Neurodegenerative diseases affect the nerve cells (neurons) in your brain and spinal cord, causing them to become damaged or die. When this happens, your brain can’t communicate with the rest of your body the way it normally would.
The legal classification of this group of diseases was most recently added to the Compassionate Care Act in 2017. From a medical perspective, this long list of diseases actually encompasses a large group of disorders that originate from different biologic pathology.
Many of the conditions are rare genetic disorders of mitochondrial function, enzyme functions, and other very technical and rare conditions. For this section of qualifying conditions, we will focus on the more common disorders found in the community at large.
Examples of incurable neurodegenerative diseases include:
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, a neurodegenerative condition that causes memory problems and behavioral changes. Lewy body disease is another common form of dementia.
Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that causes a variety of symptoms, including tremors, muscle stiffness, and slow movement.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that attacks the neurons that control voluntary muscle movement. ALS causes you to gradually lose control of voluntary movements, such as chewing and walking.
Huntington’s disease causes certain neurons in your brain to waste away. Early symptoms may include clumsiness or balance problems. Over time, this disease may leave you unable to walk, talk, or swallow. As the disease progresses, behavioral and emotional problems become more severe.
Spinal muscular atrophy attacks the neurons in your spinal cord that control voluntary movement. This can lead to problems walking, crawling, breathing, and swallowing.
Peripheral neuropathy causes pain and weakness in the arms, hands, legs, and feet due to damage to the nerves in the brain or spinal cord. There are many different types of peripheral neuropathy, but the most common is diabetic neuropathy.
CTE is a degenerative condition that is the direct result of repeated head trauma. Athletes, particularly football players, are at an increased risk of the condition.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, occurs when the coating that protects the nerve endings starts to deteriorate. Vision problems, cognitive dysfunction, and chronic fatigue are common symptoms of MS.
Muscular dystrophy is a degenerative disease that causes progressive loss of muscle function. Over time, muscle mass begins to deteriorate and leads to potentially serious complications, including breathing problems.
Research shows that medical cannabis has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects on patients with neurodegenerative disorders. That means medical cannabis reduces the production of inflammatory chemicals in your brain that may worsen symptoms and protects neurons from damage.
While these diseases have no cure, medical marijuana can relieve pain and reduce certain symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, including sleep disturbances, spasticity, and mood changes.
Texas residents with incurable neurodegenerative diseases are eligible for low-dose THC through the Compassionate Use Program.
Low-THC cannabis contains less than 0.5% THC and doesn’t get you “high.” Caregivers may legally obtain medical cannabis for patients who aren’t able to visit a dispensary themselves.
Dr. Kendrick reviews your symptoms and medical history in a telemedicine appointment. If she determines that medical marijuana is an appropriate treatment, she writes a prescription that you can take to a dispensary to obtain the medicine.
For compassionate relief from symptoms of incurable neurodegenerative diseases, call Compassionate Telemedicine, or book an appointment online today.