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How Does Marijuana Help Muscular Dystrophy?

Living with Muscular Dystrophy? You may be able to experience relief from your symptoms with medical marijuana. Find out more.
muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is an inherited, genetic disease that leads to muscle weakness. There are more than 30 different types of diseases categorized within the muscular dystrophy family. These are conditions that affect the skeletal muscles. They are also a type of myopathy.

There is no cure for muscular dystrophy and the symptoms will increase with age and time. The muscles will shrink and will also become weaker and that can affect a person’s ability to walk and perform other basic tasks of everyday life. Over time, the disease can directly affect the heart and lungs.

Some people are diagnosed with muscular dystrophy from birth, but it can also develop during childhood and some forms may develop later in adulthood.

Medical Marijuana and Muscular Dystrophy

There are a number of reasons why marijuana for muscle pain is a good idea to consult your doctor about. The marijuana effects on muscle include reducing tightness (tightness, which can pull on the tendons and joints of the body), which would increase pain levels.

As a muscular dystrophy treatment, medical marijuana can help to reduce muscle spasms as well. In one particular study, researchers found that marijuana helped treat muscle spasms in laboratory rats. This is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of marijuana.

Marijuana Effects on Muscle Growth

Research studies have found that cannabis helps the body maintain testosterone levels. Testosterone is a vital hormone naturally produced in the body essential for muscle growth.

It is not fully clear how marijuana helps to maintain these testosterone levels, but it is not likely associated with THC, the hallucinogenic component of marijuana, but rather other aspects of hemp that are bringing these benefits.

Also, marijuana often increases appetite, especially for carbohydrate rich foods, which are vital for those working out and seeking to gain muscle.

Risks of Marijuana for Patients with Muscular Dystrophy

Does muscular dystrophy cause pain? It most certainly can and often does, especially as the symptoms progress. This is one of the key reasons why medical marijuana is something to consider if you or somebody you care about has been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.

There are some risks associated with marijuana, though, and they include diminished reaction times, balance related challenges (which would likely be exacerbated because of the muscle weakness for somebody with muscular dystrophy), dry eyes, dry mouth, constipation or diarrhea, increased appetite, and some sleep challenges, among others.


Best Strains for Muscular Dystrophy Symptoms

Of course, no hit of weed is going to cure you of, well, anything. However, there are various strains of cannabis that are well known for helping with pain relief — specifically, muscle and joint pain. 

These strains will be ideal for those with muscular dystrophy symptoms, as they’ll bring immense amounts of relief throughout the body:

  1. ACDC: This strain is known for its high CBD and low THC content, making it ideal for pain relief without intense psychoactive effects. It’s particularly effective for inflammation and neuropathic pain.

  2. Harlequin: Harlequin is a sativa-dominant strain known for its reliable expression of CBD. It’s often used to treat pain and anxiety, as it provides a clear-headed relief with a relaxing feeling.

  3. CBD Critical Mass: This strain has a high CBD content and is often used for treating chronic pain, including muscle and joint pain. It also helps in relaxing muscles and reducing inflammation.

  4. Blue Dream: A hybrid strain, Blue Dream is popular for its full-body relaxation combined with gentle cerebral invigoration. It’s often chosen for its effectiveness in relieving pain, without the heavy sedative effects.

  5. White Widow: This is a balanced hybrid that’s known for its pain-relieving properties. It’s effective in treating joint and muscle pain, and also helps with insomnia and stress.

How to Get a Medical Card for Muscular Dystrophy 

We can connect you with a highly trained and experienced doctor who understands the inherent benefits of medical marijuana for treating muscular dystrophy and pain. 

You can go over your family history, the doctor may require blood work to determine which strains might be best for you at this stage in your life and sit down and go over how best to use medical marijuana in treating muscular dystrophy.

If your doctor determines this is the best treatment option for you at this time, he or she will be able to prescribe you a medical marijuana card. Keep in mind, though, that this is only going to apply in states where medical marijuana has been made legal.

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Asked Questions

As noted, it is a genetic disease. It is inherited, which means if somebody in your family has muscular dystrophy, you are at risk of developing it, too. If you have children, they will also have some risk factors of dealing with muscular dystrophy.


It is still considered a rare condition. What causes muscular dystrophy? If a person inherits a mutated gene (a gene that is altered in some way as it is passed on to a child), that altered gene can cause muscular dystrophy.

There are some people who have the mutated gene, but don’t develop muscular dystrophy. This type of person would be considered a carrier and it is possible to pass that mutated gene onto their children, who then may develop the disease.

While it is even rarer, it is possible for somebody to spontaneously develop muscular dystrophy, meaning there is no traceable genetic mutation in their family line.

Some of the more common muscular dystrophy symptoms can include difficulty walking, running, and performing other tasks like these, such as difficulty swallowing, learning disabilities, enlarged calf muscles, heart problems such as arrhythmia or even heart failure, stiff or loose joints, a curved spine (scoliosis), breathing trouble, and even muscle pain.

Muscular pain might be something easy to overlook among the many symptoms of this disease. However, when a person is experiencing chronic pain as a result of muscular dystrophy, it can make the already difficult challenge of daily tasks even more trying, and it can lead to sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, and other conditions.


Medical marijuana and muscular dystrophy have been studied and the results, so far, are quite promising. When a person is using marijuana, muscle pain is often reported to diminish. That is due to CBD or cannabinoids, that reduce inflammation and help encourage relaxation of the muscles.

If you are considering CBD oil for muscular dystrophy, most likely you would not need a prescription, but it is best to consult an experienced doctor who understands the benefits of CBD and medical marijuana for treating muscular dystrophy.

CBD oil can be applied to foods, beverages, or even directly to the affected part of the body for relief (in an ointment). However, if you are looking for more relief, and more consistent benefits, medical marijuana may just be what you want.

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