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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis

For those with Multiple Sclerosis (or “MS”) life is a daily fight against debilitating pain and discomfort. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society describes MS as “an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body.”

It is an immune-mediated disease which in this case means that the body’s immune system is attacking its own central nervous system. This attack results in damage to the myelin (or fatty) sheath that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers of the central nervous system including in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

This damage causes scar tissue to build up and harden which is called “sclerosis”. It’s this sclerosis that distorts the communication from the brain and spinal cord.

Some of the more common symptoms include fatigue, numbness or tingling, weakness, dizziness, sexual dysfunction, bladder and bowel problems, muscle spasms, vision, memory and balance problems, and pain…and the list goes on. Some sufferers have mild symptoms, but for others symptoms are severe.

There is no cure for MS and current treatment consists of managing the symptoms of this never-ending attack on the central nervous system with rehabilitation therapy and pharmaceuticals. The cost of the medications can be very high and all come with adverse side effects.

Many MS sufferers have turned to cannabis to help treat their MS symptoms. A study done in 2012 found that the rate of relief from muscle stiffness after 12 weeks was almost twice as high with cannabis extract than with placebo….that was 29.4% vs. 15.7%.

A similar study using an extract of cannabis in an oral spray saw a 20% increase in relief of muscle spasms.

While the studies of cannabis and the specific treatment of MS symptoms are limited at this time, studies of cannabis use in other diseases have shown it effective at treating pain, helping with sleep and increasing appetite. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabis may reduce inflammation, thus lessening the attack on the nervous system.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society states that “The Society supports the rights of people with MS to work with their MS health providers to access marijuana for medical purposes in accordance with legal regulations in those states where such use has been approved.”

In addition, the Society supports advancing research to better understand the benefits of marijuana as a treatment for MS.

More studies need to be done, but extended relief may be in sight for the MS sufferer.

If you or a loved is suffering from the pain and discomfort of Multiple Sclerosis, speak with your medical practitioner or dispensary technician to see which cannabis treatment option is best to combat your symptoms.

Visit our website for more medical marijuana information.