Researchers also concluded that THC/CBD solutions are well tolerated by patients and that the experienced side effects didn’t always stem from using cannabis alone.
Dr. Ben Thrower, a physician at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA, is very optimistic about using CBD oil for multiple sclerosis, but at the same time, he underlines the importance of THC in the treatment.
This form of the disease is marked by worsening symptoms from the beginning, without flare-ups or remissions typical to other types of MS.
Different Ways to Take CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis
Still, you won’t buy marijuana products in your local head shop or health store as marijuana remains a controlled substance according to federal law. You can buy medical marijuana if you live in a state that runs a medical marijuana program.
Multiple Sclerosis damages the protective layer around nerve fibers (myelin). When the CNS notices the patches of scars left behind by an aggressive immune system, it starts to send false signals to the brain — leading to an array of symptoms.
CBD — short for cannabidiol — has a long list of well-documented health benefits. People use CBD oil to improve general well-being and to alleviate a wide range of symptoms, from anxiety to pain, inflammation, and neurological problems.
A less common form of MS, primary-progressive multiple sclerosis affects about 10% of all MS patients.
People with Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, will most likely experience spasticity of their muscles. MS is an immune disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord. The immune system attacks and destroys the protective layer that covers nerve cells. Consequently, this then causes issues with the signalling from the brain to the body. Results of this can be somewhat unpredictable. Some will experience more severe disruption to their motor function and voluntary movement. Muscles that are in constant contraction can become inflamed and painful over time. A further issue is that the body may develop abnormally. This is especially true in children with MS.
Furthermore, several countries, including Spain, have already approved an oral spray containing 1:1 CBD to THC for the treatment of spasticity in patients with MS. Furthermore, a review of studies looked at the effectiveness of cannabinoids for neurological disorders. It concluded that a cannabis extract which is administered orally can successfully reduce spasticity in patients with MS. It was also able to reduce pain and spasms.
Spasticity and Cerebral Palsy
Spasticity is a condition that affects the muscles. Someone experiencing this problem will find that some of their muscles are continuously contracting involuntarily. This can end up affecting the person’s ability to move around, their speech and the way they walk. Furthermore, it can also interfere with their ability to make voluntary actions. Spasticity is caused by an irregularity of signals from the central nervous system (CNS) to the muscles. It often presents itself in people who have cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. It can also occur after a stroke, traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury.
Symptoms of spasticity vary depending on the muscles that are affected and the severity of the condition. People with this condition can develop increased muscle tone in the affected areas. Additionally, they can experience involuntary movements or spasms, a decrease in motor function and contractors of the muscles and tendons. Over time people can also develop abnormalities in their posture as well as bone and joint deformities. As the muscles are constantly contracted and tense this can interfere with normal physical development. One other very debilitating symptoms of spasticity is pain. Inflammation around the joints and tendons can create severe pain in these areas and the lower back.
Many of the current treatment options available for spasticity are simply not strong enough. Cannabis is already a popular treatment for the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society conducted an online survey and found that 66% of people with MS currently use cannabis to treat their symptoms, including spasticity. One study lead by the Spanish Society of Neurology found that a combination of CBD and THC was effective in reducing spasticity. 80% of the subjects saw a decrease in spasticity and improvement in mobility with an average of just 5 inhalations per day. They concluded that “THC/CBD appears to be a good alternative to standard treatment as it improves refractory spasticity in MS and has an acceptable toxicity profile” (Lorente Fernández, 2014) So not only are cannabinoids effective, they are safe too.
Cannabis is made up of compounds called cannabinoids. The main ones studied for their therapeutic effect are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gets you ‘high’, and cannabidiol (CBD), which doesn’t.
There’s a medically approved cannabis-based treatment called Sativex, but it doesn’t work for everyone. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland it’s approved for use on the NHS for ‘moderate’ to ‘severe’ spasticity (muscle spasms and stiffness). But you can have it only if other treatments haven’t worked. It’s not yet approved in Scotland but we hope it soon will be.
One in five people with multiple sclerosis (MS) surveyed in 2014 told us they’d used cannabis to help with their symptoms. They said it can help with muscle spasms or stiffness (spasticity) and pain.
In November 2018, the UK government legalised cannabis for medicinal use, but also put a strict criteria in place for who could access it. Only specialist doctors are allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis, and so far only a handful of people have benefited from the change in law.
Some people with MS use cannabis in a variety of ways to help ease their symptoms.