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Can cannabis help with cervical dystonia?

Can cannabis help with cervical dystonia?

Getting the right answers in your cannabis journey can be tricky. But with The Cannigma’s Ask the Expert, you can find questions from readers like you, answered by a real cannabis pharmacist. 

Question: Are there any strains of medical marijuana that are beneficial to patients with movement disorders such as cervical dystonia? It’s a movement disorder that affects the neck and can cause pain as well as irregular movements. 


Thank you for your inquiry regarding the potential benefits of cannabis for cervical dystonia. As usual, research is very limited, but it has been found that cannabinoids, particularly THC and CBD, may have therapeutic effects on muscle spasms and pain associated with these conditions.

Studies have shown that cannabinoids like CBD could reduce pain and muscle spasms in patients with certain types of dystonia. Additionally, cannabis-based medicine (including a blend of THC and CBD) has been found to be effective in reducing spasticity and improving mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis. Support for the use of cannabinoids for other types of dystonia has been more mixed, including some studies that found no benefit of cannabinoids in cervical dystonia.

If you want to find a variety that has muscle relaxant properties, check out a strain that is rich in the terpene myrcene, which is thought to have muscle relaxant qualities.

Cannabis topicals such as balms and creams could certainly be worth a try; limited research has shown promise in these products relieving muscle spasms and pain. Cannabis topicals are infused with cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, and can be applied directly to the affected area for localized relief. Additionally, some topicals contain other therapeutic ingredients, such as essential oils and menthol, which can provide further pain relief. 

Most likely a blend of consumption forms – oral, topical, and as needed inhalation – would be optimal for this type of painful and troubling condition.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out.

Be well, 

Codi Peterson, PharmD
Scientific advisor, The Cannigma

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