Medical Marijuana For Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease primarily of the nervous system The condition is characterized by inflammation, the formation of “plaques” in the central nervous system and destruction of the myelin sheaths which cover and protect nerves throughout the body. The damage to neurons in turn prevents them from repairing and functioning properly to transmit nerve signals.
The use of cannabis in the management of MS originates from the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids, in conjunction with their analgesic properties. The therapeutic properties of cannabis coupled with the mild side effects in contrast to conventional medications has led many MS patients to explore the option of medical marijuana.
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
MS can have ranging symptoms associated with neurological damage, the extent, type, and severity of the symptoms is contingent on the location of damage to the nervous system. Symptoms include numbness and tingling (paresthesia), pain, tremors, muscle weakness, muscle spasms (spasticity), and changes to specific functions like walking (ataxia) or swallowing, and more.
The most common early signs of MS can include:
- Tingling or numbness
- Vertigo (dizziness, loss of balance, nausea/vomiting, ringing in ears, etc.)
- Pain sensations, particularly in the chest, arms, or legs
- Difficulty paying attention
- Bladder infections
Medical marijuana is recognized in published literature as being effective in the management of paraesthesia, pain (acute and chronic), ataxia, spasticity and tremors.
Lifelong MS Symptoms
Unfortunately there is no known cure for MS and it is a lifelong condition. Over time it can affect your brain, spinal cord, eyes, and other bodily functions, although everyone diagnosed with MS may experience symptoms differently. There are four types of MS:
Relapsing-Remitting MS (the most common type), Secondary-Progressive MS, Primary-Progressive MS and Progressive-Relapsing MS (the most rare type). Common symptoms include:
- Muscle spasms
- Issues balancing/lack of coordination
- Blurred vision
- Bladder infections
- Trouble speaking
- Memory loss
- And more
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Relieving MS Symptoms With Medical Marijuana
Several randomized control trials (RCTs) have been published on the efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoids in the management of symptoms associated with MS. Patients in these trials have demonstrated significant reductions in spasticity and pain symptoms. In a 2013 randomized control trial (RCT) Corey-Bloom et al. determined that smoked cannabis reduced patient spasticity by approximately 25% in comparison to placebo.
The same study had patients reporting a near 50% reduction in pain. More research is required to investigate the ideal potency of both Δ-THC and CBD in symptom management of MS, however studies have indicated that patients report better symptom management with medicine containing 12.0% Δ-THC over medicine with lower concentrations of Δ-THC.
Medical Marijuana Can Help People With MS Gain Control Of Their Bladder Again
Our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids, yes the same compound found in cannabis, and many of those cannabinoid receptors are found along our bladder walls and incontinence is something often experienced by someone diagnosed with MS whether its feeling like they constantly have to go throughout the day, or because the nerve damage to their spinal cord has impacted their bladder control.
People are shocked when they find out cannabis oil can impact their bladder function by improving the muscle and nerve function along the bladder walls. Cannabis oil can also act as a laxative and help relieve any pain or discomfort associated with constipation.