Medical Marijuana and Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
What Is Spinocerebellar Ataxia?
Spinocerebellar ataxia begins with progressive issues with gait, or walking. After time, people with this disorder will have issues with coordination of their hands and facial movements. The lack of coordination in facial muscles can create slurred speech and blurry vision. People also may develop tremors and spasticity, especially in their hands. Over time, the person’s cerebellum atrophies so that they cannot coordinate purposeful muscle function and may even die. However, people with this disease maintain their mental and intellectual function throughout the progress of spinocerebellar ataxia. This can lead to depression, changes in sleep, and other psychosocial issues that interfere with quality of life.
What Causes Spinocerebellar Ataxia?
Spincerebellar ataxia is hereditary. People who carry the gene often do not know until their child begins showing symptoms. Most people begin showing symptoms as children, which then progressively worsen. While some people live a long lifespan with the disease, some forms of spinocerebellar ataxia are life-threatening.
Medical Treatments for Spinocerebellar Ataxia
Spinocerebellar ataxia cannot be cured. However, many treatments are available to treat the tremors, spasticity, and pain of this disorder. In addition, healthcare providers must treat the depression, appetite changes, and sleep difficulties associated with the gradual loss of function seen in people with this disease.
Medical Marijuana and Spinocerebellar Ataxia
Cannabis has proven to be a valuable tool for people living with spinocerellar ataxia. People who have this disorder can get medical marijuana from an Illinois dispensary. Due to issues with facial muscle function, edible forms of marijuana and concentrates are both preferred ways of taking medical marijuana for SCA. Illinois cannabis users find that marijuana helps with their loss of appetite, depression, and pain. In addition, Illinois marijuana patients see a decrease in spasticity and are able to sleep better.
While medical marijuana does not cure the genetic cause of spinocerebellar ataxia, it relieves symptoms and gives patients a higher quality of life. It is one of few non-addictive and low side effect ways of dealing with the symptoms of this disease. If you or a loved one are interested in using medical marijuana to treat spinocerebellar ataxia, contact an Illinois dispensary. Help and hope are available for people living with this disease.