Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes (EDS) are a group of hereditary genetic conditions that affect the connective tissue in the human body. These cellular organizational level, support our bones, skin, blood and multiple other organs.
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: symptoms
The symptoms arise when these group of cells that work together have defects, and can range from mild to life-threatening. Depending on the symptomatology and areas that are effected, there are, in total, 13 different classifications, with 6 of these being the most common:
- Classical EDS (cEDS)
- Hypermobile EDS
- Vascular EDS (vEDS)
- Kyphoscoliosis EDS (kEDS)
- Arthrochalasia EDS (aEDS)
- Dermatosparaxis EDS (dEDS)
Mutation in these genes can cause EDS, while not a complete list, include: COL1A1, COL1A2, COL3A1, COL5A1 and COL6A2. This permanent alteration in the sequences of the genome of an organism, results in defects in the architecture of collagen or proteins that interact with this biomolecule.
Without these main fundamental building blocks the connective tissue is much weaker, reflecting the presence of an unusual state or symptoms, which vary greatly, but there are some that occur in most cases;
- Hypermobility. An abnormally large range of movement in the joints. This situation can often carry many other problems such as being at risk of dislocation.
- Hypotonia. Weak muscle tone. It involves reduce muscle strength that is associated to the poor development of important motor skills, such as walking.
- Overly soft, elastic, and fragile skin. This fragility can produces tearing of the skin, wounds may re- open effortlessly, scars appear to stretch over time and the person in question may bruise very easily. The sufferer may also have excess and baggy skin.
- Cardiovascular. Blood vessels rupturing randomly, causing internal bleeding within the organs such as the heart.
- Spine curvature. Medical case in which a person´s spine has a sideways curve.
Other manifestations are pregnancy complications, fatigue, headaches, gastrointestinal diseases, and nerve disorders.
Cannabinoids and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
According to one study, nearly 90% of sufferers report some form of chronic pain, most prevalent in cases of muscles being tense constantly, joint inflammation, and the repetitive and unpredictable dislocation or subluxation (partial dislocation).
A Swedish group of researchers reported that around 75% of patients experienced anxiety and 25% depression due to their condition. In general, no cure is known but there are existing treatments that prevent further deterioration and improve the quality of life. Painkillers, physiotherapy, orthopedic instruments and psychological therapy may help.
An intervention with cannabinoids could be an alternative to helping with the pain, anxiety and depression, all at once. The analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic and antipsychotic properties of cannabidiol (CBD) have been studied extensively. This cannabinoid is considered to be very low-risk for addiction and has no side effects.
Besides, opioid based analgesic can be discontinue or reduced when taking CBD, due to the fact that it enhances its activity, making possible to avoid addiction, build up of tolerance or liver damage. It was found in a Brazilian study that CBD managed to reduce almost all signs of Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), one of the most common forms of anxiety disorders.
Aside from the medical research, there are also countless personal testimonials from many different Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome sufferers, discussing their testimonial with using medicinal cannabis. These pieces of anecdotal evidence should not be ignored as no one knows these feelings better than the patients themselves.
In conclusion, much more research on Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes must be done. However, looking at some specific symptoms, CBD could be an excellent prescription due to its analgesic, anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory actions.