Survey: Dystonia Patients Report Benefits from Inhaled Cannabis

Tel Aviv, Israel: Patients diagnosed with dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions) report experiencing therapeutic benefits from smoking cannabis, according to data published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology

Israeli researchers surveyed 23 dystonia patients authorized to use medical cannabis products. (Cannabis is legal in certain circumstances in Israel under a doctor’s supervision.) Participants in the study had used cannabis for, on average, a period of nearly three years. Patients provided numerical ratings commensurate with their symptoms. 

Patients reported that inhaled cannabis was associated with a reduction in dystonia symptoms and with improvements in their overall quality of life. 

Those patients diagnosed with generalized dystonia perceived greater benefits than did those with more focal dystonia patterns. Patients reported smoking cannabis to be far more effective than consuming oil extracts. The most commonly reported side effects from cannabis were dry mouth, sedation, and dizziness. 

“Our real-life observational single-center study suggests that MC [medical cannabis] may provide benefits for some patients with dystonia, particularly those with more widespread or generalized forms of the condition,” researchers concluded. “THC-containing MC products may be a promising starting point for further research into the therapeutic benefits of CBM [cannabis-based medicines] for dystonia in patients with widespread symptoms.”

Separate data has shown that cannabis inhalation improves pain and movement control in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Full text of the study, “A single-center real-life study on the use of cannabis in patients with dystonia,” appears in Frontiers in Neurology.