Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder characterized by abnormal muscle tension and involuntary, painful muscle contractions. It is the third most common movement disorder after Parkinson’s disease and tremor, affecting more than 300,000 people in North America.
A small number of case reports and preclinical studies  indicate that cannabinoids possess anti-dystonic activity.
A case study published in The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management reported improved symptoms of dystonia after inhaling cannabis in a 42-year-old chronic pain patient. Investigators reported that subject’s subjective pain score fell from 9 to zero (on a zero-to-10 visual analog scale) following cannabis inhalation, and that the subject did not require any additional analgesic medication for the following 48 hours. “No other treatment intervention to date had resulted in such dramatic overall improvement in [the patient’s] condition,” investigators concluded. 
A second case study appeared in the journal Movement Disorders reporting “significant clinical improvement” following cannabis inhalation in a single 25-year-old patient with generalized dystonia due to Wilson’s disease. 
A German research team at the Hannover Medical School reported successful treatment of musician’s dystonia in a 38-year-old professional pianist following administration of 5 mg of THC in a placebo-controlled single-dose trial.  Investigators reported “clear improvement of motor control” in the subject’s affected hand, and noted, “[Two] hours after THC intake, the patient was able to play technically demanding literature, which had not been possible before treatment.” Prior to cannabinoid treatment, the subject had been unresponsive to standard medications and was no longer performing publicly. “The results provide evidence that … THC intake … significantly improves [symptoms of] … focal dystonia,” investigators concluded.
A 2002 randomized, placebo-controlled study investigating the use of the synthetic oral cannabinoid naboline (Cesamet) in 15 patients afflicted with generalized and segmental primary dystonia did not show a significant reduction in dystonic symptoms.  By contrast, a case report finds that the daily administration of dronabinol was associated with decreased symptoms of paroxysmal dystonia. 
A 2015 literature review opines that cannabis products likely possess a “promising role” for treating various movement disorders, including dystonia. Dystonia Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder characterized by abnormal muscle tension and involuntary, painful muscle contractions. It is the third most common movement disorder after
Weeding Through the Hype
In recent months, DMRF Canada has received an increasing number of inquiries from dystonia patients about the efficacy of medical marijuana for the treatment of dystonia and other movement disorders. The research in this area is still inconclusive, with more studies on the way. Our Spring 2018 Newsletter included an article about what we now so far. Please find a list of sources below:
- Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (U.S.A)
- Dystonia on Reddit
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DMRF Canada provides general information related to dystonia. It is not intended to provide instruction and you should not rely on this information to determine diagnosis, prognosis or a course of treatment. It should not be used in place of a professional consultation with a movement disorder specialist.
DMRF Canada is not responsible for the consequences of your decisions resulting from the use of this information, including, but not limited to, your choosing to seek or not to seek professional medical care, or from choosing or not choosing specific treatment based on the information published herein. You should not disregard the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider because of any information you receive from DMRF Canada or any other third party source. If you have any health care questions, please consult your medical practitioner.Weeding Through the Hype In recent months, DMRF Canada has received an increasing number of inquiries from dystonia patients about the efficacy of medical marijuana for the treatment of dystonia ]]>