Mitochondrial disease is a wide range of conditions that affects each person differently. Some mitochondrial disorders are severe or even deadly, while others have a much smaller impact on daily life. Because many people’s mitochondrial illness symptoms vary considerably from one day to the next, establishing a healthy routine may be difficult. Mitochondrial illness symptoms can change drastically from one day to the next for many individuals, making it tough to create a healthy regimen. Mitochondrial disease is also connected to the development of a variety of additional health problems.
Mitochondrial diseases have a dismal survival rate and are difficult to treat. Medical marijuana may help those who suffer from the ups and downs of mitochondrial disease. Cannabis can aid in the alleviation of a variety of symptoms associated with mitochondrial illness as well as other medical issues linked to this issue. If you suffer from a mitochondrial disease, medical cannabis may be the cure you’ve been searching for.
What Is Mitochondrial Disease?
Mitochondrial diseases affect the structures of a person’s cells, leading to faulty mitochondria. The mitochondria are organelles discovered in all multicellular organisms’ cells. Heart and muscle cells only contain mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondria are frequently referred to as the “cell’s power plant.” They perform numerous important functions that ensure that the body runs smoothly.
Mitochondria are tiny structures found in cells that convert food into energy, or adenosine triphosphate (ATP), via an enzymatic process called oxidative phosphorylation. ATP is required by cells to function and is produced through oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondria also have a role in cholesterol metabolism, heme synthesis rate control, and liver ammonia detoxification. Overall, mitochondria fulfil a vital yet intricate function in keeping bodily equilibrium.
When a person’s mitochondria are not operating correctly, their cells can only generate a limited amount of energy and are unable to create RNA and DNA necessary for growth and function. Cells plagued with mitochondrial failure suffer harm or perish as a result of the condition. This might result in numerous systems in the body failing, such as the respiratory, endocrine, or cardiovascular system. Mitochondrial diseases that are most severe include those that affect the brain, muscles, or nerve tissue since these types of cells require more energy and rely more on mitochondrial function for proper functioning. Mitochondrial disease appears differently in each patient depending on which cells it affects.
Causes of Mitochondrial Disease
Mitochondrial diseases are caused by inherited or spontaneous gene changes that alter the function of the proteins and RNA molecules in the mitochondria. These changes can happen in either nDNA — which is present inside a cell’s nucleus — or mtDNA, which is located outside of a cell’s nucleus. Mitochondrial illnesses are usually hereditary, and they’re more common among kids than adults. Other family members or siblings frequently have mitochondrial disease if you have inherited DNA mutations. Mitochondrial diseases are quite rare, affecting one in 4,000 people worldwide. The first symptom is generally before the age of 20, although it can occur later in life. Mitochondrial diseases caused by external factors such as infections, chemicals, drugs, certain medicines and unhealthy lifestyles are less common. mitochondria n a cell’s power plant
Symptoms of Mitochondrial Disease
Mitochondria are extremely important in the cells, performing a wide variety of functions. Due to the many roles played by mitochondria in the cells and the numerous ways that they may fail, there are hundreds of different mitochondrial diseases. Each of these situations manifests its own set of symptoms and appears differently from patient to patient. In most cases, only one body system is impacted, but in some patients, mitochondrial failure happens only in certain tissues, organs or cell types.
Mitochondrial disease is difficult to diagnose because medical experts are uncertain about the connection between the mutation pattern and the resultant symptoms. Two people whose mtDNA has identical changes may experience varied symptoms. On the other hand, two patients with different mitochondrial mutations might have the same symptom profile. As a result, mitochondrial illness can be challenging to identify.
Here are some of the most frequent symptoms of mitochondrial failure, regardless of the kind of mitochondrial disease:
- Severe developmental delays and poor growth
- Visual and hearing problems
- Speech impairment
- Loss of motor control
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Increased susceptibility to infection
- Digestion problems and constipation
- Respiratory problems
- Autism or autistic features
- Neurological problems
Effects of Mitochondrial Disease
Mitochondrial disease has a variety of other complications as well. Mitochondria are involved in proper nerve functioning since neurons require a lot of energy to function. Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias, can be caused by mitochondrial failure in neurons. Mitochondrial dysfunction is also seen in many other illnesses, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Gastro-intestinal disorders
- Autoimmune disorders
- Metabolic disorders
While it’s unclear whether mitochondrial dysfunction is the underlying cause of other diseases, mitochondrial failure or damage can be observed in these illnesses.
Current Treatments for Mitochondrial Disease
Mitochondrial diseases have no cure yet, therefore the treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms and slowing or stopping the disease’s progression. Effective therapies already exist for the symptoms and effects of mitochondrial disorders in certain patients. Seizures can be treated with seizure medicine, as an example, for those who have a mitochondrial disease and experience seizures as a symptom. Other people with a mitochondrial disorder must use a variety of treatments depending on their specific set of symptoms.
Here are some of the most popular mitochondrial disease treatments, both conventional and alternative, for you to consider.
- Vitamins and supplements: Some vitamins and medications may help people with mitochondrial disease enhance their energy levels. The oxidizing agent l-carnitine can improve mitochondrial function by boosting ATP production in the mitochondria. When a patient’s mitochondria are unable to create enough ATP on their own, creatine supplements can be taken to increase their ATP stockpiles. Finally, patients may benefit from coenzyme Q10 supplements, which help mitochondria produce ATP. Vitamins and medicines, on the other hand, have not been thoroughly researched for mitochondrial disease treatment and effectiveness varies from one person to another.
- Antioxidant treatments: Antioxidant vitamins and minerals can inhibit the development of mitochondrial diseases by neutralizing the free radicals that result from malfunctioning mitochondrial activity.
- Physical, speech or respiratory therapy: Physical treatment may improve dexterity and expand range of motion for individuals with reduced motor abilities. Physical therapy can also aid in the improvement of dexterity and range of movement by improving speech and breathing.
- Avoidance of stressful factors: Patients with mitochondrial disease should follow a healthy lifestyle by avoiding cigarettes and alcohol. MSG, which has been shown to cause migraines, might also be avoided. Physiologic stress, such as heat shock, cold shock, hunger or lack of sleep, can exacerbate a patient’s symptoms of mitochondrial disease.
- Dietary changes: Some people with mitochondrial disease may have an appetite that is out of control. These individuals should eat frequently and avoid cutting down on their food intake, as when attempting to lose weight. It’s usually preferable for patients to consume many small meals throughout the day rather than fasting for lengthy periods of time. A high-fat diet can be beneficial for some people, but restricting fat intake can be beneficial for others.
Patients should consult their doctor before beginning any therapies, including dietary modifications, since mitochondrial diseases can vary so greatly.
The Effectiveness of Current Treatments for Mitochondrial Disease
The efficacy of current therapies for mitochondrial disease varies from patient to patient and is dependent on the type of afflicted cells and their severity. Those with lighter mitochondrial problems will have a greater success rate than those with severe mitochondrial issues in general. With therapies expertly developed for each unique set of symptoms, a few patients may experience symptom alleviation and slowed mitochondrial disease development. Other people, on the other hand, do not benefit from personal treatment plans that are supposed to be effective.
On a case-by-case basis, the success of mitochondrial disease therapy is unpredictable. Some patients will notice immediate improvements after treatment, while others may not see benefits until midway through treatment programs. For some people with mitochondrial disease, therapy may help to slow the condition’s progression on a cellular level without providing any noticeable symptom relief.
The treatment for mitochondrial illness varies from person to person, and it may exacerbate the condition in some cases. Mitochondrial disease therapy can’t reverse any damage that has already been done to cells. As a result, people who have already suffered neurological impairment or other serious symptoms might not benefit from treatment except to keep their current state.
Treating Mitochondrial Disease With Medical Marijuana
Mitochondrial diseases can be treated with cannabis because of the antioxidant qualities of some cannabinoids and the capacity of cannabinoids to regulate mitochondrial activity. Cannabinoids may help to balance oxidative stress, which is a natural by-product of mitochondrial function. It’s unavoidable that mitochondria create oxidative stress whenever they transform nutrients into energy. The body may release damaging free radicals that interact with cell membranes, proteins, DNA, and other organelles if oxidative stress is too high. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals to protect against damage from oxidative stress. Because THC and CBD both have antioxidant properties, medicinal marijuana may help to minimize the harm caused by mitochondrial dysfunction through oxidative stress.
Cannabinoids in marijuana may also aid with the maintenance of mitochondrial oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a beneficial indicator to cells that indicates for deteriorated mitochondria and other dysfunctional cell components to be replaced with new ones in moderate amounts. However, if oxidative stress levels become excessively high, they can cause damage to the cell or induce it to self-destruct via apoptosis. Apoptosis and autophagy operate in tandem to keep cells in balance. Damaged cells and free radicals may build up in the body if this natural healing mechanism isn’t operating effectively. This imbalance can lead to a number of illnesses, as well as an increased rate of neurodegeneration.
Mitochondrial disease treatments include marijuana use, which may assist the autophagy/apoptosis balance in cells in a variety of ways. THC in smaller doses can improve mitochondrial activity by interacting with the mitochondrial membrane and stimulating ATP formation. This process also helps to promote cell regeneration by triggering autophagy, which repairs damaged cellular components.THC has anti-inflammatory effects as well, which may explain why it can help with anxiety and inflammation. THC binds to CB1 receptors in the mitochondria, suppressing mitochondrial activity and reducing oxidative stress. Cannabinoids might also slow neurodegeneration and age-related dementia by suppressing their development.
Clinical Studies of Cannabis and Mitochondrial Disease Treatment
Cannabinoids have been studied for their effects on mitochondrial activity in numerous clinical trials. Cannabinoids appear to interact with mitochondria in a manner that improves and controls their function, according to research. These studies lend credence to the notion that cannabis may be used as a therapeutic option for mitochondrial diseases.
A 2012 research published in the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences found that the endocannabinoid system has a multiphasic interaction with mitochondria and regulates mitochondrial activity via a variety of pathways. Endocannabinoids in the body may interact with mitochondria to restore or destroy cells, depending on oxidative stress levels. This may imply that THC and other cannabinoids have the ability to regulate mitochondrial function. A 2007 study published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications found significant effects of THC and two other cannabinoids on mitochondrial function.
A 2014 research in the American Journal of Physiology showed that endocannabinoid system stimulation interacted with mitochondria, suggesting that treatments for mitochondrial diseases that target the endocannabinoid system may provide a benefit.
Cannabinoid interactions with mitochondria in the brain might decrease neuroinflammatory processes that contribute to aging and slow neurodegeneration, according to a 2012 study. It improves motor and cognitive impairment resulting from nervous disorders as well as natural cognitive decline. This research also supported the view that cannabinoids may affect mitochondrial activity to maintain cellular homeostasis.
Medical Marijuana as Treatment for Symptoms of Mitochondrial Disease
Medical marijuana has been demonstrated to improve mitochondrial function in cells, and it may be used to treat a range of mitochondrial illness symptoms and diseases. Medical marijuana can provide comfort and ease the manifestation of mitochondrial disease symptoms for patients suffering from this condition.
The following are some of the advantages of using medical cannabis to treat mitochondrial disease’s symptoms and effects.
- Chronic pain: The most widely accepted usage of medical marijuana is as a pain reliever. Cannabis can help to reduce chronic pain, including back and neck discomfort, muscular soreness, and general physical tiredness.
- Seizures and epilepsy: Cannabis may be an effective treatment for those who are unable to take anti-seizure medications. Medical marijuana can also help people with epilepsy or other seizure disorders cope with their symptoms by reducing the severity and frequency of seizures.
- Diabetes: Medicinal cannabis can assist regulate blood sugar levels and aid in weight reduction in persons with diabetes. Medical marijuana may also reduce the signs of diabetes, including inflammation, neuropathy discomfort, and chronic pain.
- Alzheimer’s disease: Cannabinoids, such as CBD, have been found to increase mitochondrial activity, which helps to slow the effects of aging and neurodegeneration. THC has also been shown to reduce the formation of a toxic plaque in the brain that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. When individuals utilizing medical marijuana improved their memory and cognitive performance.
- Cancer: A number of studies have demonstrated that cannabis may help with the treatment of cancer. Endocannabinoids can send a positive feedback loop into action in the high-stress environment of cancer cells, causing cell death. Cannabis might also aid in treating symptoms associated with cancer, such as tiredness, pain, weakness, and sleeplessness.
- Kidney disease: Cannabis can provide comfort to individuals who have kidney disease by relieving various symptoms such as chronic pain, sleeplessness, nausea and vomiting. Because marijuana has no negative side effects on the kidneys, it is a safe complementary treatment.
- Autoimmune disease: Cannabinoids in medicinal cannabis have the ability to boost the immune system’s performance.
- Migraine headaches: Marijuana can help with the symptoms of chronic migraine headaches, such as nausea and stiffness.
Best Marijuana Treatment for Mitochondrial Disease
Because the effects and symptoms of mitochondrial disease vary considerably from patient to patient, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all medical marijuana cure. High-CBD strains of marijuana, such as Harlequin and Sweet and Sour Widow, might help certain patients. Other patients may benefit more from heavy-THC cannabis, such as Blackberry Kush and White Russian. Patients can also take medical cannabis in a variety of ways to meet their specific requirements. Those who suffer from respiratory issues linked with mitochondrial disease, for example, may choose edibles or topical therapies, whereas a patient suffering from muscular discomfort or loss of motor control might want to smoke or vaporize their medication. Finding the best strain and treatment procedure for mitochondrial disease might take some trial and error until a patient finds the ideal therapy for them.
If you’re considering medical marijuana as a treatment for mitochondrial disease, get in touch with a physician right away. A qualified marijuana doctor will be happy to assist you in determining whether medical marijuana is the best option for you and developing a therapy plan that suits your needs.