Multiple Sclerosis is a debilitating condition of the brain and spinal cord affecting thousands of people. While cannabis is tipped as great alternative treatment for this condition, further studies to clarify its potential. However, the studies published to date show positivity of cannabis as an effective treatment on MS.
The availability of approved medication (Sativex) in some countries greatly helps MS symptoms. Also, there’s a need for the FDA to approve THC in treating MS-related muscle spasms. While we don’t know about all the effects of cannabis, it may act as a worthwhile supplementary treatment for patients with MS.
Preliminary research suggests that many cannabinoids and terpenes show potential benefits for MS-related symptoms. These cannabinoids include CBN, myrcene, BCP, linalool, limonene, myrcene, BCP, humulene and linalool.
Research on Medical Marijuana for MS
Over the last decade, several studies have focused on the relationship between cannabis and MS, with most results showing a positive relationship.
A meta-analysis of many studies relating to cannabis and MS showed great results. In the study, about 77% of patients report to using fewer opioids to treat pain when they use cannabis as supplemental treatment. There was also a lower usage of anti-anxiety medication (72%) and sleep medications (67%). Generally, the authors of the analysis state that supplementing cannabis may help lessen the use of highly addictive prescription medication. This promising result could potentially play a role in fighting the opioid epidemic in the US.
These studies show a lot of promise. Furthermore, surveys of MS patients show that 25% to 50% of patients use cannabis to treat their symptoms. There’s need for more robust trials to gain greater insight on how marijuana can be utilized to treat MS.
How Cannabis Works on MS
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is present in all humans and animals. This system helps to regulate essential functions such as sleep, pain, and appetite. The human body generates its own cannabinoids, which control and influence its various functions. However, as its name suggests, the endocannabinoid system is also impacted by cannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system came into existence 30 years ago, but scientists are still discovering the different ways in which cannabis affects the human body.
According to a study involving both live mice and human blood samples, the researchers concluded that the ECS is unstable in MS patients. Furthermore, evidence shows that the ECS is activated in central nervous system attacks. Endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced within the body) tend to be anti-inflammatory, showcasing that either the body tries to shield attacks to the neural sheath or that the body tries to reduce the damage through the release of endocannabinoids.
There is surely a huge trend surrounding medical marijuana nowadays. However, there is still a lot of work to be done concerning its potential benefits, and risks. Before using cannabis for treatment ensure to consult a healthcare provider.
There’s need for more studies to determine the exact role of the ECS in multiple sclerosis patients. We also need to discover the potential mechanism of protection, but this article serves as a gateway to understanding the disease.