Medical Marijuana for Arnold Chiari Malformation
Arnold-Chiari Malformation is a condition often acquired during fetal development in which the indented bony space at the base of the skull is abnormally small or misshapen. This malformation presses on the brain and forces it into a downward position, causing pressure on the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. The pressure on the cerebellum also blocks the flow of cerebrospinal fluid that protects the brain and spinal cord.
The condition is usually caused by structural defects in the spinal cord and brain, due to either poor diet during gestation or genetic anomalies. Females are far more susceptible to all types of this malformation.
There are four types of Chiari Malformation. Type I usually develops during the development of the skull and brain. This explains why symptoms rarely make an appearance until late childhood or young adulthood. Types II and III, however, are present at birth. Type III is very rare and it involves the herniation or protrusion of the cerebellum into the spinal cord, causing severe neurological defects.
Type IV (extremely rare) is characterized by an underdeveloped or incomplete cerebellum. This iteration is often accompanied by exposed parts of the spinal cord and skull.
Some patients with Chiari’s malformation exhibit no symptoms. However, the most common symptoms in patients with the condition are numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, severe headaches, insomnia, dizziness, neck pain, poor hand coordination, vision problems, speech problems, swallowing, and an unsteady gait.
How does medical marijuana help patients with Arnold Chiari Malformation?
Medical marijuana may play a key role in lessening some of the symptoms of Arnold Chiari malformation. The healing properties attributed to cannabis are bolstered by the growing body of anecdotal evidence, animal studies, and research in this field.
In 2017, a PMB (Public Message Board) publication referenced a study on medical marijuana for the treatment of headaches associated with Arnold-Chiari Malformation.
Many patients experience relentless insomnia due to the condition, and certain cannabinoids are known to enable better sleep patterns. This subject was addressed in a study published in the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. The study revealed that 71 percent of the participants with Arnold Chiari malformation reported significant improvement in sleep after consuming medical marijuana.
Another study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology administered medical cannabis to patients with Crohn’s Disease . The participants experienced both improved sleep and appetite after the administration of marijuana, with no discernable side effects. Patients with Arnold-Chiari Malformation would in all probability, experience similar results in their sleep patterns and appetites.
How does medical marijuana treat the symptoms of Arnold Chiari Malformation?
Compounds called phytocannabinoids found in marijuana are reportedly highly effective in the treatment of chronic pain headaches and insomnia associated with Arnold Chiari Malformation.
Both THC and CBD , the two most common phytocannabinoids found in medical marijuana are known to naturally interact with the body’s innate endocannabinoid system . The application of phytocannabinoids effectively balances multiple bodily functions, including pain and sleep cycles. The cannabinoids interact with receptors found throughout the body to attenuate the inflammatory response. By addressing inflammation , the associated pain is significantly reduced.
People living with Arnold Chiari malformation also deal with insomnia , which can lead to chronic depression and anxiety . Phytocannabinoids found in medical cannabis are believed to elicit a state of calm due to their interaction with neural receptors. Reducing anxiety and depression usually produces better sleep patterns. In turn, better sleep patterns will naturally reduce feelings of anxiety and episodes of depression.
How is medical marijuana use to treat Arnold Chiari Malformation?
The two most common cannabinoids, THC (the cannabinoid found in marijuana that can be intoxicating at higher dosages) and CBD (a non-intoxicating cannabinoid) work together to protect the brain from damage. Both are also known to relieve pain, improve sleep cycles, and reduce anxiety and depression.
However, it’s important to understand that these and other cannabinoids affect each patient differently. Fortunately, cannabis products can be purchased in a wide variety of strains and formulations with varying levels of different cannabinoids.
New medical marijuana patients are advised to start with the lowest possible dosage. If the patient experiences no unwanted side effects, then the dosage can be slowly increased slowly.
Patients that seek immediate relief from headache pain are best served with cannabis products that offer a fast onset time and high bioavailability. Inhalers , vape pens , dabs , and smoking marijuana or cannabis concentrates all offer fast onset time and high bioavailability. However, patients with respiratory or circulatory issues or high blood pressure are advised to avoid smoking and vaping. These patients might be better served by using an inhaler.
Patients suffering from ongoing anxiety or depression could consider daily supplemental use of oral cannabis products. Cannabis oils and tinctures can be used sublingually (absorbed into the tissues under the tongue) or orally or added to food and beverages. Many dispensaries nationwide also offer mc. marijuana edibles such as brownies and gummies. Although the onset time is much slower, oils, tinctures, and edibles offer ease of use and accurate dosing.
Not all U.S. states with medical marijuana programs offer a medical marijuana card for Arnold Chiari malformation. However, eighteen U.S. states no longer require adults 21 and older to have a medical marijuana card to purchase marijuana and other cannabis-infused products.
Many patients still live in states where marijuana is not an option. For these patients, CBD alone might offer substantial relief. Anyone can buy CBD online without a medical marijuana card and have it delivered to their doorstep as long as it’s produced from legal hemp.
That being said, patients suffering from CTE should not be self-medicating. Treatment should be monitored by a qualified medical marijuana doctor .
Best cbd oil for chiari malformation
The Chiari Project empowers individuals who are suffering from such painful and debilitating conditions to take charge of their own life through self help educational tools so they can become more proactive in the Chiari community. Without proper self help resources, a strong sense of brain health would cease to exist. This is the reason why TCP has developed the Control Chiari movement so we can help the community improve their lifestyle and overall health. Stronger mindsets will allow integration for a healthier daily regimen.
Control Chiari ranges from conservative to surgical. Conservative treatments target neuropathic pain where they aim to reduce and prevent pain. On the other end of the spectrum, surgical treatment is typically reserved for more severe CM cases. Today, there are a wide variety of treatments that can mitigate the many symptoms of CM and decrease pain to a manageable level. Discovering the best treatment or combination of treatments, is key to quality of life improvement.
Botox Injections – CM patients who have neck pain might benefit from receiving a Botox injection in their neck for pain relief. Botox is a neurotoxin that works by blocking nerve signals that are responsible for sending pain, thereby relaxing stiff, sore, or spasming muscles.
CBD – An oil that may be taken orally, as a mixer into food or drinks, or used from a pipette, dropper, or skin paste. Unlike THC found in marijuana, CBD oil is not psychoactive, meaning users will not experience a “high”. CBD oil contains non inflammatory properties and may be helpful for those with CM. Unlike opioids and typical pain medication, medical marijuana and CBD oil shows no significant side effects in the central nervous system among people who use them.
Cognitive-based therapy – A method that helps patients identify thoughts and behaviors central to their pain. Muscle-related techniques also aim to relax the mind and body and can be administered by cognitive therapists. This form of psycho-cognitive therapy helps reduce stress surrounding the pain of CM.
Diet – Focus on a high-fiber diet for those which helps avoid straining while going to the restroom. Minimizing caffeine and alcohol intake may also help with pain management, enabling muscles to relax.
Medical Marijuana – Compared to commonly prescribed opioids, medical marijuana shows little risk for dependency. Those with CM who experience headaches and back pain may particularly benefit from medical marijuana.
Mindfulness – A method that includes breathing control, yoga, and progressive relaxation. Breathing techniques which aim to notice and control the breath may be incorporated for patients to develop a sense of autonomy and control over their experience.
Modifying physical activity – Avoid intense movements which might strain muscles. Instead, focus more on soft, gentle movements, such as yoga or pilates, for physical activities.
Muscle Relaxers, Analgesics, Soft Collars – Many painful symptoms associated with CM (i.e. headaches, neck pain, lower back pain) are caused by the lesion of junctional structures between the cerebral base and the cerebellum. When these lesions occur, pain occurs due to irritation. Analgesics, or painkillers, may be prescribed to relieve this pain from irritation. Muscle relaxants are drugs which suppress the central nervous system and help treat acute muscle pain. For CM patients with neck pain, these muscle relaxants may be helpful. Those with CM may also benefit from a variety of analgesics. However effective, these medications should be taken cautiously due to their addictive nature. In conjunction with oral medication, those with CM may also benefit from the use of a soft collar. Cervical spine pain associated with Chiari Malformation may be treated by placing a soft collar around the neck.
Physical therapy – An approach that aims to rehabilitate as well as improve muscular activity and movement. This is especially helpful for patients who experience muscular pain.
Social Support – Online chat rooms offer a safe place to educate, and be educated, by other individuals who are managing their Chiari. Always be cautious that you are on a reputable social chat room, as there may be online predators. The Chiari Project launched a Pain Management Research Group Discussion of their own, where the community can participate and create their own polls.
Surgery – Perhaps the most extreme method of treating the pain is foramen magnum decompression surgery, which reduces pressure on the cerebellum and consequently restores normal flow of spinal fluid. Headaches and migraines typically resolve following foramen magnum decompression. A study in 2012 examined the intraoperative findings and outcomes for brain surgery and found that 73% of patients reported improvement after three months. The goal of brain surgery is to decompress the cervicomedullary junction and restore normal CSF flow. Those with symptomatic CM are more likely to benefit from brain surgery.