By Dr. Craig Hauser, Kannavis Medical Director
Numbness, vision loss, tremors, unexplained fatigue, and depression.
These are just some of the symptoms that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmunedisorder affecting the central nervous system, experience every day.
As the most widespread neurological condition in young adults today, researchers haven’t fully understood its cause, rates of progression, and specific cures. As a result, current MS treatments areheavily focused on managing symptoms.
Medical cannabis is one of these MS treatments that looks promising.
In this short article, you’ll learn about the recent research findings on how cannabis can help MS patients who wish to opt for a more natural, safer way to manage symptoms.
Cannabis: A Safer, More Natural Alternative to Opiates
When anyone suffering from MS symptoms has exhausted alternative treatment options, such as an injection-type treatment like Interferon beta-1a, medical marijuana saves the day!
Cannabis for multiple sclerosis has been particularly helpful for pain relief, reduced spasticity, and improved sleep and mood.
As of March 2018, multiple sclerosis (or any of its derivative symptoms such as chronic pain or spasms) is one of the qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card across 29 states and counting.
Meanwhile, people who reside in pot-unfriendly states are left with no option but to use opiates, which has proved to be addictive. Additional side effects of opiate dependence include nausea, vomiting, constipation, sedation, and respiratory depression which could be fatal.
What the Research Has to Say
For a start, it’s worth noting that the specific benefits related to marijuana use for MS are still under investigation.
However, here’s what established research findings have to say so far about cannabis use in the management of MS symptoms:
- Cannabis comprising a fairly equal CBD: THC ratio may help alleviate pain and muscle spasticity. CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found naturally in both the Hemp plant and the Marijuana plant. CBD is non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive compound that WON’T actually get you high. Meanwhile, THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is responsible for the “high” when smoking cannabis.
- The American Academy of Neurology has highlighted the efficacy and safety of cannabis in patients with neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis.
- While data is still limited on the effects of cannabis on mobility in patients with MS, there is indirect evidence that reductions in fatigue, pain, and muscle spasticity (which has been shown to respond well to cannabis) may result in improvements in mobility. Ultimately, this will lead to improved quality of life.
- Serious drug interactions have not been seen with CBD in combination with any other drugs. Further studies are recommended.
There are approximately 400,000 people in the United States (and 2.5 million people worldwide) who currently live with MS. With an estimated 10,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States every year, there’s a clear need for more research on medical cannabis and MS. Another terrible news is that over half of MS patients will likely develop depression and are twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population.