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This page is excerpted and quoted from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. A Committee of over 40 experts, researchers, and reviewers in The Health and Medicine Division published a 486 page report in 2017 entitled “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.”
If you would like to access the entire report you may do so by clicking this link.
Medical Marijuana and Dystonia
“Dystonia is a disorder characterized by sustained or repetitive muscle contractions which result in abnormal fixed postures or twisting, repetitive movements (NINDS, 2016b). Idiopathic cervical dystonia is the most common cause of focal dystonia. Oral pharmacological agents are generally ineffective, with repeated injections of botulinum toxin being the most effective current therapy. The pathophysiologic mechanisms of dystonia are poorly understood, but, as in other hyperkinetic movement disorders, underactivity of the output regions of the basal ganglia may be involved. Stimulation of the cannabinoid receptors has been postulated as a way to reduce dystonia (Zadikoff et al., 2011). Anecdotal reports have suggested that cannabis may alleviate symptoms associated with dystonia (Uribe Roca et al., 2005). In a 1986 preliminary open pilot study in which five patients with dystonic movement disorders received cannabidiol, dose-related improvements were observed in all five patients (Consroe et al., 1986).
Two small trials of dronabinol and nabilone failed to demonstrate a significant benefit of the cannabinoids in improving dystonia compared with placebo. Cannabis has not been studied in the treatment of dystonia.
CONCLUSION 4-12 There is insufficient evidence to support or refute the conclusion that nabilone and dronabinol are an effective treatment for dystonia. “
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