CBD for MS
By Dr. Frank Michalski
Multiple Sclerosis currently impacts 2.3 million people worldwide. It is an inflammatory autoimmune disease. With MS, the immune system starts to attack the protective covering around nerves in the body known as myelin. The myelin protects the nerves in the body, allowing them to communicate messages.
Nerves communicate messages from the body to the brain. These messages are responsible for pain, reflexes, and movement. MS disrupts the communication between the brain and the nerves.
Nerve destruction can lead to a host of symptoms:
- Fatigue (very common)
- Walking Difficulty
- Muscle Spasm
- Numbness and Tingling
- Vision Problems
- Bowel and Bladder Problems
- Cognitive Changes
Types Of MS
This is the most common form of MS. This involves periods of intense MS symptoms followed by remission periods. During remission, MS symptoms are mild or absent.
Secondary Progressive MS:
This is when relapsing-remitting MS transitions into the progressive form.
Possible Causes Of MS
- Genetics may play a role in the development of MS. It is currently believed that people with MS were born with a genetic susceptibility to environmental toxins.
- Environment: Those not getting enough sun may be at an increased risk for MS. This may be due to a lack of vitamin D3. Vitamin D is produced in the body in the presence of sunlight.
- Infection: Bacterial and viral infections may be linked to the development of MS. Currently, measles and Epstein-Barr virus are being investigated
If you are exhibiting symptoms of MS, please speak with a neurologist. Proper diagnosis may require a spinal tap, an MRI, and a test that records electrical signals produced by the nervous system.
Common MS Treatments
There is no cure for MS. Most treatments offered focus on preventing progression of the attack on the myelin sheaths. Treatment can impact disease progression and decrease symptoms. Conventional treatment is oral or intravenous steroids. The goal of these drugs is to decrease nerve inflammation.
Disease-modifying therapies are also available for some forms of MS. Many of these therapies carry significant health risks. The symptoms of MS are often treated with physical therapy, chiropractic, muscle relaxants, and medication for fatigue, depression, and pain.
CBD AND MS
Oral cannabis has been shown to help with muscle spasticity and pain, according to the American Academy of Neurology.
CBD may impact MS via multiple pathways.
- Decreases the autoimmune inflammatory destruction of the myelin on nerves.
- The decreased inflammatory response may blunt disease progression (muscle stiffness).
- CBD helps support healthy serotonin levels in the brain, improving sleep and depressed mood, both common in MS. This may also help improve fatigue.
CBD Research and MS
Most studies involving MS focus on the prescription drug Sativex® (THC: CBD 1:1 ratio). Researchers Vermersch and Trojano carried out a study with 281 patients who took Sativex for three months. After three months, symptoms such as spasticity, fatigue, pain, bladder spasm, and sleep quality were significantly improved. Quality of daily living was also improved.
In 2015 topical application of CBD was used. The study was done on mice with "MS." The study found that use of topical 1% CBD cream improved motor skills, including the reversal of back leg paralysis, a reduction in spinal cord damage, and a decrease in inflammation.
*Research studies emphasize that CBD products are only part of the therapies involved while treating those with MS.
Avoid Common MS Triggers
Many daily events or lifestyle choices may worsen MS symptoms. People with MS should try their best to avoid these triggers.
Stress: This is a very commonly reported trigger among those suffering from MS. CBD has been shown to help combat stress. Yoga, meditation, prayer, exercise, and talk therapy are also encouraged.
Smoking: Cigarette smoke may lead to the progression of MS. CBD has promise for offsetting nicotine cessation.
Heat: Heat may worsen MS symptoms.
Lack of Sleep: A lack of sleep will worsen fatigue symptoms. CBD has been shown to support a healthy night's sleep.
Infections: Cold, flu, and UTI infections often lead to an increase in MS symptoms.
CBD Serving Recommendation
According to CBD, a Patients' Guide to Medical Cannabis, the standard to macro dose is usually recommended for MS. Always start low and increase as needed. For those requiring larger dosage amounts, CBD BioCare does offer a 3500mg concentration.
It is important to keep in mind that people with MS may experience an alleviation of common "flare-up" triggers with the incorporation of CBD oil. For example, CBD has been shown to promote a healthy stress response and sleep cycle. Avoidance of common triggers in many cases is a benefit to those suffering from MS.
CBD has been shown to help alleviate symptoms experienced by those suffering from MS. Symptoms include, depression, neuropathy, and fatigue. Alleviation of symptoms may result in an improved quality of life.
For spasticity, products with a higher ratio of THC are sometimes necessary. Use caution and work with a medical professional well qualified in the use of medical marijuana.
*This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Frank Michalski and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Frank Michalski nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.
- CBD: A Patients Guide to Medicinal Cannabis by Leonard Leinow & Juliana Birnbaum
- CBD: What You Need To Know by Gregory L. Smith, MD, MPH
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