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Posted 01/23/2023 in Health by HappyMD

Medical Cannabis and Mitochondrial Disease

Medical Cannabis and Mitochondrial Disease

Medical Cannabis Effect on Mitochondrial Disease

Mitochondrial complication is one of the most complicated categories of ailment. The condition comes with multiple symptoms that affect patients in different ways. While most mitochondrial complications have a smaller or mild impact on your routine activities, some disorders may be fatal and adversely affect your life. Many mitochondrial disorder patients have reported a dramatic change in their symptoms, making it hard to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle.


While most episodes of this occur independently, experts reveal that some mitochondrial disorders may lead to other severe or debilitating diseases. Reports show that conventional treatment for these conditions has provided varied success. Some treatments have provided positive results, helping to reduce the condition or the adverse effects.


Navigating the ups and downs of mitochondrial disease treatment can be hectic and confusing. If you find choosing the right treatment therapy for these conditions daunting, medical marijuana can be the most effective and natural alternative. Marijuana has multiple properties or components that can help you alleviate a wide range of mitochondrial disease symptoms and related disorders. Medical marijuana may be the best and most effective natural treatment option you’ve been looking for to treat your debilitating mitochondrial disorder.


Let’s understand more about the condition and how to use medical cannabis to alleviate the symptoms.


What is Mitochondrial Disease?


It’s a condition that results or occurs due to improper functioning of the mitochondria in the different body cells. Mitochondria are special organelles in the different body cells, especially among multicellular organisms. Studies show mitochondria exist in all human body cells except red blood cells. Experts refer to the organelle as the cell’s powerhouse as they perform various body functions keeping the system optional and a healthy working body.


The basic function of these organelles in the cell is to convert high-energy molecules, including sugars and amino acids, into usable energy called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) works like the cell’s fuel allowing it to function appropriately. Besides converting molecules, mitochondria are key in other vital body processes. These processes include detoxifying ammonia present in the liver, cholesterol metabolism, synthesizing testosterone or estrogen, and regulating the hemoglobin production rate. Thus, mitochondria are vital in the body; they’re key in maintaining homeostasis or balance in the body.


Unfortunately, when the mitochondria function improperly, the different body cells start producing limited energy. The limited or less energy in the cells makes it hard for the DNA and RNA to function to the optimum levels. Remember, the cell’s RNA and DNA are vital to enhancing various functions and stimulating growth. Due to the interruption of various cell functions, they get injuries or die.


Death or malfunctioning cells affect the whole body system in a particular area, like the cardiovascular, endocrine or respiratory system. The severity of mitochondrial diseases varies, with those affecting the nerve, muscles, and brain tissues being the most severe. The disease might be severe in the body systems as the cells require more to perform their functions. Besides requiring more energy for their functions, these systems or functions rely heavily on mitochondrial activities. Depending on the type of cells the mitochondrial failure or complication affects, the disease will occuring in different forms in the patients or individuals.

 Medical Cannabis and Mitochondrial Disease

What are the Main Causes of Mitochondrial Disorders?


Studies show that mitochondrial disorders result from a spontaneous or inherited gene mutation. The gene mutation complications alter the proper functioning of the RNA and protein molecules in these organelles. The mutation can be present in the nDNA ( DNA in the nucleus of the cell) or the mtDNA ( the DNA present in the mitochondria). Most mitochondrial disorders are genetic and more common in children than adults.


Due to the hereditary nature of the genetic disease, your siblings or close family members might also develop the complication. Studies show that most mitochondrial diseases usually onset before attaining 20 years, while in some rare cases, they come later in life. Furthermore, external causes, such as drug use, environmental toxins, unhealthy lifestyles, some medications, and infection, causes or lead to a small percentage of the disorder. Statistics show that one in 4000 residents in the United States has a mitochondrial disease.


What are the Symptoms of Mitochondrial Disorders?


Mitochondrial disorders come in a wide range of different forms and patterns. The different disease type and pattern occurs due to the diverse mitochondria roles in different body cells and the possible multiple patterns of organelle failure. The different mitochondrial disorders present varying symptoms that look different or unique in different patients. For instance, some patients having the condition will only have mitochondrial failure in some organs, specific tissues, or body cells. However, experts reveal that the disorder affects multiple body systems in most cases.


Despite the numerous studies and research, medical professionals are yet to understand the relationship between the resulting mitochondrial symptoms and the different mutation patterns. In some cases, two or more patients with the same mtDNA and similar mutation may have varying signs. In contrast, two individuals or patients having different mitochondrial mutations exhibit similar symptoms. The differences in these symptoms and mutations make it hard for medics to diagnose these conditions.


While the different mitochondrial diseases are unique, we’ve got some symptoms of the mitochondrial disorder that are the same in all patients. These symptoms include:


● Hearing and visual complications


● Chronic developmental delays or poor growth


● Loss of motor control


● Speech impairment


● Muscle pain or weakness


● Strokes


● Dementia


● Digestion problems, including constipation


● Increased susceptibility to diseases or infection


● Neurological problems


● Autistic features or autism


● Seizures


● Hypoglycemia


● Respiratory problems


Common Effects of the Mitochondrial Disease


Studies reveal that this condition links or may trigger other conditions making them have a wide range of effects. Mitochondria are vital in enhancing the proper functioning of neurons, as these cell parts require a lot of energy to enhance their functions. Thus mitochondrial failure affects the neurons massively, leading to a wide range of degenerative disorders, including dementia, Alzheimer's, etc.


Experts can also diagnose mitochondrial dysfunctions in other ailments. These ailments include:


● Liver diseases


● Cardiovascular complications


● Kidney disease


● Gastrointestinal disorders


● Epilepsy


● Alzheimer's


● Diabetes


● Cancer


● Metabolic disorders


● Autoimmune disorders


While not that mitochondrial disorder causes these conditions, the disease is evident in these health complications.


What are the Current Treatments Alternatives for Mitochondrial Disease?


With the complexity of mitochondrial disease, there is no specific cure for this genetic disorder. Instead of treating the disease, the available treatment aims to slow, halting the disease progression by alleviating the symptoms. Some patients can find it easy to get the appropriate and effective treatment for the different symptoms of the disorder.


For instance, patients exhibiting seizures can consider antiseizure medication to treat the condition. Other patients with mitochondrial complications should consider a wide range of treatments. These treatments help to treat the different sets of symptoms. Below are some examples of treatments you can consider to treat or reduce the impact of the different symptoms. The treatments can also help in slowing down the progression of the disease.


Supplements and vitamins


Studies show that some supplements can help increase the affected cell’s energy levels. For instance, specialized amino acids are vital in boosting the ATP’s production efficiency in the mitochondria. Furthermore, you can also take some creatine supplements to enhance your ATP reserves when your mitochondria are unable to produce enough energy. Lastly, taking other supplements like coenzyme Q10 will help your body to create ATP in the mitochondria. Nevertheless, there is no scientific proof of the effectiveness of supplements and vitamins in alleviating mitochondrial disease, as it varies between different cases and patients.


Antioxidants treatments


The treatment involves using supplements that help you to slow or halt the progress of mitochondrial complications. Different supplements achieve the process by neutralizing the free radicals that the disorder produces.


Respiratory, speech, or physical treatment


You can consider physical therapy to improve dexterity and movement when having impaired motor skills. In addition, therapy can help to preserve or improve your current functioning, breathing, and overall functioning.


Avoidance of stressful factors


Incorporating a healthy lifestyle will be vital when you have mitochondrial complications. A healthy lifestyle begins by keeping off alcohol, cigarettes, and other dangerous activities. In addition, adopt appropriate stress management practices, as studies reveal that physiological stress worsens the symptoms of this condition.


Dietary changes


Experts advise that eating regularly is appropriate when having mitochondrial disease. Avoid altering your meal plan or frequency to various goals like weight loss goals. It’ll be often vital to have small, numerous meals daily and avoid fasting or starving for a long duration. A high diet will work well for some patients while reducing the fat intake will work for others.


With the wide variations and complexity of the disease, it’ll be vital to consult your physician before opting for the particular therapy.


What is the Effectiveness of Conventional Treatment in Alleviate Mitochondrial Disease?


The effectiveness of these therapies varies between patients and the specific type of treatment. The affected cells, body system, and disease severity may also affect the severity. Most therapies tend to be successful when having milder conditions than when the conditions become severe.


You can also experience slowed disease progression or symptom relief by choosing the appropriate treatment programs for these specific symptoms. Even with choosing an effective personalized treatment plan, you should expect more than instant improvement or benefits.


Furthermore, the effectiveness of most conventional or traditional methods will depend on the individual case. In some patients, the treatment will result in immediate therapies, while it may take time (approximately several weeks or months) for the treatment to become effective. The different plans may slow or halt the disease progression effectively in some patients without showing any sign of relief.


Some studies also note that these treatment options for mitochondrial diseases don’t work or halt the disease’s progress. Remember, these treatment options can’t reverse the damage the condition has caused to the cells or body system. Thus, these treatment plans may not work for patients with severe mitochondrial disease leading to damage to the neurological system, as they won't stabilize the condition or body.


Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Mitochondrial Disorders


Marijuana is a well-known plant with a wide range of therapeutic benefits. Many individuals are opting for medical cannabis for mitochondrial complications, as it offers the best antioxidant properties. Besides the antioxidant properties, herbs also help to regulate mitochondrial activity through cannabinoid functioning. Marijuana has numerous cannabinoids that are vital in balancing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the mitochondria function’s byproducts.


The organelle produces oxidative cells as the mitochondria convert different nutrients to energy. Studies show that too high oxidative stress levels in the body result in the system releasing various free radicals. These free and damaging radicals interact with proteins, other organelles, DNA, and cell membranes.


Antioxidants will help prevent oxidative stress from damaging the body system or parts by neutralizing the free damaging radicals. Most marijuana cannabinoids, especially THC and CBD, have multiple antioxidant properties. The cannabinoids’ properties make medical weed a natural and effective way to reduce oxidative stress and related damages resulting from dysfunctional mitochondria.


Studies show the benefits of marijuana cannabinoids in the body to maintain homeostasis or proper oxidative stress. Remember, high oxidative stress levels in the body may result from the different mitochondrial activities in the body. When oxidative stress occurs at moderate levels, it's usually helpful. It works as an indicator to cells signaling for dysfunctional mitochondria and other body parts for the body to replace with new ones.


Nevertheless, excess or too high oxidative stress levels in the body could be dangerous, leading to damage to the cells. High oxidative stress levels could also trigger the well to destroy itself through apoptosis. Remember, apoptosis and autophagy work together to achieve and maintain homeostasis in the body cell. Nevertheless, when the natural regeneration process is working improperly, the free radicals and damaged cells accumulate in the different parts of the body. The accumulation creates an imbalance that leads to the body developing different diseases or increases the rates of neurodegeneration.


You can consider medical cannabis for mitochondrial disorders to help achieve and maintain the apoptosis and autophagy balance in numerous ways. For instance, administering THC in smaller quantities helps to enhance mitochondrial activities. The marijuana cannabinoid enhances these activities by interacting with the organelle’s membrane to promote ATP creation and maintenance of optimal levels.


The interaction with the mitochondria’s membrane helps in the process of cell regeneration. The process triggers autophagy in the cells, helping to repair various damaged parts. Unlike mild or lower doses, high THC doses can result in a decrease in mitochondria activity. The cannabinoid achieves the decrease by binding to the CB1 receptors leading to a decrease in the activity, which decreases the level of oxidative stress. In addition, some cannabis cannabinoids have properties that can suppress neurodegeneration. This process is vital in slowing aging and reducing the risk of dementia onset.


Clinical Research on Marijuana and the Treatment of the Mitochondrial Disorder Treatment


Some researchers and scientists have conducted several clinical studies to check the effects of marijuana cannabinoids on the body’s mitochondrial activity. Most studies show mitochondria especially interact with marijuana cannabinoids to regulate and improve the mitochondrial. The study findings support or back medical cannabis as a safe and valid treatment for the mitochondrial disorder.


For instance, the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society study in 2012 showed that the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) and mitochondria have a multiphasic interaction. The multiphasic interaction leads to the modulation of mitochondrial functions in various ways.


The body’s ECS can easily interact with the mitochondria to destroy or restore the cell. The restoration and destruction will depend on the body’s oxidative stress levels. These findings provide enough evidence to show that THC and other marijuana cannabinoids can help in regulating mitochondrial functioning.


A similar study in 2017 that researchers published in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communication showed the same results. The findings demonstrated similar THC and other marijuana cannabinoid effects to affect or alter the different mitochondria functions.


In 2014, the American Journal of Physiology published a study that suggested stimulating your ECS would help enhance cellular respiration. The ECS stimulation enhanced cellular power by enhancing the interaction. The association suggests that a treatment that targets the ECS provides the best benefits or remedies for mitochondrial disorders.


In addition, another 2012 study focusing on aging revealed that the interaction between mitochondria and cannabinoids helped to suppress neuroinflammatory processes to slow neurodegeneration. The effects helped to improve your cognitive and motor impairment resulting in neurodegenerative complications and declining natural cognition. This also supported the functions of cannabinoids in regulating mitochondrial activities and enhancing homeostasis in cells.


Using Medical Marijuana to Alleviate Symptoms of Mitochondrial Disorders


Besides being effective in regulating mitochondrial activity, medical cannabis also has various properties that are effective in alleviating a wide range of diseases and symptoms resulting from mitochondrial disorders.


Medical marijuana can provide relief or slow down the progress of these symptoms. Let's look at the proven benefits of medical cannabis in treating the effects and symptoms of mitochondrial disorder:


Chronic pain


Medical marijuana is a globally accepted option to treat chronic or severe pain. You can use this effective natural alternative to reduce severe pain, including muscle, back, or neck pain and general body fatigue.


Epilepsy and seizures


Many individuals have used cannabis effectively to treat seizures. Combining medical marijuana and prescription medication helps to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in epilepsy patients.




Medical cannabis has various properties that can help diabetes patients with regulating blood sugar levels and enhance weight loss. In addition, you can use weed to ease various diabetes symptoms, including inflammation, chronic and neuropathic pain.


Alzheimer disease


Marijuana cannabinoids, like CBD, stimulate various mitochondrial activities to slow neurodegeneration and symptoms of aging. Furthermore, studies have shown that THC can prevent the formation of the damaging brain plague, a common sign of Alzheimer's. Scientists reveal that dementia patients using medical marijuana have reported better cognitive functions and improved memory.




Recent study findings show that weed has been showing promising results in treating cancer. Endocannabinoids induce positive feedback loops in high-stress environments or the nature of cancer cells leading to apoptosis. Similarly, marijuana cannabinoid produces the same effects, helping kill cancer cells and enhance cell homeostasis. In addition, weed can help ease other cancer symptoms, including sleeplessness, weakness, pain, and fatigue.


Kidney complications


Medical marijuana can offer the best alternative medication or solution. Weed can help you alleviate a wide range of kidney-related complications, including nausea, chronic pain, and vomiting. Unlike other medications, medical marijuana doesn’t have adverse or debilitating effects on liver functioning, making it a safe supplement.


Migraine headaches


Studies have shown that medical cannabis has been effective in easing chronic migraine headaches. The herb has also been vital in alleviating stiffness and nausea.


Autoimmune diseases


Marijuana cannabinoids can interact with the body’s immune system to prevent autoimmune disorders and improve the system.


The Best Cannabis Treatment for Mitochondrial Disorder


With the varying symptoms and effects of mitochondrial disease between patients, there are numerous medical marijuana options you can consider. For instance, some patients find the best results in high CBD marijuana strains, including Sour Widow, Harlequin, etc. Other patients consider heavy-THC strains, like White Russia and Blackberry Kush, to get the best relief.


Furthermore, there are various marijuana ingestion or consumption methods; you can choose the one suiting your needs. For instance, you can consider topicals or edibles when having respiratory-associated mitochondrial disorders. Alternatively, vaporizing or smoking your medical marijuana will offer an instant solution for loss of motor control or muscle pain. Finding the treatment method and right strain to alleviate mitochondrial disease requires trial & error until you discover the appropriate treatment.


If you’re having difficulties treating mitochondrial disorders, medical marijuana is an effective and safe solution. However, it’ll be wise to consult a qualified and experienced marijuana-friendly physician to evaluate your condition and choose the right medical marijuana for your needs. HappyMD has a wide range of experienced medical marijuana physicians to evaluate the condition and advice on the right treatment. You can also book with us to apply for and get your medical marijuana card online in minutes to start accessing the products.


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