The Cannabis MS Connection
4 Sep 2019
There are few diagnoses so dangerous and earth shattering than MS, which stands for Multiple Sclerosis. Of course, there are many horrible diagnoses out there, ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s, but today we will be discussing MS and cannabis, how they interact and whether or not cannabis is a good option for those suffering from this life-altering disease.
As we have learned up to this point, cannabis has numerous medicinal and helpful qualities. Many we have yet to be discovered. What we do know, however, is that the effects of cannabis can help with many challenging diseases and conditions.
All across the world, there are those trying to find a cure for MS. Or at the very least, something to help end or alleviate the pain and suffering caused by MS. Could cannabis be part of that solution? Well, we will have to see.
If you or someone you know suffers from MS, as both my grandparents did, you know how difficult and hard life can be. Of course, there are varying degrees of MS, but as the disease progresses it causes major brain damage. This, in turn, causes many further bodily issues. In some cases, MS can be fatal as can be seen in the chart below:
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_sclerosis
Let’s get started, and together we’ll learn a great deal about MS, cannabis, and what happens when they are combined. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey.
What is MS?
To begin, we will go into detail describing what MS is, how it works, how one gets it, and so much more. First of all, each person is going to have a different experience with MS. It affects the brain differently in different people.
There is no known cure to MS, nor do we know what causes it. What we do know is how it works. MS is an autoimmune disease in the sense that the body’s own defense system, white blood cells etc., begin to attack the coating on nerves in the brain, disrupting communication from the nerves to the destination.
As we all know everything is controlled by the brain and the brainstem, what MS does is interrupt those messages. Let’s say the nerves leading to your right arm were damaged and messages from the brain could not get through, you would lose the ability to operate your right arm. Of course, that is just an example, it could be any number of nerves. In Progressive MS, the damage continues at a steady pace and is more common than the other form which is more intermediate.
MS can be fatal if the nerves going to any of the vital organs is damaged. This could lead to irreparable damage with some cases leading to death. MS can be a fast process or a very slow one. We think it is genetic but we do not know what causes it.
Treatment choices for MS patients
Regardless of the cause, laboratories around the world are working on ways of mitigating symptoms or even reversing the damage that was done. The key is to start getting treatment early. There are drugs that can slow the progression and add extra protection to the nerve sheaths. But they cannot stop the slow progression of the disease at this point.
But is there something else that can help? Could it be cannabis? A little later on we will find out! For now, let’s get a reminder of just what cannabis is. Cannabis is, of course, a plant. It originated in the far east, in China and India, and slowly made its way around the world. Ancient peoples used it for various reasons, from medicinal to spiritual. Cannabis is probably the most controversial plant that ever existed.
Some call it God’s gift to those of us here on Earth, while others condemn it as a drug as bad as cocaine and heroin. As the times change and we move towards a more progressive society, the views on cannabis are quickly changing, with talk of federal marijuana legalization concluded in Canada and gaining traction in the US.
While there are hundreds of chemicals called cannabinoids in cannabis, there are two that are the main focus here. These are the ones that produce the strongest effect. Those would be THC and CBD. THC is a psychoactive chemical, the ones that make you “high” while the other, CBD, is nonpsychoactive, meaning it does not get you “high”. CBD is also the leading chemical as far as medicinal value.
Cannabis and MS – How it Works
So how do these chemicals work with our body? Well we, and all mammals, have something called the Endocannabinoid System, which regulates a whole host of bodily functions. For instance:
- The most abundant neuromodulatory receptors in the body
- Disease-fighting capabilities
- Maintaining Homeostasis
- Skin growth
And that’s a very short list! And even then, we know very little about the ECS. But we do know that if your ECS is not functioning properly, it can lead to many, and drastic problems. Also, we know that the ECS is why cannabis has the effects that it does on us
Cannabis can be consumed in a variety of ways, eaten, used as a lotion, taken as a tincture, smoked, vaped, and a few other interesting methods. Currently, Cannabis is a Class 1 drug in the US, which puts it in the same category as heroin, and cocaine. However, WHO (Worldwide Health Organization) just suggested that cannabis shoulds removed from that level.
What health benefits come from cannabis?
- Helps with Acne
- Helps with addiction
- Cancer Pain
- Chronic Pain
- Huntington’s Disease
This is just to name a few, although if you go look online you’ll find many, many more.
So what am I trying to say? While of course it has its cons, like anything else, the positives are just too strong to ignore and brush aside. So how does this all come together, and what can cannabis do for MS?
What Can Cannabis do for MS?
Around 2.3 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with the life long disease of MS. While there is much to say for western medicine, and all its accomplishments, it’s not the only treatment out there.
A great deal of MS patients decide to either live with their medications or without them. Others embrace cannabis as something that can help make their lives worth living. Now, before you go off all your meds and hotboxing your closet, is cannabis really that good for MS? Are there any real benefits?
Yes, but always check with your doctor.
Cannabis has been shown to help with muscle control. Not only that, but it also relieves many of MS’s most challenging symptoms:
- chronic pain
- bladder problems
- Helps regulate the immune system so it doesn’t attack the new sheathes in the brain
- Regresses muscle control loss
- Protects neurons from damage
And this is just to begin with!
While cannabis is not going to cure MS, as there is no cure as of now, it can definitely help those who suffer from this horrible disease live happier lives, and it may even extend those lives.
The Cannabis MS connection cannot be denied. This represents a perfect example of medical cannabis helping to treat a condition that other medications do not touch. If you or someone you know has MS, it might be worth looking at the effects of cannabis on individuals. Who knows, maybe you or someone you care about will end up trying it and see a hugely positive result.
The Powers of Cannabis
Cannabis, most likely the most controversial plant to ever exist, has been found to possess undeniable medicinal properties. From boosting day to day health to fighting off cancer, cannabis is truly a miracle plant. What sets it apart from pharmaceuticals is it’s almost complete lack of negative side effects.
Some diseases respond very well to cannabis use. As we have learned one of those diseases is MS. For those suffering from MS, cannabis can be added to your toolbox and may truly be a blessing. Now always check with your doctor before starting or stopping any treatment, but with the lack of negative effects, many enlightened and educated doctors will see the value for the MS patient.
We have a lot left to learn, and with the legal status of cannabis still evolving up in the air, it makes it harder and harder to get research done. But the more we find out, the more we realize how much of a blessings cannabis is. Hopefully, as time goes on the rest of the world will be more ready for cannabis.
If someone you know has MS, and cannabis is legal in their locality, it might be introducing them to the benefits of cannabis, and how it can help improve their lives. For now, we hope you learned a great deal and this article gives you or your loved ones some needed relief.