As someone with several family members, I have some special interest in whether cannabis can treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS). And, I have learned directly from them what little is known about the condition.
In their specific cases, they have responded well to their prescribed medications and lifestyle changes. They are young enough to fight the problem with their youth, but they worry about their futures.
And, we have touched on the question if cannabis can treat MS, but those conversations are confidential.
What I have learned
Multiple sclerosis is not only a mysterious condition but also the money thrown at it hasn’t had much impact. It falls into that bottomless pit of problems they call “autoimmune” conditions. There are hundreds of autoimmune diseases which are enough to tell you that they don’t know what they are talking about.
Normal human functions send killer cells to attack invasive bacteria or viruses. With an autoimmune condition, your immune system attacks even healthy tissues and organs. With MS, your immune system attacks the tissues and cells in and around your Central Nervous System (CNS) to interfere with neurotransmission inside the brain and from the brain to body.
Progressive and potentially disabling, MS affects victims’ quality of life in small and big ways. Some progress has been made, and new victims may avoid the devastating crippling effects that once paralyzed and incapacitated patients.
While the condition is unpredictable, and its symptoms vary, we know that there is chemistry at work in cannabis that may treat the symptoms and triggering events, something worth exploring.
Just the facts
- MS strikes twice as many women as men. And, although children under 18 may suffer, most victims are 20 to 50 years of age.
- MS attacks all ethnic groups, but it is most frequent among Caucasians of Northern European descent.
- MS sees something attack and degrade the myelin sheath that protects nerve fibers. At worse, it severs those fibers; at least, it leaves them scarred or “sclerotic.” And, as these scars multiply along the Central Nervous System, they disrupt the two-way neurotransmission between the brain and spinal cord.
- MS produces non-specific symptoms that are symptomatic of other conditions, too. That makes diagnosis and treatment difficult.
What they don’t know
Patients complain of extreme fatigue, vision problems, bladder and bowel control issues, muscular spasticity, dizziness and vertigo, difficulty with balance and walking. Related symptoms may include sexual dysfunction, cognitive problems, emotional and depression effects, and more. Symptoms may vary and come-and-go. But, they may also increase and multiply over time.
Medical professionals and researchers disagree archly on factors affecting victims, so treatment also follows mistaken leads. There are those who accept that MS is an autoimmune disease. But, others trace genetics leads.
Because MS often appears in the same family lines, the chance of having MS are 2.5 to 5 percent among those having a family member with MS. It suggests that victims are born with genetics predisposed to the autoimmune condition.
Other research follows the correlation between MS and the incidence of traumatic head injuries. Harvard Health saw a 22 percent among young people who ha reported a concussion between ages 10 and 20.
Other studies focus on a connection between MS and the early occurrence of viral infections: the Epstein-Barr virus, the human herpesvirus-6, and the measles virus.
And, some think, since MS afflicts Caucasians, it may be triggered by the Vitamin D in sunlight.
So, you see the problem. With researchers claiming it is autoimmune and others finding it viral, research if at an impasse.
The symptom strategy
With little certainty about causes, the most they can do is treat the symptoms.
- Disease-Modifying Drugs (DMDs) use interferon beta-1a or interferon beta-1b to slow MS’s progression. They reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. And, they may minimize MS-related disability and cognitive decline. Negative side-effects include abdominal pain, depression, flu-like symptoms, tachycardia, thyroid dysfunction, and fetal complications.
- Steroids like Prednisone can reduce the autoimmune system and acute MS episodes. The strategy is to reduce inflammation. But, steroids risk many negative side-effects, including bloating, insomnia, migraines, psychosis, and stomach ulcers.
- Lifestyle changes include increased moderate exercise, nutritional supplements, diet adjustments, reduced caffeine and alcohol intake, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support groups.
So, cannabis offers some alternative
Smoking cannabis is not an alternative or supplement therapy. However, cannabis has elements that address MS symptoms successfully.
GreenState says, “While THC can leave patients feeling ‘high,’ when it’s combined with enough CBD, the psychoactive effects disappear.” This entourage effect has a research record for reducing inflammation. The same balance of THC and CBD can reduce spasticity, relieve depression, control mood swings, and calm smooth muscle contractions.
Cannabis also addresses these symptoms without the negative side-effects described earlier.
Can cannabis treat multiple sclerosis?
Cannabis does not cure multiple sclerosis. But, it can effectively treat symptoms and improve the quality of life for MS patients. They must research the most effective strains and intake options.
- Lord Jones High CBD Pain & Wellness Formula offers a luxurious, rich, soothing, richly penetrating lotion for massaging into painful areas.
- Kiva sells flavored chocolate bars that are sourced with high CBD content and are labeled clearly with ingredients and dosage.
- Garden Society pitches delicious vitamin-infused candies with high CBD content and detailed ingredients and dosage labeling.
- Chong's Choice CBD is a new line of edibles, oils, and vaping fluids developed from high CBD sources.
- Dirty Lemon is a calming, non-psychoactive blend formulated with the highest quality CBD.
You’ll find CBD-infused beers, teas, cookies, and more ways to consume without smoking cannabis.
Any cannabis therapy should be integrated with medically supervised care. You should be alert to any contraindications in using cannabis with other medications, and any use should be moderate. Finally, you must remember that edibles affect you differently than smoked marijuana, so you want to monitor your intake carefully.