Huntington’s Disease and Medicinal Cannabis: A West Virginia Approach


Huntington’s disease is a genetic condition that causes the progressive loss of brain cells. Patients with Huntington’s disease may experience uncontrolled movements, speech difficulties, depression, anxiety, problems with memory and concentration, and insomnia.

Treatment usually involves managing complications and providing support to alleviate stress on patients. There is no conclusive treatment for Huntington’s disease, but medical cannabis is increasingly recognized for its positive effects on treating Huntington’s disease symptoms. Although its medical benefits are not yet conclusive, patients undertaking medical marijuana trials have experienced relief for various symptoms.

How Does Cannabis Help in Managing Symptoms of Huntington’s Disease?

Patients suffering from Huntington’s disease will experience difficulty in moving and performing daily activities. Involuntary jerking or writhing movements (chorea) and muscle problems (dystonia) are only some of the most common symptoms. Huntington’s disease patients may be prescribed medical marijuana by a licensed physician if no other standard treatment was proven successful.

Since the symptoms of Huntington’s disease will vary depending on the individual, it is important to first understand your situation and how medical marijuana could improve your case. A licensed physician can determine whether your condition qualifies during an evaluation. They are also the ones responsible for supplying a written recommendation if you are planning on obtaining a medical marijuana card.

Medical marijuana can be prescribed for numerous conditions and symptoms. In West Virginia, Huntington’s disease is listed as a medical condition qualifiable for receiving medical marijuana as a treatment.

Pain Management

Pain is a common symptom among Huntington’s disease patients and is also one of the areas where patients have reported improvements during medical marijuana trials. As opposed to some standard treatment medication, medical marijuana can be prescribed for a longer period of time.

Tremors and Seizures

Cannabinoids can ease seizures, and provide relief for tremor-like symptoms.

Huntington’s disease often leads to uncontrollable tremors and seizures caused by the loss of brain cells. Studies have shown that cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help to slow down the degradation of brain cells and help the patient relax.

Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can often appear in patients with Huntington’s disease.

Sleep Patterns

Sleep disorders and insomnia are common in people suffering from Huntington’s disease. It is commonly caused by stress or the side effects of the medications prescribed to manage the symptoms.

Medicinal cannabis was found to improve sleep quality in patients with Huntington’s disease. Both CBD and THC can have a sedative effect on patients, however, if you are new to THC, you might be experiencing the opposite, that is a long time falling asleep.

Muscle Spasticity

Medical marijuana can help patients deal with muscle spasticity. Involuntary jerking and muscle stiffness are common symptoms that arise from Huntington’s disease. Recent studies have shown that participating patients have sometimes experienced immediate relief in these symptoms after consuming medical marijuana.

Loss Of Appetite

Huntington’s disease is associated with an increased risk of malnutrition, and an increase in appetite is one way to overcome this problem. Medicinal cannabis can stimulate appetite among people with Huntington’s disease by decreasing nausea and vomiting.

How Can I Access Medical Marijuana in WV?

To legally purchase medical marijuana for your medical condition, you will need to apply for a WV medical marijuanas card. To do so, a state-licensed physician show evaluates you and determines whether your condition is valid for receiving medical marijuana treatment. Only with their written recommendation, you can proceed to apply for a card.

You must also be a resident of West Virginia, and you will be asked to show proof of residency during the application process. If you are not 21 years of age, a caregiver or a legal guardian will have to represent you during the application. They must also hold a medical marijuana card to be fully authorized to purchase and administer medical marijuana on your behalf.


People with Huntington’s experience severe involuntary movements, such as shaking, facial grimacing, and writhing. Medicinal cannabis can be an excellent complementary treatment to manage some of the symptoms of Huntington’s disease that may not be treated with standard medication long-term.

Although no conclusive medical research has yet been published, medical marijuana was found to be highly effective in treating some of the symptoms generated by Huntington’s Disease. Nevertheless, before getting a medical marijuana card in West Virginia, you must obtain a certificate from a state-licensed physician that verifies your medical condition as qualifying.


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