Around the world, over 12 million people suffer from spasticity. For these individuals, their life is one marked by discomforts. Spasticity symptoms such as muscle cramps, aches, and stiffness are not some of those “little” discomforts anyone would want to deal with daily.

There are various drugs that patients may use to manage spasticity. However, some patients often find their side effects intolerable and continue on their quest to find more agreeable relievers. As you would have thought, marijuana for spasticity control is an option most patients stumble on and never leave because of its potency. But, how effective is medical marijuana for spasticity? Can you get your MMJ card for it? Elevate Holistics lets you know.

marijuana for spasticity

What is Spasticity?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines spasticity as: “A condition in which there is an abnormal increase in muscle tone or stiffness of muscle, which might interfere with movement, speech, or be associated with discomfort or pain.”

In very simple terms, spasticity is a condition that makes muscles feel stiff or tight, making movement and speech a tad bit difficult. Spasticity is a common occurrence in patients with multiple sclerosis (M.S.), and the rate is up to 80%.

Muscle Spasm vs. Spasticity

Muscle spasm vs. spasticity discussions often come with a bit of confusion. Their symptoms look the same, feel the same; so, they must be the same, right? Surprisingly, there is a differentiating factor between both.

To strip confusion off the spasticity vs. spasm debate, you have to understand that spasticity is a common symptom of M.S., which makes the muscles feel heavy, stiff, and difficult to move. On the other hand, a spasm refers to a sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle, which could cause a limb to jerk or twitch.

A spasm can be a symptom of spasticity.

Causes of Spasticity

The human body is made up of systems and pathways (in this case, nerve pathways). To move the different parts of our body, the nerve pathways establish a nonstop connection and send nerve signals that flow to and fro the brain, spinal cord, and all the muscles.

Multiple sclerosis can affect any part of the brain or spinal cord linked to other parts of the body. In patients with multiple sclerosis, the damages done by M.S. sever these connections and interrupt the flow of nerve signals to different parts of the body.

The interruption, which could occur on any part of the body, especially limbs, is what causes spasticity.

What Does Spasticity Feel Like?

When the nerve signals are unable to reach their destinations, the muscles that were supposed to receive the signals would become stiff – awaiting when the signals finally arrive.

So, what does M.S. spasticity feel like? Given the muscle stiffens or tightens, patients often indicate that the affected parts of their body often feel stiff and heavy, making it difficult to move. At points where it becomes severe, patients may feel pain, tightness, or aches around their joints and lower back or experience spasms.

Symptoms of Spasticity

Spasticity symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Stiff or tight muscles, inhibiting movement
  • Uncontrollable spasms, often associated with painful muscle contractions
  • Deformities on joints
  • Clonus – muscle contractions causing uncontrollable, rhythmic movements (e.g., tapping a foot repeatedly).
  • Crossing legs involuntarily
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Urinary dysfunction

Is Medical Marijuana an Effective Treatment for Spasticity?

Anecdotes and medical research have illustrated that marijuana for spasticity has incredible promise. Patients who use marijuana for spasticity note that they feel relieved after using marijuana. And that compared to other medications they were using in the past, marijuana produces fewer adverse effects that are sometimes intolerable.

A CMAJ 2012 research on the effects of cannabis on M.S. spasticity found smoked cannabis to be a superior drug in reducing spasticity symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant spasticity. Also, a combined U.K. – U.S. survey showed that about 97% of respondents with multiple sclerosis got relief from M.S. spasticity using marijuana.

How Does Medical Marijuana Help Spasticity?

Cannabis compounds such as THC and CBD are impactful in improving spasticity in patients with M.S. The body’s endocannabinoid system takes up and assimilates THC into the body system For this to happen. In turn, the THC blocks or suppresses the influence of the damaging M.S., inhibiting the interruption of the nerve signals and improving communication between nerves and muscles. Consequently, this enhances the flow of nerve signals from the brain, through the spine, and across the muscle.

For context: The endocannabinoid system is the biological system that harbors the neurotransmitters that receive and transmit cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, all over the body.

Effects of CBD on Spasticity Symptoms

marijuana for spasticity

LEARN MORE: CBD Oil for Pain | Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain

Following what you’ve read in the section above, you probably figured out the effects of CBD on spasticity. Various cannabis strains are popular among patients to relieve pains and aches, which are some of the spasticity symptoms M.S. patients often feel.

Also, M.S. patients may have psychological symptoms such as anxiety, sleep deprivation, depression, etc., which cannabis has been shown to alleviate. CBD provides a calming effect that helps people manage the psychological symptoms of spasticity and help them sleep better.

Beyond the commonly known effects of CBD, an extensive study of 1615 M.S. patients found Sativex, a THC:CBD (1:1) formulation, to be a particularly effective and safer option for patients with moderate to severe spasticity resistant to common antispastic drugs.

Alongside CBD and THC, other cannabinoids, including CBN, CBG, and THCA, are also naturally anti-spasmodic.

Best Strains for Spasticity

In the absence of specific FDA-approved drugs for spasticity management, patients in medical marijuana legal states can obtain marijuana for spasticity recommendation from a marijuana doctor. So far, some cannabis strains stand out as being more potent and effective than the other strains in spasticity management. Let’s have a look at some of the best strains for spasticity.

Sativa or Sativa-Dominant Hybrids

Medical marijuana products or derivatives of this strain type are usually energizing and could be more helpful in treating symptoms during the daytime.

  • ACDC
  • Harlequinn
  • Permafrost
  • Mendocino Purps
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Amnesia Haze
  • Jack Herer
  • Sierra Mist
  • Venice OG

Indica or Indica-Dominant Hybrids

Indica or indica-dominant strains produce deep, relaxing effects that make them wonderful for helping with spasticity symptoms. They could be more helpful in treating spasticity symptoms during the nighttime when you need to relax and get some sleep.

  • Godberry
  • Master Jedi
  • Pink Cookies
  • Caramella
  • God Bud
  • Critical Mass
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • Chocolate Chunk
  • Raspberry Kush
  • Blue Frost

50/50 Hybrids

These provide a balance between the energizing and relaxing effects of medical marijuana for spasticity. Patients may use them to relieve symptoms of spasticity during the day or at night.

  • Pearl Scout Cookies
  • A-Train
  • Harry Potter
  • UK Cheese
  • Dark Blue Dream
  • Chronic

Patients often prefer strains with a higher CBD ratio, as the relaxation effects cancel out the psychoactive effects of THC. Hence, patients stay clear-headed while treating their spasticity.

Noteworthy high CBD marijuana strains for spasticity include Sour Tsunami, Nordle, Stephen Hawking Kush, Harle-Tsu, Valentine X, Remedy, etc.

Getting a Medical Marijuana Card for Spasticity

Irrespective of what causes the spasticity, patients may find a medical marijuana strain that agrees with their body system and help improve their spasticity symptoms. However, they need a qualified doctor’s recommendation

In all the legal states, patients are required to present a medical marijuana card before having access to marijuana for spasticity. However, getting a medical marijuana card can be a bit of a hassle that drags on for days. You have a lot to worry about already; don’t add more to the pile.

Elevate Holistics helps spasticity patients get their medical marijuana cards within 24 – 48 hours while at the comfort of their homes. All it takes is 3 quick and easy steps and, more importantly, a fraction of the money you would have spent elsewhere trying to get an MMJ card after a long wait. Also, we have a network of certified marijuana doctors who can help you with more fitting information on medical marijuana for spasticity based on your specific conditions.

Do you need help with anything medical marijuana today? Don’t hesitate to contact us; Elevate Holistics is always here for you.


NOTE: All information on this post is based on studies conducted on patients across the globe. This post does not serve as diagnoses, professional medical advice, or treatment. Medical marijuana works differently for different people. Book an appointment with a certified medical marijuana doctor today to get personalized professional advice.