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Everything We Know About Multiple Sclerosis and Cannabis Oil
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a chronic disease where the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, the spinal cord, and optic nerves, but specifically the myelin (a fatty substance that surrounds and insulates nerve fibers). The damaged tissue forms scars (sclerosis), resulting in distorted or interrupted nerve impulses to the brain. Because nerves are found throughout the body, these distortions can result in a wide range of symptoms from general fatigue, weakness, tingling and numbness, to full out paralysis, vision problems, bladder and sleep disturbances, emotional changes, and cognitive changes. Inflammation is a normal part of the human body’s immune response. In multiple sclerosis, inflammation spirals out of control, damaging the tissues surrounding it.
Cannabis and cannabis oils have been used for centuries to treat the pain associated with autoimmune disorders, and to help with symptoms of inflammation. Cannabis acts on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate all bodily functions through the release or blockage of chemicals called neurotransmitters. The body is laden with endocannabinoid receptors that bind with the compounds found within the cannabis plant. Autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, can disrupt the balance of the endocannabinoid system, causing it to send signals that trigger inflammatory responses.
Cannabis can be therapeutic to MS patients in a variety of ways, and most of the major organizations to support those living with multiple sclerosis advocate for increased research and legislation to allow the use of cannabis for difficult to treat MS symptoms. Cannabis oil can help with inflammation, neuropathic pain, spasticity (stiffness), muscle spasms, anxiety, cognitive functions, as well as bladder and sleep disturbances. The compounds in cannabis are thought to even provoke neurogenesis (the development of new neurons in the brain) and act as a neuroprotective agent, which can help in slowing the neurodegeneration caused by multiple sclerosis. There are now thousands of research papers testing the efficacy of cannabis on multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Over 90% of MS patients in one study who medicated with cannabis declared improvement in nocturnal pain, muscular pain, and spasticity. Sleep problems improved by 88%. Another study found that 84% of participants reported moderate to complete relief of pain from multiple sclerosis with frequent cannabis use (p. 660). Other studies have found that cannabis has improved well being, spasms and their frequency, tremors, nocturia (the need to wake for urination), ataxia, walking, appetite, breathing, bladder control, body pain, sleep quality, and urgency incontinence (p. 662-3). Newer studies are showing evidence that cannabinoids can modulate the function of immune cells, resulting in pro-inflammatory, disease-modifying potential for MS patients. This means that cannabis and its derivatives can potentially even slow the disease’s progression, reverse inflammatory responses, and provide long-lasting protection against their effects.
And it’s not just cannabis oil that can be helpful. Other studies are showing that daily treatment with topical CBD creams, such as Quadratum’s CBD Skin Balm + Moisturizer, may exert neuro-protective effects against inflammatory diseases such as MS, and can potentially help in the recovery of paralysis, apoptosis (programmed cell death), oxidative injury, and damage related to inflammation.
Cannabis oil is not a magic cure-all, and is best used in conjunction with other therapies and treatments under a doctor’s supervision. Cannabis is an amazing pharmaceutical because it has the ability to treat multi-faceted systems and symptoms, quickly, effectively; and with almost no toxicity. The side-effects are generally mild, especially in comparison to other MS pharmaceuticals, and it can even boost the performance of certain companion drugs, lessening the need for high doses, and therefore toxicity.
Cannabis research unlocks the potential of new approaches to healing the body and preventing injurious inflammatory responses. As new research into cannabis and its derivatives develops, scientists are finding more and more ways to unlock the potential of the endocannabinoid system, and control its responses more precisely. The secret to shutting off unwanted autoimmune responses is potentially in our future, thanks to cannabis research.