The following information is presented for educational purposes only.
Medical Marijuana Inc. provides this information to provide an understanding
of the potential applications of cannabidiol. Links to third party websites
do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Medical Marijuana
Inc. and none should be inferred.
Hydrocephalus is spinal fluid building up in the brain and is a condition
that is most common among infants and older adults. Studies have shown that
marijuana helps improve the secondary symptoms associated with
Overview of Hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus is the condition where fluid accumulates in the ventricles, or
cavities, of the brain. The fluid that builds up is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF),
which surrounds both the brain and spinal cord to keep the brain buoyant,
provide cushioning, moderate pressure and remove waste products. An
imbalance in how much CSF is produced and how much is absorbed in the
bloodstream is what causes hydrocephalus and the buildup of CSF can put
pressure on the brain and cause impairments in function.
Why hydrocephalus develops is still unknown, but according to the National
Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it may result from inherited
genetic abnormalities or developmental disorders.
Common symptoms of hydrocephalus include an unusually large head or a
bulging or tense soft spot on the top of the head, nausea and vomiting,
irritability, seizures, sleepiness, poor feeding, poor balance, headaches,
decline in memory and concentration. The condition, especially in infants,
poses risks to cognitive and physical development.
Surgery, where a shunt is inserted to divert the CNS elsewhere so that it
can be absorbed, is capable of restoring the CSF back to normal levels, but
it commonly requires a variety of methods to comprehensively manage the
symptoms associated with the condition.
Findings: Effects of Cannabis on Hydrocephalus
Medical cannabis can help treat the symptoms associated with hydrocephalus.
Cannabis has shown to be effective at managing seizures, nausea, sleep
problems and pain.
Cannabis has been proven to decrease or prevent nausea and vomiting
(Sharkey, Darmani & Parker, 2014) (Parker, et al., 2015). Two major
cannabinoids found in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)
regulate nausea and vomiting because they activate cannabinoid receptor 1
(CB1) of the endocannabinoid system and activating the CB1 receptor has been
shown to suppress vomiting (Parker, et al., 2003).
CBD has been shown to be a well-tolerated and promising therapeutic
treatment for reducing or even eliminate seizures (Blair, Deshpande &
DeLorenzo, 2015). CBD’s activation of the CB1 receptor dampens the release
of a neurotransmitter and causes an overall reduction in neuronal
excitability (Wallace, Wiley, Martin & DeLorenzo, 2001) (Hoffman & Frazier,
THC and CBD have demonstrated they are both effective at lowering pain
levels caused by a variety of affections, including some cancer, neuropathy,
spasticity, headache, migraines, and other acute pain and chronic pain
conditions (Jensen, Chen, Furnish & Wallace, 2015) (Baron, 2015).
States That Have Approved Medical Marijuana for Hydrocephalus
Currently, only the state of Illinois has
approved medical marijuana specifically for the treatment of hydrocephalus.
However, other states have approved medical marijuana to treat nausea,
seizures and pain. The states that have approved cannabis for nausea include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New
Dakota, Oregon, Rhode
The states that have approved cannabis for the treatment of seizures include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New
Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania (intractable
Island, Tennessee (intractable
seizures), Vermont and Washington.
Several states that have approved cannabis to treat chronic
pain, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New
Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode
Island and Vermont.
The states of Nevada, New
Dakota, Montana, Ohio and Vermont allow
medical marijuana to treat severe
pain. The states of Arkansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington have
approved cannabis for the treatment of intractable
A number of other states will consider allowing medical marijuana to be used
for the treatment of hydrocephalus with recommendation by a physician. These
states include: California (any
debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been recommended
by a physician), Connecticut (other
medical conditions may be approved by the Department of Consumer
Protection), Massachusetts (other
conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician), Nevada (other
conditions subject to approval), Oregon (other
conditions subject to approval), Rhode
conditions subject to approval), and Washington (any
“terminal or debilitating condition”).
D.C., any condition can be approved for medical marijuana as long as a
DC-licensed physician recommends the treatment.
Recent Studies on Cannabis’ Effect on Hydrocephalus
Cannabis significantly improves neuropathic pain that had proven
refractory to other treatments.
The effectiveness of cannabinoids in the management of chronic
nonmalignant neuropathic pain: a systematic review.
Baron, E.P. (2015, June). Comprehensive Review of Medicinal Marijuana,
Cannabinoids, and Therapeutic Implications in Medicine and Headache: What a
Long Strange Trip It’s Been… Headache,
Blair, R.E., Deshpande, L.S., and DeLorenzo, R.J. (2015, September).
Cannabinoids: is there a potential treatment role in epilepsy? Expert
Opinion on Pharmacology,
Hoffman, M.E. and Frazier, C.J. (2013, June). Marijuana, endocannabinoids,
and epilepsy: potential and challenges for improved therapeutic
Hydrocephalus. (2014, April 2). Mayo
Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hydrocephalus/basics/definition/con-20030706.
Hydrocephalus Fact Sheet. (2013, May). National
Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Retrieved from http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/hydrocephalus/detail_hydrocephalus.htm.
Jensen, B., Chen, J., Furnish, T., and Wallace, M. (2015, October). Medical
Marijuana and Chronic Pain: a Review of Basic Science and Clinical Evidence. Current
Pain and Headache Reports, 19(10),
Parker, L.A., Mechoulam, R., Schlievert, C., Abbott, L., Fudge, M.L., and
Burton, P. (2003, March). Effects of cannabinoids on lithium-induced
conditioned rejection reactions in a rat model of nausea. Psychopharmacology,
Parker, L.A., Rock, E.M., Sticht, M.A., Wills, K.L., and Limebeer, C.L.
(2015). Cannabinoids suppress acute and anticipatory nausea in preclinical
rat models of conditioned gaping. Clinical
Pharmacology and Therapeutics,
Sharkey, K.A., Darmani, N.A., and Parker, L.A. (2014). Regulation of nausea
and vomiting by cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. European
Journal of Pharmacology,
Wallace, M.J., Wiley, J.L., Martin, B.R., and DeLorenzo, R.J. (2001,
September 28). Assessment of the role of CB1 receptors in cannabinoid
anticonvulsant effects. European
Journal of Pharmacology,
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