTAmail@aol.com
Internet: http://www.torticollis.org

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
TDD: (301)468-5981
Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

Dystonia Society
89 Albert Embankment, 2nd Floor
Vauxhall
London, SE1 7TP
United Kingdom
Tel: 08454586211
Fax: 08454586311
Tel: 08454586322
Email: angie@dystonia.org.uk
Internet: http://www.dystonia.org.uk

Dystonia Europe
Square de Meeus 37 - 4th Floor
Brussels, 1000
Belgium
Tel: 447736625450
Email: sec@dystonia-europe.org
Internet: http://www.dystonia-europe.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

Spasmodic Torticollis ST/Dystonia, Inc.
PO Box 28
Mukwonago, WI 53149
Tel: (262)560-9534
Fax: (262)560-9535
Tel: (888)445-4588
Email: info@spasmodictorticollis.org
Internet: http://www.spasmodictorticollis.org

American Dystonia Society
17 Suffolk Lane
Suite 1
Princeton Junction, NJ 08550
Tel: (310)237-5478
Fax: (609)275-5663
Email: info@dystonia.us
Internet: http://www.dystonia.us

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