marijuana for myasthenia gravis
marijuana for myasthenia gravis

Medical Marijuana for Myasthenia Gravis

Can cannabis help with the onset of Myasthenia Gravis?

Posted by:
Lemon Knowles on Monday Jun 15, 2020

Medical Marijuana for Myasthenia Gravis

marijuana for mg

The neuromuscular disorder, Myasthenia Gravis, causes weakness in the skeletal muscles the body uses for movement. It happens because the communication between the nerve cells and muscles becomes impaired. The disruption in communication stops muscle contraction and the end result is the total muscle weakness. Myasthenia Gravis is one of the most common primary disorders of a neuromuscular disorder.

The name is derived from Latin and Greek that literally means ´grave muscle weakness´. The name is often harsher than what really occurs. With help, it is possible to live a normal life. The most common features of this condition are drooping eyelids, difficulty chewing and swallowing, and respiratory difficulties in severe cases.  

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disease that focusses on muscle weakness. The condition develops because of an insufficient amount of acetylcholine receptors on the postsynaptic membrane. Both acquired and congenital forms of MG can be found in cats, dogs, and humans. Myasthenia Gravis is a disorder of the space between your nerves and muscles also known as the neuromuscular junction. The nerve responds to an electrical signal and releases neurotransmitters crossing this area to activate muscle contractions to move.

As an autoimmune disorder, MG causes the immune system to attack itself. As a result, the acetylcholine neurotransmitter receptors are reduced in function and number. The muscles do not receive sufficient signals to move and become weaker. The body´s immune system makes antibodies, called acetylcholinesterase, that block or destroys the receptors sites for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Typical Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis

MG can affect any skeletal muscle but those muscles most affected are those controlling movement of the eyelid and eye movement. Swallowing and facial expression movement are also more affected. It could affect muscles on the arms, legs, or chest too, but this does not happen frequently. The condition could appear suddenly, and the symptoms are often overlooked.

The symptoms that doctors often notice first, is the weakness of the eye muscles. Sometimes the first symptoms include also slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. Each individual demonstrates its own unique degree of the disorder. Sometimes it only affects ocular myasthenia where only the eye is affected. Other times it is more generalized, and more muscles are affected, including those that let you breathe. There is a variety of symptoms. They are:

Drooping eyelids

Blurred vision

Abnormal facial expressions

Difficulty swallowing

Impaired speech

Shortness of breath

Weak neck, limbs, and extremities

Some factors can influence or trigger the symptoms of myasthenia gravis. This includes the following:

Emotional stress


Bright sunlight

Viral infections



Medication like ciprofloxacin, chloroquine, lithium, procainamide, procaine, beta-blockers, and statins

How do you know you have Myasthenia Gravis?

A physical and neurological test will be performed by the doctor to see if a person suffers from Myasthenia Gravis? In a specific test, the following will be checked:

Checking for muscle weakness

Testing reflexes

Checking muscles tone

Studying muscle coordination

Examining eye movement

Testing body sensations

Checking motor functions like touching the finger to the nose

Performing repetitive nerve stimulation tests

Blood test for antibodies related to MG

Testing lung function

What are the treatments and can Cannabis help?

In the beginning, there was no treatment for myasthenia gravis, but fortunately, there are now some ways to deal with the disorder. Today, medication or surgery can help to deal with the disorder. The most common drug used to treat the condition is anticholinesterase medication. It works by slowing down the acetylcholine break down in the neuromuscular junction. But there are a number of side-effects with any of the traditional medicines. That is where cannabis comes in handy.

Cannabis as a medical aid has been used for many years. Long before modern medicine was practiced, cannabis was used to treat many physical and psychological complaints. The active ingredients of cannabis can help to decrease the symptoms of stress and anxiety. It can also help to regulate activity in the nervous system. Both THC and CBD have beneficial properties that influence the endocannabinoid system to produce various effects on the body and mind.

Medical marijuana acts very much like anticholinesterase agents. It inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase responsible for acetylcholine degradation. By doing this there is more time for acetylcholine to interact with its receptors before breakdown. Cannabis helps to overcome the blocked receptor that causes muscle contractions.








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