Myasthenia Gravis and Medical Marijuana
What Is Myasthenia Gravis?
Myasthenia gravis is characterized by weakness in the muscles, especially muscles in the face, neck, and limbs. This weakness becomes extreme after times of activity and resolves with rest. People will notice drooping facial muscles, especially drooping eyelids, along with weakness of the neck and shoulders. In some people, limb movement and breathing are affected. Others may notice double vision as their eye muscles are too weak to coordinate the eye movements needed to see clearly. These symptoms become progressively worse with moderate to strenuous activity and then resolve, usually completely, with adequate rest. However, the degeneration of nerve receptors can cause a great deal of pain.
What Causes Myasthenia Gravis?
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease in which antibodies attack acetylcholine receptors. Acetylcholine is the messenger molecule that relays signals from nerves to muscles. When acetylcholine receptors are attacked by immune molecules, muscles are unable to respond to nerve signals, leading to weakness and even mild temporary paralysis.
Standard Treatments for Myasthenia Gravis
Treatment for myasthenia gravis includes depressing the immune system along with decreasing the pain, stress, and anxiety that are associated with the disease. Muscle tension from pain and stress can exacerbate symptoms, so keeping the patient happy and calm is a high priority. Many people with myasthenia gravis are on steroids, immune suppressants, pain relieving medications, and antidepressants.
Cannabis and Myasthenia Gravis
Medical marijuana has proven to be a helpful part of treatment for myasthenia gravis. It relaxes muscles so patients can avoid having a myasthenia crisis from overexertion. In addition, cannabis relieves the pain and stress that are caused by and can exacerbate the condition. To avoid stressing the respiratory system, Illinois marijuana dispensaries sell concentrates and edibles that do not have to be inhaled for myasthenia gravis patients. In addition, this allows Illinois cannabis users to be more discrete in their use of healing medical marijuana.
Myasthenia gravis is a serious chronic disease, but it can be managed with compassionate care. Medical marijuana is a side effect free solution to the muscle tension and pain that are part of this condition. If you or a loved one are interested in using cannabis as part of myasthenia gravis treatment, contact an Illinois dispensary today.