A spasm is a sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle, a group of muscles, or a hollow organ, or a similarly sudden contraction of an orifice. It is sometimes accompanied by a sudden burst of pain, but is usually harmless and ceases after a few minutes. Spasmodic muscle contraction may also be due to a large number of medical conditions, including the dystonias.
By extension, a spasm is a temporary burst of energy, activity, emotion, stress, or anxiety.
A subtype of spasms is colic, an episodic pain due to spasms of smooth muscle in a particular organ (e.g. the bile duct). A characteristic of colic is the sensation of having to move about, and the pain may induce nausea or vomiting if severe. Series of spasms or permanent spasms are called a spasmism.
In very severe cases, the spasm can induce muscular contractions that are more forceful than the sufferer could generate under normal circumstances. This can lead to torn tendons and ligaments.
Hysterical strength is argued to be a type of spasm induced by the brain under extreme circumstances.
Spasms can be caused by insufficient hydration, muscle overload or absence of some minerals (as magnesium).
Using marijuana as treatment for muscle spams has demonstrated significant success. Muscle spams (or muscular spasticity) is a common condition which affects millions of people in the United States. Muscle Spams are common in people with sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy, quadriplegia, spinal cord injuries, and various other conditions. There is a very limited number of treatments for muscle spams available to patients, the most common being Phenobarbital and Diazepam (Valium). Patients generally develop a tolerance to these drugs rather quickly making them ineffective for treatment. Patients also often complain of becoming addicted to these drugs.
The amount of evidence for the effectiveness of marijuana use for the treatment of muscle spams is overwhelming. Our patients generally find the results to be immediate and long lasting. We have also noticed a psychological benefit to our patients knowing they can get greater benefit and relief from a natural remedy like marijuana then strong and addicting pharmaceuticals like Valium.
Below are some of the evidence and research done on the effects of marijuana on muscular spasticity:
- Dr. J. Russell Renolds noted “There are many cases of so called epilepsy in adults but which, in my opinion (are) the result of organic disease of a gross character in the nervous centers, in which India hemp (cannabis) is the most useful agent with which I am acquainted.”
- Dr. William B. O’Shaughnessy said that he was greatly impressed with marijuana’s ability as a muscle relaxant and anti-convulsant, further stating “The (medical) profession has gained an anti-convulsive remedy of the greatest value.”
- Dunn and Davis reported in a 1974 issue of Paraplegia magazine that ten patients admitted using marijuana for spinal cord injury, “with perceived decrease in pain and spasticity.”
In September 1988 Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young of the DEA concluded that the medical benefits of marijuana on the treatment of spasticity is “beyond question” and he recommended rescheduling the drug to allow prescriptive access. Unfortunately the recommendation was rejected by the administrator of the DEA. Thankfully in 2000 the voters of Colorado expressed their understanding of the marijuana’s value and passed Amendment 20 allowing the use of marijuana for treatment of muscle spams among numerous other conditions.