Multiple Sclerosis and Cannabis

by Lindsey Winsemius - Posted 2 years ago

Cannabis has been used by people suffering from chronic pain for many years. As cannabis becomes more widely accepted, more scientific research on the benefits of using cannabis can be performed.

Multiple Sclerosis, a disease affecting the central nervous system, is one painful condition in which sufferers turn to cannabis to treat.

But does cannabis help alleviate MS symptoms?

Can cannabis help patients with multiple sclerosis?

What do people with Multiple Sclerosis have to say about Cannabis?

Most evidence that exists for the successful use of cannabis to treat MS comes from anecdotal stories. This is because extensive lab research has only just begun, and many must rely on the experiences of others to learn about the benefits of cannabis to treat their Multiple Sclerosis.

A young mother details her success with cannabis in this Healthline article

“Medical marijuana is helping, and that is what matters. I am extremely optimistic that I will continue to find relief. There are so many different strains out there, and each has its own unique profile in terms of how it makes you feel and how your mind thinks or views things.”

Attorney and medical marijuana advocate shares her personal experience with MS and cannabis:

“As an MS patient, cannabis is an integral part of my daily life. I use it every night before bed to help with fatigue, muscle cramping and spasticity. It also significantly helps elevate my mood, especially on days when I feel a sense of overwhelm. For me, I struggle with cognitive issues the most from MS.”

Why do some people report different experiences with cannabis treatment for MS?

Different strains contain cannabinoids and terpenes that influence how your body handles cannabis and the benefits you receive. It is important to try different strains to find the best fit for your body. Your local dispensary staff can be a huge help in getting you started.

How you consume cannabis can impact the way your body absorbs it.

Everyone’s unique chemical makeup plays a role in how they experience cannabis. This means some people may be more receptive or find cannabis to be more helpful for their symptoms, while others might not experience any change or have negative side effects. 

Note: Some users, such as Anne above, found cannabis to have few or no side effects compared to the pharmaceuticals she was prescribed for her MS. 

What does Cannabis and MS research say?

Because legal use of cannabis is very recent, research has just begun in lab settings to determine the benefits of cannabis for medical conditions such as MS. Until recently, doctors and patients have relied primarily on reports by patients of the benefits of cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers. 

What have initial studies found concerning cannabis and MS?

Cannabis helps with MS pain.

It is well reported that cannabis helps to alleviate pain. People with MS suffer from chronic and sudden bursts of pain associated with the muscle symptoms. Using cannabis can help to quickly relieve pain, and has been found to be helpful to those living with MS.

Cannabis helps alleviate sleep problems.

Many people use cannabis to help with insomnia. It is no surprise that people with a painful condition such as MS struggle to sleep at times. 

The right strain of cannabis can help those suffering  from Multiple Sclerosis symptoms to fall asleep and stay asleep.

What about cannabis and MS symptoms? 

Currently, there is little evidence to suggest that cannabis use helped with the symptom of muscle tightness, or spasticity. Cannabis was also not found to relieve depressive symptoms in people with MS.  But as more research continues, new information may come available.

How You Use Cannabis is Important

Smoking cannabis has been found to increase MS symptoms, especially when it’s mixed with tobacco. Smoking tobacco can give you more relapses, more lesions (areas of damage in your brain or spinal cord) and make you more disabled sooner. It can also impact other medications you are taking for your MS.

There are many ways to consume cannabis that do not involve smoking. Edibles, tinctures, and pills are just a few. Talk to your local dispensary about your options.

Cannabis THC vs CBD Oils for MS

Both THC and CBD come from Cannabis. 

THC has psychoactive properties, and can make you high. CBD, on the other hand, contains many of the health benefits from terpenes and cannabinoids without the psychoactive effects. 

Evidence shows that cannabis containing both CBD and THC could work for some people with MS to help with pain and spasms. It's thought that the ratio of THC to CBD determines the level of psychoactive compared to therapeutic effects of cannabis.

More research is needed to determine what, if any, benefits from only using CBD can be derived by patients with MS.

What can you do if you have Multiple Sclerosis and are curious about Cannabis?

Talk to your doctor about your options. Talk to others suffering from MS. Discuss strains and get information from local dispensary staff, if medical cannabis is legal in your area.

Are you local to the Las Vegas area? Visit one of our many local dispensaries and talk to our knowledgeable staff. Or you can contact us now with your questions.