How Does CBD Oil Work for Multiple Sclerosis?
According to The MS Society of Canada, an estimated 77,000 Canadians live with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), with Canada having one of the highest rates of the disease.
MS is classified as an auto-immune disease, affecting the central nervous system and the brain’s ability to effectively communicate via signals to the rest of the body. The disease attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin. It is myelin that is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres and when it is damaged, the ability for signalling becomes inhibited.
Symptoms of those living with MS vary, and include but are not limited to speech and vision problems, chronic pain; and difficulties with balance, coordination, and mobility.
MS is one of the most misunderstood medical conditions within the medical community as the symptoms, onset, and progression of the disease cannot be predicted.
Research on the potential for medical cannabis and CBD Oil to treat the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis has been going on since the 1980s with the belief that cannabinoids like THC and CBD can alter the way the body and brain experiences the condition and its symptoms.
The Endocannabinoid System and Multiple Sclerosis
The study of MS has put importance on the role of the endocannabinoid system, the regulator of all bodily systems. Emerging research is suggesting that the CB1 and CB2 receptors are critical in helping manage the symptoms of MS. More specifically, the CB1 receptor regulates cognitive, memory and motor functions while CB2 modulates anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective actions that are of interest in the study and treatment of MS.
With this in mind, the endocannabinoid system becomes an integral part of the existing research on cannabinoid therapies and the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, as it touches so many facets of the areas that symptomatic treatment focuses on.
Cannabis as a Neuroprotectant
Cannabis has been long regarded for its neuroprotective properties in degenerative diseases of the brain like Multiple Sclerosis. Neuroprotection involves the preservation of the natural function of areas in the brain. Neuroprotection also means that after a traumatic brain injury, new neurons are produced, essentially allowing the brain to heal itself.
A review in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology discussed the efficacy of THC and other cannabinoids as a mechanism to “limit the inappropriate neurotransmitters that cause MS-related problems” and support that cannabinoids, including CBD, have significant immunosuppressive properties that limit the neurodegeneration in progressive disabilities like MS.
Cannabis to Manage Pain
Chronic pain is one of the most common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, and more people are turning to natural alternatives, like cannabinoids medicine, to help reduce the pain associated with MS. Studies that look at pain associated with MS are sparse, yet are beginning to emerge as pain management without the use of opioids becomes a more common approach.
Studies that have compared cannabis-based medicine approaches to pain versus a placebo have shown that cannabis is far superior to helping reduce the intensity of MS-related pain than placebo. This particular study recommended a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC to produce the best results. This study also noted that with the reduction of pain intensity also came the reduction in sleep disturbances.
Cannabis for Spasticity and Mobility Issues
Most of the clinical trails that focus on using cannabis to address the spasticity and resulting mobility issues occurring in MS involve administering a product called Sativex, a 1:1 CBD:THC oral mucosal spray. A 2011 controlled study reported “reduction in the severity of symptoms associated with spasticity, leading to a better ability to perform daily activities” with Sativex spray, with an improved perception of functional status.
CBD & The Entourage Effect
CBD, or cannabidiol oil, is one of the ways people are choosing to integrate cannabinoid therapies into their treatment plans for Multiple Sclerosis. CBD is revered for its ability to help regulate the endocannabinoid system and thus regulate functions associated with pain and inflammation, mood, appetite, sleep, and other critical functions. CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, unlike delta-tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC which is known to produce psychoactive effects.
Most of the research on using CBD to treat the symptoms of MS involve integrating THC into the treatment to improve the efficacy of the cannabinoids through a phenomenon known as the Entourage Effect.
The Entourage Effect refers to the synergistic action of different cannabinoids, flavonoids, fatty acids and terpenes when acting on receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This means that when these compounds work together, greater effects are produced, with each increasing the effectiveness of the other.
Reported Efficacy of Cannabis
In 2016, an anonymous web-based survey was hosted on the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society webpages to understand the current treatments for PD (Parkinson’s Disease) and MS and their effects on neurological function, fatigue, balance, and physical activity participation.
595 participants participated, of which 24% lived with MS. Of the group living with MS, 44% were regular cannabis users. This group reported a high efficacy of cannabis, rating cannabis efficacy 6.4 on a scale from 0 to 7, while 59% reported reducing prescription medication since beginning cannabis use.
Exploring CBD Oil with Apollo Cannabis Clinics
Those living with MS who are curious about how cannabis medicine can help treat symptoms of the disease are encouraged to meet with a cannabis doctor at Apollo Cannabis Clinics.
Apollo Cannabis Clinics evidenced based clinics that has been conducting observational research on medical cannabis and conditions since 2014. Our staff includes health care professionals to assist patients of all ages and backgrounds, and we are dedicated to helping people work with complicated conditions like MS with cannabinoid therapies.
In order to access Apollo’s services, start by contacting us. During the initial appointment individuals are asked to disclose their medical history and past cannabis use, and the doctor will work with the patient to determine an appropriate treatment plan that involves cannabis.
Our cannabis physicians will work with specific concerns around living with Multiple Sclerosis and integrating cannabis, including CBD Oil into your treatment plan.