Content Marketing Specialist, Tammy Taylor details how CBD can be used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) in this article
CBD (cannabidiol), which is one of the popular cannabinoids naturally occurring in the cannabis plant, has become a trendy topic in health and wellness forums. As more states continue to amend their cannabis regulations, the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are gaining traction in the mainstream market. Cannabis-based medications such as Epidiolex and Sativex are legal for treating specific medical conditions in the US, UK, and Canada. Although medical cannabis is legal in many places, empirical research on the potential therapeutic benefits is still ongoing.
Some of the areas where CBD shows a lot of promise include:
- Treating seizures and epilepsy.
- Relieving pain and inflammation.
- Treating anxiety, depression and mental issues.
- Improving appetite and gut health.
- Treating sleep disorders.
There are several other conditions that cannabinoids can improve, but can it help those who have multiple sclerosis?
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition that attacks the brain and spinal cord. It occurs when the immune system attacks the myelin that coats the nerve fibres. MS can result in different symptoms that vary from patient to patient depending on the area and severity of the nerve damage. Without proper treatment, MS only gets worse. Symptoms may also come and go with periods of relapse and remission. Some of the prevalent symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:
- Numbness and tingling.
- Vision problems.
- Spasticity and muscle spasms.
- Pain, fatigue, and weakness.
- Difficulty walking and moving.
It is still unclear what causes multiple sclerosis. However, studies using the EAE (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis) model indicate that the condition might involve antigen-specific T cells. When these cells cross the blood-brain barrier, they can trigger neuroinflammation. This also causes the destruction of myelinated cells and subsequent paralysis.
CBD for multiple sclerosis
Anecdotal research suggests that CBD can aid the treatment of multiple sclerosis, but the area requires more study. Cannabis has anti-inflammatory antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. As such, cannabinoids like CBD and THC are instrumental in treating known autoimmune conditions like ulcerative colitis and Alzheimer’s disease. When you take CBD and THC rich cannabis strains like pink kush, the active compounds influence the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is an extensive network of neurons and receptors that regulate various body functions. The indirect influences on the ECS can result in therapeutic benefits for those suffering from different ailments.
Concerning multiple sclerosis, CBD works in two main ways:
- Increasing the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines while inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines.
- Manipulating myelin-derived suppressor cells to inhibit the induction of T-cells.
The mice lab studies indicate that CBD can help to halt MS progress, allowing patients to benefit from other treatments. However, some of the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of cannabis can also aid the treatment of MS symptoms. This includes pain, muscle soreness, and exhaustion, spasticity, mobility issues, restlessness and sleep disorders, among others.
How to use CBD for multiple sclerosis
After the passing of the 2018 US Farm Bill, hemp-derived cannabis products became quite popular. The legality of medical marijuana also makes cannabis more acceptable. Today, cannabinoids such as CBD come in various forms, including oils and tinctures, isolates, concentrates, vape juice infused meals and drinks as well as lotions. Finding CBD products is a dauntless process, especially in Canada, the US, and the UK, where various cannabis products are legal. While these products can deliver the critical medicinal value of CBD, there are multiple aspects to review.
The most vital areas include:
Mode of delivery
There are four main ways to take CBD and other cannabinoids. These are inhalation, ingestion, sublingual and topical application. No single method of delivery suits everyone. For instance, if you suffer from respiratory issues besides MS, inhalation through vaping or dabbing may not present the best option. You can apply CBD lotions and balms around sore muscles and joints to relieve pain and inflammation. Oral tinctures are also recommendable for those seeking heat-free and smoke-free CBD and THC delivery. It is essential to discuss the right mode of delivery with your doctor. This will also depend on the affected areas and the severity of your condition.
Dose and potency
Inhaling CBD isolates and vape juice is the most potent way to deliver active therapeutic compounds. Oral ingestion and sublingual are also potent. When using CBD for medicinal benefits, it is essential to pay close attention to the dosage and progress. Like any other drug, you should determine whether the CBD is improving your condition. Every multiple sclerosis patients have unique requirements and there is no standard dose indication. As such, you should consult your physician.
Quality and safety
The CBD market is highly regulated. In the US, CBD products are legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC. In the UK, the threshold is 0.2%. Reputable retailers meet this requirement, but some products contain higher levels of THC and other ingredients. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, so it won’t get you high.
However, studies on cannabis for MS use formulas include both THC and CBD. Manufacturers use various extraction processes to isolate these cannabinoids and seed strains and growing conditions also differ. This naturally results in quality differences. Using substandard quality CBD can have adverse health impacts, so it is crucial to find reputable retailers that can guarantee safe products.
Cannabinoids like CBD and THC have proven medical benefits. If you are suffering multiple sclerosis, there are several pharmaceutical medications approved for treating the condition. However, these treatment options do not work for every patient. If traditional approaches fail to deliver any remedy, you can consider CBD products to help relieve some of the symptoms and manage the condition. CBD is also a healthy, nutritious organic compound that can improve different aspects of your health. Nonetheless, you must find credible licensed retailers and dispensaries that will provide safe quality CBD products.