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Neurofibromatosis is a group of genetic disorders that primarily affect the growth and development of nerve cell tissues. These conditions cause tumors to form on nerve tissue, which can lead to a wide range of symptoms and complications, including skin abnormalities, bone deformities, and neurological issues. There are three main types of neurofibromatosis: Type 1 (NF1), Type 2 (NF2), and schwannomatosis, each with distinct characteristics and varying degrees of severity. Neurofibromatosis is typically diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood and requires lifelong monitoring and management. Treatment options depend on the type and severity of the condition and may involve surgery, medication, and various therapies.

What is Neurofibromatosis?

Neurofibromatosis is a group of genetic disorders characterized by the growth of benign tumors on nerve tissues. The three main types of neurofibromatosis are Type 1 (NF1), Type 2 (NF2), and schwannomatosis, each with distinct symptoms and manifestations.


The symptoms of neurofibromatosis vary depending on the type:

  1. NF1:
    • Café-au-lait spots: Light brown skin patches
    • Freckling in the armpits or groin area
    • Lisch nodules: Small, harmless bumps on the iris of the eye
    • Neurofibromas: Benign tumors that grow on nerves or under the skin
    • Bone deformities, such as scoliosis or bowing of the legs
    • Learning disabilities and attention problems
  2. NF2:
    • Hearing loss, typically starting in late teens or early adulthood
    • Tinnitus: Ringing or buzzing in the ears
    • Balance problems and dizziness
    • Facial weakness or numbness
    • Schwannomas: Benign tumors that form on the nerve sheath, often affecting the auditory nerves
  3. Schwannomatosis:
    • Multiple schwannomas, except on the vestibular nerve (associated with hearing)
    • Chronic pain, which can be widespread or localized


Neurofibromatosis is caused by genetic mutations. In many cases, these mutations are inherited from an affected parent, but they can also occur spontaneously without any family history of the disorder.

  1. NF1: A mutation in the NF1 gene on chromosome 17
  2. NF2: A mutation in the NF2 gene on chromosome 22
  3. Schwannomatosis: Mutations in the SMARCB1 or LZTR1 genes


There is currently no way to prevent neurofibromatosis, as it is a genetic condition. However, individuals with a family history of the disorder can undergo genetic counseling and testing to better understand their risks and reproductive options. For those already diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, regular medical monitoring and early intervention can help manage symptoms, detect complications, and improve overall quality of life. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management, can also support overall well-being for individuals with neurofibromatosis.

Medical Marijuana as a Treatment for Neurofibromatosis

While there is limited research specifically on the use of medical marijuana for neurofibromatosis, it may potentially help manage some symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected by the condition.

How does medical marijuana help?

Medical marijuana could potentially aid in managing the following symptoms related to neurofibromatosis:

  1. Pain relief: Certain cannabinoids have demonstrated analgesic properties that may help reduce chronic pain associated with tumors and nerve involvement.
  2. Anti-inflammatory effects: Medical marijuana can help decrease inflammation, which may contribute to the growth or discomfort of neurofibromas.
  3. Neuropsychiatric symptom management: Medical marijuana may help alleviate mood disturbances, anxiety, or sleep issues often associated with this condition.
  4. Muscle spasticity: Medical marijuana can potentially help reduce muscle stiffness or spasms in individuals with neurofibromatosis.

Cannabinoids and Terpenes for Neurofibromatosis

Some specific cannabinoids and terpenes may be particularly effective in addressing symptoms related to neurofibromatosis:

  1. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): THC is known for its psychoactive effects but also possesses pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, which could help manage discomfort and inflammation associated with neurofibromatosis.
  2. CBD (cannabidiol): CBD has demonstrated significant pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anxiolytic effects without causing psychoactive side effects, making it a promising option for symptom management in neurofibromatosis patients.
  3. Beta-caryophyllene: This terpene has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, potentially providing additional support for individuals with neurofibromatosis.
  4. Linalool: Linalool, a terpene with a floral scent, possesses sedative, anxiolytic, and antispasmodic properties that may help alleviate neuropsychiatric symptoms and muscle spasticity in individuals with neurofibromatosis.

It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional experienced in cannabinoid medicine when considering medical marijuana as a treatment for managing neurofibromatosis-related symptoms. They can help determine the appropriate strains, ratios of cannabinoids, and dosages tailored to an individual’s specific needs and circumstances. Further research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects and efficacy of medical marijuana in managing neurofibromatosis symptoms and side effects.

Dosage and Consumption Methods

Recommended dosage:

Figuring out the right dose of medical marijuana can be hard because people’s reactions to cannabinoids and terpenes can be very different. Factors such as the specific condition being treated, the patient’s weight, metabolism, and prior experience with cannabis all play a role in determining the right dosage.
Most of the time, it is best to start with a low dose and slowly increase it until you get the effects you want while minimising any possible side effects. For patients who are new to medical marijuana, starting with 2.5–5 mg of THC or CBD and slowly titrating upwards is often advised.

However, consulting a healthcare professional experienced in medical marijuana is essential to developing a personalised dosing plan tailored to the patient’s needs.

Consumption methods:

There are several methods of consuming medical marijuana, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Some common consumption methods include:

  1. Inhalation (smoking or vaping): Inhalation provides rapid onset of effects, usually within minutes, making it suitable for patients requiring immediate relief. However, smoking may pose respiratory risks, while vaping has been associated with lung injuries in some cases.
  2. Oral ingestion (edibles, capsules, tinctures): Ingesting medical marijuana provides longer-lasting effects compared to inhalation but has a slower onset, typically taking 30 minutes to 2 hours for effects to be felt. This method is suitable for patients requiring sustained relief but may require careful dosing to avoid overconsumption.
  3. Topical application (creams, balms, patches): Topicals can provide localised relief for conditions such as arthritis or skin disorders without producing psychoactive effects. The onset of action and duration of effects can vary depending on the product formulation and individual absorption rates.
  4. Sublingual administration (tinctures, dissolvable strips): Sublingual products are absorbed through the mucous membranes under the tongue, providing rapid onset of effects without the need for inhalation or ingestion. This method offers discreet consumption and precise dosing.

Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card

Why get a medical marijuana card?

Getting a medical marijuana card is helpful for patients who are looking for other ways to treat their conditions.

  1. Legal protection: A medical marijuana card allows patients to possess, use, and in some cases, cultivate cannabis for medical purposes, within their state’s legal limits.
  2. Access to quality products: Medical marijuana dispensaries offer a wide range of tested and regulated cannabis products, ensuring patients receive safe and effective medication.
  3. Tax savings: In some states, medical marijuana patients are exempt from certain taxes applied to recreational cannabis sales.
  4. Professional guidance: Medical marijuana cardholders have access to healthcare professionals who can provide personalised recommendations, dosing advice, and ongoing support.

How to apply:

The process of obtaining a medical marijuana card varies by state but generally involves the following steps:

  1. Consult with Marijuana recommendation doctors to determine if medical marijuana is appropriate for your condition and obtain a written recommendation.
  2. Complete an application with the required documentation, including proof of residency, identification, and the healthcare professional’s recommendation.
  3. Submit the application to the appropriate state agency, along with any required fees.
  4. Await approval and issuance of the medical marijuana card.

Risks and Side Effects

Potential risks:

While medical marijuana can offer relief and improve the quality of life for many patients, it also carries certain risks and side effects. Some potential risks associated with medical marijuana use include:

  1. Dependency and addiction: Although the risk of addiction is considered lower than that of opioids or alcohol, some individuals may develop a dependency on cannabis.
  2. Impaired cognitive function: THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, can impair memory, attention, and reaction times, particularly with prolonged or heavy use.
  3. Respiratory issues: Smoking cannabis can cause respiratory problems, including bronchitis and lung irritation. Vaping has also been linked to lung injuries in some cases.
  4. Mental health concerns: High doses of THC or predisposition to mental health disorders can lead to increased anxiety, paranoia, or exacerbate existing mental health conditions.
  5. Drug interactions: Medical marijuana may interact with other medications, either enhancing or diminishing their effects. It is essential to discuss potential drug interactions with a healthcare professional before starting medical marijuana therapy.


Medical marijuana might not be right for every patient, especially those who already have certain health problems or risk factors. Contraindications to medical marijuana use may include:

  1. Personal or family history of substance abuse or addiction
  2. Severe liver or kidney disease
  3. Severe cardiovascular disease
  4. Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  5. History of psychosis or other severe mental health disorders
  6. Allergies or hypersensitivity to cannabis or its components

Legal Status

Where is it legal?

In the United States, the laws about medical marijuana are always changing. Currently, over 30 states and the District of Columbia allow its use under certain conditions. Each state has its own rules and a list of medical conditions that are allowed to use medical marijuana.

Even though some states have made medical marijuana legal, it is still illegal at the federal level because it is a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

This difference between state and federal laws can make it harder for medical marijuana patients to get jobs, find housing, or travel across state lines, among other things. Patients should research their state’s guidelines and remain aware of potential legal risks.


Medical marijuana could help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for many people with long-term or debilitating illnesses.

When thinking about this treatment option, it’s important to know the right dose, how to use it, how to get a medical marijuana card, possible risks, side effects, and legal status.

Work closely with a doctor or nurse who knows a lot about medical marijuana to find out if it is a good and safe choice for your needs.

As the legal landscape surrounding medical marijuana continues to evolve, staying informed about changing regulations and guidelines is essential to ensuring responsible and compliant use.

As the field of medical marijuana continues to evolve, it’s crucial for patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to stay informed about the latest research and developments. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current landscape, but it’s always important to consult with healthcare providers for personalized advice.

Note: This article’s content is provided for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional legal or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or queries regarding laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult a lawyer, physician, or other licensed practitioner.