A Multi-faceted Approach to Treating Multiple Sclerosis with Marijuana
Medical marijuana has grown drastically in terms of influence over the past couple of years. Much of this growth is based on the fact that newer medical applications of cannabis are being discovered continuously; and what accompanies the discovery of more medical applications of cannabis is an increase in demand. This has been the driving force behind the acceptance of cannabis in many regions of the world. The majority are embracing the medical benefits of cannabis and forgoing old belief systems of demonizing cannabis.
In this article, I’ll drill down on one of the possible medical applications of cannabis – Multiple Sclerosis. I’ll talk about the approach with which cannabis can be beneficial for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, what numerous works of research say, and so on.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that involves the deterioration of fatty proteins that protect the nerve cells. The effects of this condition are devastating on the exposed nerve cells. They lose all forms of functionality which in turn affects the body in different ways. It results in pain, loss of motion, inflammation, fatigue, depression, and ultimately a low quality of life.
Multiple sclerosis is also characterized by stiffness of the muscles which is generally known as spasticity. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, spasticity is a common feature of people suffering from MS. This stiffness is expressed in the legs, groins, and around the buttocks. It also occurs around the region of the back but it is less popular among MS patients. This affects 90% of MS patients and it generally affects posture.
Over 2 million people are diagnosed with MS worldwide. US alone houses over 1 million people diagnosed with MS. It should be noted that the majority of the drugs generally used for treating MS are not able to cure the symptoms and some also have adverse side effects. Anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, pain relief drugs, and tranquilizers are common types of drugs used to mediate the symptoms of the condition.
The multi-faceted approach of cannabis to MS
Cannabis has been studied for possible effects on neurological diseases largely through the action of cannabinoids. Some of the cannabinoids present in cannabis directly or indirectly affect the endocannabinoid system which mediates some actions in the brain. Cannabis is also effective in dealing with some of the common symptoms that plague patients of MS. This provides the basis for the multi-faceted approach of cannabis when it comes to MS. It affects and attacks multiple symptoms that characterize MS simultaneously.
A study has shown that cannabinoids embedded in cannabis have an effect on alleviating spasticity. The study showed that the entourage effect of the cannabinoids improves the conditions of the spasticity. Another study in 2000 involving a 30 years-old man suffering from MS showed the effectiveness of cannabis for improving the condition. The man was given 5mg of THC to help with his constant tremors. After a considerable period of treatment, the observation of the study was that the head movement of the man reduced with lesser tremors. Also, his handwriting became better after the treatment period. This shows the possible effects of cannabis in alleviating muscle spasms and body tremors that plague patients suffering from MS.
A double-blind study was also carried out on 572 people with MS. The study was conducted to show the efficacy of cannabis extracts in treating symptoms of MS. Sativex was given as the oral cannabis extract and the patients were evaluated on different parameters. The parameters of evaluation include spasm frequency score, level of sleep disturbance, mean spasticity numeric scale, and the impression by the clinicians. The results of the study which was also placebo-controlled were largely in favor of the cannabis extract. The researchers in the study identified the ability of cannabis in dealing with the symptoms of MS.
Effectiveness of cannabis in dealing with the symptoms of MS
An Italian study presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting showed the effectiveness of CBD and THC in treating spasticity. 1845 patients were observed for one month and the results were documented after they were treated with CBD and THC. 81.4% of the patients had more than 20% in the numerical scale for spasticity. 40.2% showed more than a 30% increase for the numerical scale of spasticity showing the effectiveness of the cannabinoids.
- Pain relief
Cannabis has widely been used for pain relief in different types of ailments. The entourage effect of THC and CBD makes it beneficial for giving relief from pain that comes with MS. This helps to make the condition more bearable and improves the condition of living. It is also best that the cannabis strain that may be adopted for this purpose has a high level of CBD.
The cannabinoids embedded in cannabis helps to remove the disturbances that hinder sleep. By creating a relaxed and calm mood in the mind, cannabis helps to deal with insomnia which is one of the symptoms of MS.
Inflammation is a product of the response of the immune system. Cannabis modulates this immune reaction reducing the development of inflammation which is also one of the symptoms of MS.
Need for more research
Though preliminary signs already show considerable evidence in favor of the efficacy of cannabis for MS, care must still be taken. The promising studies still need to be backed up by a considerable amount of clinical evidence before it can be finalized. Doctors are already prescribing cannabis for patients having issues with pain, muscle spasms, and tremors. This means that it’s just a matter of time before there’s sufficient evidence to back up the use of cannabis for treating multiple sclerosis.
The truth is that there is still so much to do when it comes to cannabis and MS. However, early signs show that considerable effort is being put in to ensure that all the necessary corners are fully covered. While more research is being done, care should be taken by cannabis users when it comes to the use of cannabis for MS. it is also advisable that you visit a medical cannabis specialist for necessary info about the use of marijuana for MS.