Medical Marijuana and Multiple Sclerosis
Even though some might say that medical marijuana hasn’t been studied enough for those with multiple sclerosis, the truth is different. There have been plenty of studies already conducted that show cannabis can very well be a great treatment option for those with this challenging disease.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the protective coating (myelin) surrounding nerve fibers. This causes a breakdown of communication between the brain and the rest of the body.
There are different multiple sclerosis symptoms that can affect people. It depends on several factors, including the severity of the damage caused to the nerves, which nerves are impacted, and so forth.
- Numbness of weakness in the arms and/or legs, usually affecting one side of the body at a time
- Some people experience something like an electric shock sensation when moving their neck
- Shaking or tremors
- Vision problems, including double vision, loss of vision (usually in one eye at a time), blurred vision, etc.
- Slurred speech
- A tingling sensation in specific parts of the body
What causes multiple sclerosis?
Currently, there is no known cause of MS (multiple sclerosis). It is labeled as an autoimmune disease because the body’s immune system malfunctions. There are certain higher risk factors that contribute to an elevated risk of developing MS. These include:
- Age – MS typically manifests in adults between 20 and 40, though people older and younger can develop it.
- Gender – women are 2 to 3 times as likely as men to develop MS.
- Race – Caucasians of Northern European descent have a much higher risk of developing MS.
- Vitamin D – Low levels of Vitamin D can increase the risk of MS.
- Smoking – Those who smoke and experience a first ‘episode’ of MS are far more likely to experience a second ‘episode.’
- Some infections – Mononucleosis (commonly referred to as ‘mono’) can increase the risk of MS for some individuals.
How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed?
A doctor will perform a battery of tests and strategies to determine if an individual has MS. This will include an effort to rule out all other diagnoses (leaving only MS as the final reasonable condition).
How Does Medical Marijuana Help MS?
There are several treatment and management options for those with multiple sclerosis. Some include medications, DMTs (Disease Modifying Treatments), which are potent FDA approved drugs, physical rehabilitation, and mental health counseling. There is also medicinal marijuana for multiple sclerosis.
Medical marijuana and MS may be a more recent treatment option, but that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe or ineffective. In fact, when it comes to multiple sclerosis and marijuana, there is a growing wealth of research indicating that it can be a potent tool in the treatment of MS.
Marijuana and multiple sclerosis may not yet be joined in common conversations, but more doctors are realizing the inherent benefits cannabis for MS can offer.
The benefits of cannabis treatment for MS include:
Helps Bladder Problems
From constipation to incontinence and general abdominal pain, the right MS cannabis treatment has been shown to alleviate some of these symptoms for patients. From 30% to 60% of individuals reported relief from some or more of these types of symptoms.
When it comes to multiple sclerosis, cannabis is an anti-inflammatory, so it is an effective way to alleviate pain. Cannabinoid treatment for multiple sclerosis is also beneficial for pain relief because it offers analgesic qualities.
Marijuana for multiple sclerosis is a positive, too, because both THC and CBD (the main components of cannabis) are antispasmodic. This means it can help reduce muscle spasms and contractions in patients by up to 60 to 90 percent.
For those dealing with multiple sclerosis, medical marijuana can help those dealing with some level or form of depression or depressive symptoms. Cannabis can act as an antidepressant and nearly 50 percent of people diagnosed with MS reported a reduction in clinical depression when relying on medical marijuana for multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Best Strains for Multiple Sclerosis
As it pertains to medical marijuana and multiple sclerosis, not everyone will enjoy the same benefits. It depends on many factors, which is why it is so vital to consult a doctor before beginning any regimen or treatment.
Some medical marijuana strains for MS are simply more effective than others. Let’s discuss the best cannabis strain for multiple sclerosis.
Papaya – Mostly a pure Indica variety, sometimes Papaya will have Sativa qualities in it, too. This strain’s benefits last for about an hour and a half. With 20% THC content, people with MS reported mood changes quickly and a reduction in pain.
Sour Diesel – This is a Sativa strain that affects the brain as well as muscles, bringing relief where it’s needed most. Sour Diesel can help a person with MS sleep better through the night, though some patients have reported that this strain alleviates pain while also boosting their energy levels.
Harlequin A dominant hybrid strain, Harlequin may provide a psychological improvement without the typical fatigue that some may experience with other strains. It is Sativa-dominant and is intended to help keep productivity levels elevated.
What about CBD oil? – CBD oil does not contain the potent THC, but it is great as an anti-inflammatory. The best CBD oil for MS will depend on the individual, their specific needs and expectations, and what they and their doctor have determined through careful consultation.
Side Effects and Risks
For multiple sclerosis, cannabis can offer some great potential benefits, but there are some risks of side effects associated with it. These may include mental confusion, anxiety, paranoid episodes, nausea, vomiting, headache, an increase in appetite, balance and coordination challenges, elevated heart rate, dry eyes and dry mouth.
Is Medical Marijuana an Effective Treatment for MS?
Although it is still considered relatively new as a treatment for MS, it is effective for many people. It may not be optimal for everyone, though, which is why it is so vital to consult a doctor who has direct experience supporting MS patients with medical marijuana as a treatment.
How to Get a Medical Card for MS
If you have been diagnosed with MS, and cannabis is a treatment option you wish to explore, consult a qualified doctor. When your doctor and you agree that medical marijuana would be a viable and effective treatment at this stage in your life, he or she will be able to prescribe a medical card so you can purchase cannabis without any issues