What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that impacts the central nervous system. Specifically, MS causes the immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord which interferes with communication between the brain and the rest of the body. This can cause nerve deterioration and damage. Some of the unpredictable symptoms can include the inability to walk unaccompanied, memory issues, pain, lethargy, blindness, mood swings, numbness, tingling, and even paralysis.
The signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary among patients depending on the nature of nerve damage. Even the length and permanence of the effects of multiple sclerosis vary from patient to patient. The severe nature of this disease require that patients seek treatment. In addition to pharmaceuticals, MS sufferers may seek out natural remedies like cannabis.
What is cannabis?
If you’re here, you already know… a flowering plant that can provide psychoactive and physical effects when consumed.
What is medicinal cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis or medical marijuana is the use of the marijuana plant to treat diseases. According to the United States Pharmacopoeia, cannabis has been used as medicine in the United States for at least 150 years. In brief, it is the same as traditional cannabis, but taken for medical purposes.
The active chemical compound in cannabis is cannabinoids. Cannabinoids include CBD and THC. Cannabinoids are comparable to chemicals made by the body for appetite, memory, movement, and pain. Cannabis aids in treating chronic pain, inflammation, nausea, seizures, muscle spasms, autoimmune disorders, etc.
How is cannabis useful for people with multiple sclerosis?
In states where medical cannabis is legal, MS is recognized as a qualifying condition for legal usage. Research connects cannabis as a multiple sclerosis treatment option. Scientists believe cannabis is highly likely to ease stiffness and muscle spasms associated with MS. In addition, it helps with sleep problems often associated with the disease. Various research studies identify the following potential beneficial effects for people with multiple sclerosis:
- Pain Relief – Research suggests that smoking cannabis and oral cannabis lead to more pain reduction than a placebo. Topical CBD may help relieve muscle and joint aches for people with MS. More research is needed to determine the ideal CBD and THC balance for optimal effectiveness.
- Muscle Control – Cannabis is shown to aid in treating MS-related muscle problems. One study found that oral cannabis extract helped with muscle spasms, but THC most likely did not. Another study linked cannabis and relief from muscle stiffness in people with MS. Further evidence states that cannabis can help with muscle spasticity.
- Bladder Problems – Studies suggest that cannabis may help with symptoms of bladder problems.
Cannabis and Multiple Sclerosis
According to nationalmssociety.org, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society supports the use of cannabis for medical purposes where cannabis is legal. The Society also supports further research to better understand cannabis as a treatment for MS and its symptoms. While research is ongoing, the current research reports that cannabis may lessen pain, aid in muscle problems, and help with bladder issues.
Those suffering from multiple sclerosis should discuss cannabis as a potential treatment option with their doctors. Incorporating cannabis as a treatment may reduce the dependence on other medications. As research advances, it will be interesting to further study the connection between cannabis and multiple sclerosis.