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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Can Marijuana be used for spinocerebellar ataxia?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3650 Questions

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Posted on Sat, 17 Sep 2016 in Headache and Migraines
Question: Is ther any information out there regarding the use of marjuana and cerbral spinal atixa?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Not much evidence.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your interest in this subject since there is a lot of talk lately about the medical use of marijuana.

I am afraid though there is not any evidence of any benefit of marijuana use in spinocerebellar ataxia, no studies or even discussions on that regard.
Generally marijuana use in neurological disease has been considered in conditions like multiple sclerosis or other conditions where spasticity is a main feature. It does not affect the disease process in any way only alleviates spasticity.
So the only scenario where it could be tried in spinocerebellar ataxia would be if you had a form (there are many types of spinocerebellar ataxias) where spasticity is a present feature.

I remain at your disposal for further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 24 minutes later
I believe mine might be CSA11. No one seems to know or will tell me anything about it. My mother lived to be 100 yrs old; she had it, her sister had it, as well as a cousin. It seems only females are effected. Does this help any or are you of the opinion there is nothing to be done? Could you refer me to another source?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 5 hours later
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I wonder if you are sure about the type. Type 11 is very rare, according to the literature there are only 4 known families where it has been diagnosed in the UK, France, Germany and Pakistan. So your family would be only the fifth in the world.

If you are type 11 SCA then it is transmitted in an autosomal dominant manner, meaning it can affect males and females, children of an affected parent have a 50% chance of developing it. So the fact there are only females in your family would be a coincidence. The main features are ataxia and eye signs, pyramidal features like spasticity are rare so marijuana use wouldn't be of much help. The lifespan is not reduced as you yourself note, but walking and balance difficulty may lead to disability.
In terms of treatment unfortunately like for other SCAs there are no specific medications, it consists in physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy etc.

I am not sure what you mean by refering you to another source. If you mean another hospital where you can ask for a second opinion, the best ranked in California where you seem to live would be the UCSF Medical Center, if we are speaking national level, while UCSF remains very valid the highest ranked in the US in Neurology is Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
If you mean online sources I am including a couple of links below, it is difficult to find many online sources for non medical specialists for this ataxia type though, being very rare.
http://www.orpha.net/consor4.01/www/cgi-bin/OC_Exp.php?lng=EN&Expert=98767
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1757/

Let me know if I can further assist you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 11 hours later
Than You. You were very helpful.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 1 minute later
Brief Answer:
You're welcome.

Detailed Answer:
Hope things work out for the best.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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