A loss of bladder control that may occur due to several biological factors such as primary polydipsia, central or nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, polyuria, etc. is referred to as UI or urinary incontinence. While polyuria usually causes increases the frequency and urgency to urinate, it does not necessarily lead to urinary incontinence. Colas, caffeine, and other stimulate the bladder. In men over the age of 40, an enlarged prostate or sometimes, even prostate cancer may be responsible for this condition. Radiation and certain types of drugs can also cause incontinence.
Many clinical trials conducted recently indicate that medical cannabis based cannabinoid therapy may reduce the incidence of the distressing, embarrassing, and rather common problem of urinary incontinence. This disorder has a profound impact on the overall quality of life and though it is a treatable medical condition, the underlying embarrassment discourages and prevents people from reporting this problem to medical practitioners. There are several other diseases such as spina bifida, MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Parkinson’s disease as well as spinal cord injury and strokes that may interfere with the function of the nerves in the bladder, thereby leading to an involuntary leakage of urine. These diseases trigger nerve damage, weaken the bladder muscles, and cause inflammation.
More than 1 in 10 Americans over 65 years of age are known to suffer from incontinence and women suffer a lot more than men with this problem. Investigators at Oxford’s Centre for Enablement in Britain reported in the February 2003 issue of the journal Clinical Rehabilitation that compared to placebo in patients suffering from MS and spinal cord injury, self-administered doses of whole plant cannabinoid extracts dramatically improved bladder control. These initial findings were followed up by investigators at London’s Institute for Neurology in a pilot and open-label study of medical cannabis or MMJ extracts for bladder dysfunction. A group of 15 patients with advanced multiple sclerosis were tested for the effect that medical marijuana had on their symptoms of urinary incontinence.
Investigators reported that following this cannabinoid based therapy; patients noticed that there was a significant decrease in the number, urgency, and volume of incontinence episodes. Additionally, their problem of nocturia and the overall frequency of the episodes also declined to a great extent. The study concluded that medical cannabis based extracts are not only safe but also an effective treatment method for patients with advanced MS who suffered from urinary incontinence and other problems. The results of this study were confirmed in a randomized, multi-center, placebo-controlled trial in 2006 involving 630 patients who were given oral doses of THC or medical marijuana extracts.
Medical researchers reported that from baseline to the end of treatment, the test subjects experienced as much as a thirty eight percent reduction in incontinence episodes. A 33 percent reduction in the severity of the same symptoms was observed in patients who were administered THC. The clinical effect of cannabis in helping patients cope with their symptoms of incontinence was clearly established. At the 2006 annual meeting of the American Urological Association, preclinical data presented also indicated that cannabis analogs can decrease bladder over-activity and bladder inflammation in animals significantly. Following these reports and the data collected, experts are now recommending the use of cannabinoids as potential ‘second-line’ agents for treating the problem of urinary incontinence in humans.