Many people can attest that cannabis is effective in the treatment of a long list of medical conditions and in the management of a wide variety of symptoms. One of these diseases is multiple sclerosis.
Many might be wondering how a plant that is considered by many as a harmful drug and an illegal substance can help patients with debilitating illnesses such as MS.
What is multiple sclerosis?
MS is a chronic medical condition that attacks the patient’s central nervous system. It affects the spinal cord, the brain, and the optic nerves.
The nerve fibers of the central nervous system are surrounded by a protective sheath called the myelin sheath. Myelin also aids the nerves in the quick and efficient conduction of electric signals. However, in patients with MS, the myelin sheath in their central nervous system disappears in multiple areas then leaves scars, also called sclerosis. This is where the name “multiple sclerosis” comes from. It means scar tissues in multiple areas.
The areas without myelin are called lesions or plaques. And as these lesions get worse, the nerve fibers also get damaged. The electrical impulses from the MS patient’s brain, as a result, are not smoothly transmitted to the target nerve. In other words, without myelin, the nerve fibers are unable to conduct electrical impulses and messages from the brain cannot be transmitted to the muscles.
What are the symptoms of MS?
The symptoms of MS vary from person to person. In milder cases of MS, a patient may feel tingling and numbness in the limbs. In more severe cases, paralysis and vision loss may be involved.
Other known manifestations also include muscle weakness, visual disturbances, problems with memory and thinking, difficulties with balance and coordination, bladder problems, dizziness and vertigo, bowel problems, sexual dysfunction, tremor, muscle spasms, gait and mobility changes, depression, and other emotional changes.
It is difficult to predict how MS will progress in a patient. In later stages, though, a patient may experience changes in thinking and perception, and heat sensitivity.
Is there a cure for MS?
Currently, there is no cure for MS. However, there is treatment available to relieve patients of their symptoms and to help them manage their symptoms so they can continue with their daily life.
How does cannabis work for MS patients?
Here’s the thing: your doctor is not likely to suggest that you try medical cannabis until you have tried the conventional treatment options. But if you live in a state where medical cannabis is legal and MS is one of the qualifying conditions, he may recommend it as supplementary or additional treatment.
Admittedly, there’s still much to be studied about cannabis and multiple sclerosis in humans, but there have been enough research showing that the drug can effectively treat certain MS symptoms.
The symptoms that cannabis can treat or help manage include:
Nerve pain. Medical cannabis is known to be a potent analgesic and pain reliever, thanks to cannabinoids like THC and CBD engaging the system’s pain receptors. The less nerve pain you feel, the better you will be able to sleep at nights and perform your daily tasks.
Stiffness or involuntary muscle movements. Medical cannabis can help calm your spasms, allowing you to move your legs and arms more freely. And because cannabis has this anti-spasm and muscle-relaxing effect, it will also help solve bladder problems. You will be able to have more control over your urge to pee.
Moreover, cannabis helps protect the brain and the rest of the central nervous system. THC and CBD can calm down the immune system, thus putting to a stop its violent attack on the central nervous system.
Cannabinoids can also promote neurogenesis, which is the creation of new brain cells. There are also compounds in cannabis that are potent antioxidants, giving them neuroprotective properties.
The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neurogenetic qualities of cannabis make it a very powerful brain-boosting drug.