Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA) consists of a group of progressive degenerative genetic diseases that impact movement. All of the various types of SAC cause the cerebellum to degenerate which results in reduced muscle coordination. Symptoms include coordination and balance problems, speech and swallowing difficulties, muscle spasms and stiffness, eye muscle weakness and involuntary movement, cognitive impairment, numbness, tingling, or pain, uncontrolled muscle tensing, muscle wasting, and twitching. While there is no cure for the disease, cannabis may be able to help due to its neuroprotective properties which would allow it to slow the progression of the disorder, and its ability to manage pain and spasms.
Cannabinoids suppress excitotoxicity, glial activation, and oxidative injury, which can help it prevent the degeneration of neurons. Additionally, they improve the function of mitochondria and the activation of cellurlar debris clearance, which all promotes neuron health. THC, specifically, prevents free radical damage and facilitates the formation of mitochondria in Parkinson's disease patients. CBD also supports the health of neurons and mitochondria. Cannabis has helped protect the brain in Alzheimer's patients, reducing the effects of amyloid-beta, inflammation, and helping repair the brain by enhancing neurogenesis. In both animal and clinical trials, CBD and THC have improved muscle spasticity and helped with neuropathic and nociceptive pain management, even when these symptoms were found to be previously treatment resistant.
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