Across America alone, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is estimated to affect around 400,000 people, with approximately 10,000 new cases being diagnosed every year. This disease affects both men and women, although it is found to be more common in women, and can be incredibly debilitating.
With treatments currently falling short of the mark, and figures for the condition getting worse, it seems many are now starting to turn to marijuana as a potential treatment for the condition.
But can CBD (the cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant) help with Multiple Sclerosis? We are going to explore the benefits of the cannabinoid in treating MS, and whether you should consider it as a potential treatment.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that affects the immune system; it can affect both the brain and/or spinal cord, and unfortunately is a lifelong condition. While the condition often varies in severity, and symptoms are generally treatable there are no current options available that provide great deals of relief without any adverse side effects.
Those diagnosed with MS are likely to have a shorter life expectancy than average, and it tends to affect those aged between 20-30 the most, although it can change those outside of this age bracket as well.
MS essentially is the body attacking its immune system, meaning that the nerve fibers are attacked, and over time this turns into scar tissue, which then has a knock-on effect on the rest of the bodies functions. When that neurological communication is interrupted in the body, it affects everything from the ability to move, feel emotions and even an individual’s behavior.
MS is an autoimmune condition meaning that it is caused when something goes wrong with the immune system. In the case of MS, the immune system attacks the layer that protects the nerves, known as the myelin sheath. The damage done to the sheath and the nerves beneath mean that messages that are traveled around the body get disrupted.
However, there is no specific trigger known that cause the immune system to behave this way in the first place.
What Are The Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis?
Like with many conditions, the symptoms of MS can vary widely from one person to the next, depending on many factors. However here is a list of the main symptoms of MS:
- Difficulty walking
- Muscle spasm and stiffness
- Cognitive problems such as thinking, learning, and planning
- Numbness or tingling in different areas of the body
- Balance and coordination difficulties
This is just a handful of the symptoms that come with having MS, and unfortunately most cases of multiple sclerosis progress and get steadily worse over time.
What Are The Current Treatments Available For Multiple Sclerosis?
Although there is currently no cure for MS, there are many treatments that can help control the symptoms of the condition. Of course, the treatment differs depending on your specific symptoms, and what may work for one person may not work for the next.
Treatments for multiple sclerosis can vary depending on which stage of the condition the patient is at. The stages of MS, of which there are four, vary in severity and therefore require specific treatments to combat the symptoms. The four stages of MS are:
- Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS)
- Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS)
- Primary – Progressive MS (PPMS)
- Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS)
There are many prescription medications on offer for MS, some of which include the likes of Betaseron, Copaxone, and Rebif. Unfortunately, as is the case with so many conditions, the medications on offer can often cause more harm than good and do little in the way of treating the disease itself.
It is also possible to treat some symptoms of MS with diet and exercise, and to an extent, this can go a long way to helping some of the conditions side effects. The MS Society advises low impact movements to help combat some of the stiffness and mobility issues that come with having MS.
In a nutshell, while there is plenty of choice for victims of MS, the reality is that many people are turning to CBD oil as a potential solution to their condition. With most prescriptions meds either costing too much, not being effective enough or merely causing too many of their side effects.
CBD Oil For Multiple Sclerosis
Perhaps one of the worst aspects of multiple sclerosis is its highly unpredictable nature. While symptoms may be able to be controlled, it is difficult both mentally and physically to cope with the ever-changing pattern of the disease. With symptoms randomly coming and going on, and varying in severity many victims feel at a point of desperation with their condition.
For this reason alone, CBD oil seems like an interesting choice when we look at the proven abilities of the cannabinoid. While patients may not consistently take certain MS medications during times where their symptoms aren’t flaring up, due to side effects, CBD oil is a relatively safe and natural treatment, and can happily be consumed on a regular basis like any other daily supplement.
We know from numerous years of clinical research that CBD possesses an impressive list of properties that can lend itself to a whole host of conditions. This is what we know CBD can do:
With this in mind, it seems clear that the non-psychoactive and 100% natural cannabinoid could go some way to providing much-needed relief to MS sufferers. But to get a clearer picture of how CBD can put its benefits to good use, we have outlined some of the main side effects of MS, and how CBD oil can help!
Much like many conditions, MS sufferers can experience varying levels of pain, which can be incredibly debilitating. Not to mention that most painkillers are incredibly addictive and often lose their efficacy over long-term use. CBD oil, however, works with the bodies endocannabinoid system to regulate many of the necessary functions; from temperature to the way we feel pain.
Using CBD oil as a form of neuropathic pain control not only provides a certain level of pain relief but also does so without the risk of addiction or indeed any nasty side effects.
For hundreds of years, cannabis has been used to aid sleep in those with and without medical conditions. While many assume it is the psychoactive compound THC that is behind the sleepy side effects, in fact, CBD has been proven to help with getting you off to sleep.
Those who have multiple sclerosis often struggle with sleep disturbances as a result of muscle spasms, and pain. CBD oil is a non-addictive way to combat that and to offer some needed relief to those with fatigue and insomnia issues.
One of the most distinctive side effects of MS is the muscle spasm. These can differ in severity from a tight sensation in the muscle through to severe pain and uncontrollable spasms. Spasms like these usually occur in the legs and can even cause uncontrollable and random limb jerks and movements, which can be painful and embarrassing.
Anything from a change in position to a drop or rise in temperature can cause muscle spasms to occur; even tight clothing can kick it off! While there are medications to treat muscle spasms, there hasn’t been anything yet to take them away entirely. Most treatments are some muscle relaxant such as Baclofen.
We know from heavy research into CBD for epilepsy in children that CBD is a strong anti-spasmodic. It can naturally relax muscles without causing any other side effects.
When it comes to CBD for Multiple Sclerosis, these are only a few of the areas where the cannabinoid can help. Along with those we have discussed, there are also plenty other areas such as depression (which affects around 50% of MS sufferers) and for which CBD has been proven to help with. CBD is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, which can have a massive impact on the severity of MS.
More research needs to be done into the condition, but so far the research into CBD looks favorable for the future of MS sufferers who are looking for a more natural alternative to current medication.
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