In the US alone, over 400,000 Americans struggle with to manage the daily symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune disorder that presents with neurologic manifestations. Patients may receive a diagnosis of relapsing-remitting or progressive types of the disease.
For those suffering from this often-debilitating disorder, the list of possible symptoms varies. In general, many may experience fatigue, vision problems, muscle spasticity and numbness, and vertigo. But other more serious symptoms can occur, resulting in the form of cognitive dysfunction, difficulty walking, bladder and bowel dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, and sleep or speech issues.
Of course, in the wake of a list of ailments like that, it’s no wonder another symptom is depression for the MS patient.
There is no cure for MS. Instead, the patient must rely on immunosuppressant drugs to stave off any relapses and help their unpredictable condition. Unfortunately, these drugs do little to help the day-to-day MS symptoms. But luckily, there’s medical marijuana.
Since medical marijuana first came to California, the first state to offer it, MS has made the list of qualifying conditions. Other states currently with medical marijuana also include it on their list. But despite this, sparse research exists on the specifics of how to treat Multiple Sclerosis with cannabis.
No matter what, many with MS still medicate with Mary Jane, considering the drug a savior in combating their daily symptoms.
Mixed Reviews: Cannabis in MS Research
Immunosuppressant drugs have treated MS for over 40 years. But these drugs deliver other side effects. Patients taking these drugs may experience an increased risk of infection, emotional changes, high blood pressure, and weight gain. And in the end, this treatment drug might not take care of some of their symptoms.
Cannabis could provide a potential solution for those coping with everyday symptoms like spasticity, fatigue, sleep or appetite issues, and nausea. Other countries like Australia have developed and invested in research programs designed to investigate the role cannabis could play in treating MS. But the for those in the US, how to treat Multiple Sclerosis with cannabis may only find conflicting opinions.
The National MS Society posts on their website various research studies on the effects of cannabis in MS patients. Most of it negates the positive effects on MS symptoms many MS patients claim to experience. Along with the National Institute of Health, both recognize marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic.
This classification limits funding for research on the benefits of cannabis. Even without the support of the National MS Society, over 50 percent of people with MS use cannabis without a medical card or any guidance from the scientific community. And even if the National MS Society doesn’t, the American Academy of Neurology acknowledges cannabis is an effective form of treatment for pain and spasticity.
How to Treat Multiple Sclerosis With Cannabis (The Synthetics and Clones)
Treating MS symptoms has always been an important issue for many professionals in the medical community. And though organic cannabis has seen less attention as a treatment, synthetic and scientifically-manipulated forms of cannabis have supplied the MS community.
Currently, medical cannabis users with MS may be prescribed a number of different drugs. Some like nabiximols are oromucosal sprays which do not share the side effects of cognitive impairment generally experienced while smoking weed.
Then, the Food and Drug Administration approved two synthetic forms of marijuana for medical use. These drugs, dronabinol and nabilone are also used in treating the side effects of chemotherapy. MS patients can take these synthetic capsules by mouth.
Even still with these options, an MS patient may be seeking the expansive selection of their local dispensary to relieve their pain.
How to Treat Multiple Sclerosis With Cannabis (The Real Deal)
But maybe the best method of consuming cannabis for the MS patient involves the real deal. Luckily for those in states with medical marijuana, the possibility of how to consume the drug continues to expand. Enjoy edibles and drinkables to avoid smoking and save the lungs. Or try dabbling in the world of topicals and transdermal patches for long-lasting relief from body aches.
But what strains offer the best pain relief from spasticity and fatigue?
Research still has a long way to go before determining which strains can offer pain relief for the exact symptom the MS patient may be experiencing. But hope is not lost. When combating pain, research has been able to confirm one thing for sure.
When choosing a strain to aid in pain relief, pick something with more CBD. Soon, studying how specific ratios of THC to CBD affect the body in MS will lend itself to a more catered cannabis treatment plan. Until then, MS patients might have to continue their good work experimenting on their own.
Final Hit: Use Cannabis to Treat MS
Everyone’s treatment plan differs. As always, consider discussing all medications (and herbs) that you may be taking with your doctor when determining the best way to treat your condition. Though they may be as knowledgeable about how to treat Multiple Sclerosis with cannabis as the MS patient themselves, an open discussion on the drug’s effects and progress with other medications will help safeguard from any negative interactions.
For those with MS, it may not be clear cut how exactly cannabis can help yet. But the research will help. With more attention and publicity to the experience of those with MS, like celebrity Montel Williams who have used cannabis to treat their symptoms, more options and guidance may be available on the effects of cannabis on MS.
That’s enough to keep up the high hopes.