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How Patients with Multiple Sclerosis Can Benefit from Cannabis

Multiple sclerosis or MS is one of the most debilitating diseases that one can experience. Millions of people around the globe suffer from it, and there is no exact cure for this condition since it’s an autoimmune disorder. It is generally caused by the degeneration of the nervous system, affecting the brain, spinal cord as well as the optic nerve.

Somehow, the body’s own immune system sees neurons as harmful invaders and thus attacks them. Such self-inflicted harm leads to the buildup of scar tissue in the nerves and leads to their impairment. The neurons are no longer able to function normally and act as senders and receivers of basic body signals. This is why MS manifests physically as weakness, loss of movement and coordination, constant pain, and even loss of eyesight.

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Cannabis and Sclerosis

In recent years, however, hope for MS patients has sprung thanks to the increasing acceptance and use of medical cannabis or marijuana. The connection between cannabis and sclerosis is still a hotly debated topic these days, as scientists and doctors continuously gather formal and consistent studies to understand and establish the herb’s effectiveness in treating the condition. However, one only needs to look at the growing number of anecdotes from MS sufferers on the positive effects of marijuana on their condition, and be convinced of its success as an alternative form of treatment for the disease.

Typical medical and pharmacological regimen for MS involves powerful medication that seeks to slow down the progress of the disease and to manage its symptoms such as chronic pain. Cannabis has been found to produce the same results, and more. Patients report an overall improvement of their quality of life, with more control over their bodies and significantly less pain. It is believed that the chemical component of marijuana called cannabinoids is responsible for its therapeutic effects. It works in synergy with the human body’s own endocannabinoid system, which affects functions such as mood, pain, memory, and the like.

There are hundreds of types of cannabinoids but those relevant in the study of human diseases are tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, and cannabidiol or CBD. THC is the one responsible for the well-known “high” that marijuana users experience. This state is not altogether harmful as it is perceived, though, because a psychoactive high actually sometimes helps people like MS patients deal with the state of chronic pain and depression that they are in. CBD meanwhile is the one that has a more curative effect on the body.

How Cannabis Helps MS patients

Just how does marijuana or cannabis benefit those with MS? It acts in various ways to relieve their debilitating physical, mental, and as well as emotional conditions. Medical marijuana brings the following advantages:

Anti-inflammatory

As the immune system attacks its own cells and neurons in the nervous system, it leads to inflammation of the myelin coverings of the nerves in the brain and spinal column. Medical marijuana or cannabis has long been known to possess anti-inflammatory properties, and profound positive effect on MS patients has been observed in terms of lessening the damage on the central nervous system—thus restoring normal physical movement and even delaying the progression of nerve damage in the body.

Analgesic

Related to inflammation is pain, and it is one of the most marked characteristics and symptoms of MS. It is believed that as much as 70% of those with MS suffer from severe and chronic pain. This is the type of pain that is non-stop and without specific cause. It is highly debilitating and is not only disruptive to one’s physical activity but also to one’s mental state, as it causes frustration and depression. Fortunately, cannabis has long been known for its analgesic properties, and studies exploring its use among MS sufferers have shown success in relieving their pain and even enhancing their comfort through better sleep.

Anti-spasmodic

Along with the fading function of neurons comes muscle spasms. As the neurons lose their ability to fire messages systematically and properly, the brain sends incorrect signals and causes involuntary muscle contractions and movement. This can also cause sharp, acute pain. Muscle contraction also leads to stiffness and a constant sensation of tightness of the body. Marijuana or cannabis has shown promise in reducing and relieving such muscle spasms experienced by MS sufferers.

Anti-depressant

Marijuana has long been known to have positive effects on one’s mood and emotions, and thus it has been found beneficial in addressing depression which is prevalent among those with MS. Understandably, with such as debilitating condition, MS patients face anxiety, frustration, and an overall feeling of helplessness. Thankfully, marijuana’s effect on the human endocannabinoid system has been linked with improvement in mood and disposition in life.

Abdominal Relief

It is a less known fact that MS patients also suffer from a host of gastrointestinal condition, such as abdominal pain, constipation, and incontinence. Not only are these uncomfortable but distressing and sometimes painful as well. In studies observing the results of marijuana or cannabis among MS patients, it has been found that more than half of the respondents reported reduced urgency of defecation. A significant number also said that constipation was somehow relieved, and that their fecal incontinence was addressed. This is widely believed to be an additional benefit of cannabinoids on specific receptors in the peripheral nervous system that oversee gastrointestinal functions. 

Research And Studies Show That Cannabis May Be Able To Help With Multiple Sclerosis.

The Promise of Medical Cannabis

MS is just one of the many dreaded diseases that are being successfully addressed by medical marijuana or cannabis. Patients with cancer, heart disease, HIV infection, Alzheimer’s, and many other conditions are continuously reporting immense and unprecedented relief from taking cannabis. In most instances, the same symptoms associated with these diseases are reduced or virtually removed, such as chronic pain, depression, etc. Doctors and researchers are continuously exploring how cannabis can even completely stop or halt these diseases, which were previously found to have no cure.   

Given that medical marijuana or cannabis provides dramatic benefits to millions of patients such as MS sufferers, it is important that its use is regulated and properly controlled. Gone are the days when marijuana was seen merely as a recreational drug that caused a “high.” Thankfully, more and more people are treating marijuana as a serious alternative medical treatment that can truly improve and save lives.