Cannabinoids and Spasticity

Spasticity is a motor disorder characterized by involuntary muslce spasms that is usually caused by disturbances in the brain and spinal cord. People who develop this disorder are affected by the muscles contracting involuntarily and sometimes permanently. This contraction generates rigidity and the shortening of muscles and interferes with movements and functions such as swallowing, speech and balance. Patients experience a combination of paralysis, increased tendon reflex activity and hypertonia, usually described as a certain “tightness” or “pull” in the muscles.

This disorder may present itself in various symptomatically related motor systems as well as metabolic disorders, such as: multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, adrenoleukodystrophy, hypoxia, cerebral stroke and phenylketonuria. Spasticity may occur as increased muscle tone, cramping, contractions of movement, tendon hyperreflexia, abnormal posture, etc.

Treatment for Spasticity using Cannabinoids | Kalapa Clinic

Effects of cannabinoids.

  • Stiffness reduction
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Neuroprotective
  • Viable refractory spasticity


Cannabinoids have clinically shown great improvements for motor levels, reducing stiffness and reducing pain. In case of refractory spasticity, there are also improvements that have been seen.

Interactions of Cannabinoids and Spasticity

Positive results are stemming from clinical trials demonstrating the effectiveness of cannabinoids for treating Spasticity. It is being widely accepted by the medical community and specialists are recommending the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of this motor disorder. Among the most prominent trials, the Spanish Society of Neurology conducted an observational study including 50 patients treated with the inhalation of THC / CBD. It was observed that this treatment was effective in 80% of patients who were instructed to inhale 5 times a day. With this information, the Spanish Society of Neurology concluded that “THC / CBD seems to be a good alternative to standard treatments of refractory spasticity“. [1]

Another trial conducted by the Department of Neurology at the Clinical Hospital San Carlos of Madrid concluded that: “An administration via oral mucosa of THC + CBD (1: 1) has been approved in several EU countries, including Spain. Clinical trials have shown a clear reduction in spasticity related symptoms (stiffness, pain, sleep disturbance) in patients resistant to other treatments.” [2]

Bibliography for Spasticity and Cannabinoids

[1] L.Lorente Fernández, E.Monte Boquet, F.Pérez-Miralles, I.Gil Gómez, M.Escutia Roig, I.Boscá Blasco, J.L.Poveda Andrés, B.Casanova-Estruch Clinical experiences with cannabinoids in spasticity management in multiple sclerosis. Neurología Volume 29, Issue 5, June 2014, Pages 257-260

[2] Treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis: New perspectives regarding the use of cannabinoids. Revista de neurologia 55(7):421-30. October 2012.

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