A Chiari malformation, also known as Arnold-Chiari malformation, refers to a structural defect that causes the cerebellum to sit incorrectly in the skull resulting in syringomyelia or cysts filled with cerebrospinal fluid. Those who suffer from this condition often experience headaches, problems swallowing, disturbed sleep patterns, vocal quality changes, and issues balancing or dizziness. Syringomyelia can cause sensory loss or an exaggerated response to pain, weak limbs, atrophy, muscle spasms, and pain. Currently, the only treatment option available is a surgery intended to correct functional disturbances and prevent further damage to the central nervous system, and studies now show marijuana may be able to play a role in relieving symptoms associated with the condition.
Cannabis' cannabinoids THC and CBD may be helpful in managing symptoms associated with Arnold-Chiari malformation and syringomyelia because they lower pain levels related to spasticity, headaches and migraines, and other acute pain and chronic pain conditions. Cannabis can also help with a patient's lack of sleep. One study that analyzed the effects of cannabis on patients with chronic illnesses found 75%-84.2% of respondents reported sleeping "slightly/much better" by falling asleep faster and sleeping longer thanks to cannabis. In addition, cannabinoids reduce muscle tremors and spasticity by activating the CB1 and CB2 receptors that regulate excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters necessary to curtail spasms.
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