Cannabis and MS

by | Mar 3, 2021 | Conditions, Health & Relief

Updated on October 7, 2021. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Shatha Atiya.

What are the medical benefits of cannabis for multiple sclerosis (MS)? 

How effective is medical cannabis when it comes to treating the persistent and complex symptoms of MS such as MS pain?

And how is cannabis for MS better than conventional medication?

These are the questions MS patients want answers to before considering adding medical cannabis to their ever-growing list of medications.

To answer the first question, medical cannabis has a host of medical benefits. For example, easing pain, improving appetite and sleep, plus reducing fatigue and anxiety. 

It is these medical qualities that make cannabis effective in treating many chronic conditions such as chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, IBD, PTSD, and multiple sclerosis among others.

For question number two: scientific research, although limited; doctors, MS patients who have tried cannabis for their treatment, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society all agree that cannabis is not only beneficial but also effective in the treatment of MS.

Finally, question three, “How is cannabis for MS better than conventional medication?” Besides the many healing qualities of cannabis is its ability to reduce a patient’s reliance on potentially harmful prescription medication. 

Opioids for instance are prescribed to MS patients to deal with their pain. However, the side effects of the opioid medication include dependence, vomiting, nausea, constipation, and dizziness. 

A study by Piper et al. showed that among frequent opioid users, 77% reduced their use since they started taking cannabis. And there was a similar outcome for other drugs usually prescribed to MS patients such as antianxiety, antidepressants, and sleep medication.

With those three questions answered let’s take a closer look at how cannabis for MS may be life-changing for patients battling this condition every day.

How does marijuana help multiple sclerosis?

Cannabis contains a lot of chemicals. Among them, are cannabinoids and terpenes.

Terpenes are mostly responsible for the cannabis’ aroma while cannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system within our bodies.

The two most widely studied cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are responsible for the bulk of cannabis’ benefits for MS.

For instance, THC and CBD can stimulate certain parts of the nervous system that in turn reduce the intensity of the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. For example, both MS muscle pain and MS leg pain.

Whereas these cannabinoids are mostly responsible for medical relief, terpenes may also play a role.

So, let’s see how marijuana helps multiple sclerosis.

Aids with muscle stiffness (spasticity and spasms)

Woman experiencing neck stiffness from multiple sclerosis

Stiff, cramping and aching muscles are a norm for most people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. 

Spasticity happens when muscles tense and resist stretching which reduces normal fluid movement. As a result, patients experience slurred speech, difficulty in movement, and poor coordination.

Spasms may originate from areas of the brain that control movement. These areas of the brain also happen to have a large number of cannabinoid receptors. So, perhaps stimulating these receptors with THC or CBD may reduce spasms.

The two main active components of cannabis, CBD and THC stimulate the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies. 

For example, THC stimulates the cannabinoid receptors and delivers the ‘high’ effect. Conversely, CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect and does not cause the ‘high’. The exact mechanism by which cannabis acts as an anti-spasticity agent is still unknown, however.

One theory is that THC-induced euphoria and pain relief may help lessen a patient’s awareness of muscle stiffness or spasticity.

Relieves chronic pain

Marijuana is an effective treatment for chronic pain. Chronic pain is the most common patient-reported condition for cannabis use.

As mentioned earlier, both CBD and THC act on the cannabinoid receptors in our bodies to exert certain effects. 

Apart from the psychoactive effects, THC can bind with the nerves to block pain impulses from reaching the brain. This provides a sensation of pain relief. 

Similarly, the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD provide an analgesic effect for pain relief as well, although it functions in an entirely different way.

Several studies support these findings. For instance, a 2017 NASEM report asserts that patients treated with cannabis experienced a significant drop in pain symptoms.

Helps with bladder problems

Patients with MS find themselves making constant trips to the washroom because of bladder dysfunction

Bladder dysfunction is a familiar trait of multiple sclerosis.

In 2010, a randomized controlled trial was conducted to discern whether Sativex (an oral cannabis extract) could alleviate the bladder symptoms in patients with MS. 

Although the result wasn’t statistically significant, the study concluded that Sativex did have some impact on improving symptoms associated with bladder dysfunction in MS patients.

Relieves nausea

Patients dealing with MS often experience nausea as a result of dizziness synonymous with the condition as well as the side effects of their medication. For example, drugs like Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus), and Dalfampridine may cause nausea.

Changes within the endocannabinoid system in humans play a part in regulating nausea and vomiting. When cannabinoids from cannabis are present, they react with the CB1 receptors to prevent vomiting. Hence, medical marijuana, known for its antiemetic effects, is well suited to help MS patients struggling with nausea.

CBD, the primary non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, is also effective in suppressing symptoms like nausea and vomiting.

Improves sleep

Patients with MS have difficulty sleeping but cannabis helps them get quality sleep and treats insomnia

It is not uncommon for MS patients to have a poor quality of sleep. One reason is that the muscle spasms associated with MS often disrupt sleep because they are agonizing and make it difficult to rest. But, cannabis does provide relief and many MS patients report having better sleep after taking it.

THC has a sedative effect and shortens the period of sleep latency. As a result, patients experience longer periods of sleep undisturbed by muscle spasms.

Meanwhile, CBD may reduce anxiety so a person becomes relaxed and their natural sleep mechanism takes over.

Relieves fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis. By interacting with certain receptors, CBD relieves pain and improves mood and energy levels.

Side effects of using medical cannabis for multiple sclerosis

On the flip side, there are symptoms of multiple sclerosis that may worsen due to cannabis use. For example:

Gait or balance

Patients with MS had trouble balancing compared to their healthier counterparts after taking cannabis for MS

In the publication, Marijuana as Medicine?, participants in a study smoked a single marijuana joint that had about 15 milligrams of THC. Enough to make most people feel high and impair their motor control. The study involved both healthy people and MS patients.

Later, the two parties were recorded as they stood on a platform that slid back and forth at unpredictable intervals.

The results of this experiment affirmed that whereas participants with MS felt an improvement in the symptoms after smoking, their balance and posture were negatively affected. Also, maybe their spasticity reduced but it wasn’t measured.

Moreover, MS patients had a harder time maintaining their balance after smoking cannabis and were more negatively affected than the healthy participants.

Cognitive effects of cannabis for MS patients

A study by the American Academy of Neurology revealed that MS patients that used street cannabis performed worse than their counterparts who did not use the drug on cognitive tests.

The tests involved working memory, visuospatial perception, information processing speed, and executive functions.

Thus, regardless of the pain and spasticity relief cannabis provides, patients should be mindful of the possible cognitive drawback.

Still, CBD oil low in THC may provide relief while canceling out the potential negative side effects of cannabis in MS patients due to the lack of the psychoactive element of the drug. 

Additionally, some people find that taking CBD helps them improve their focus, which makes it a good alternative to THC during office hours. But, it remains an assumption for now, since there’s no scientific evidence on the subject yet.

Additionally, there’s still no evidence that medical marijuana will reduce tremors associated with MS.

Besides the side effects mentioned above, patients using marijuana may also experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression or psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Munchies

Best marijuana for multiple sclerosis

Once multiple sclerosis patients get their medical marijuana card, they’re excited to walk into a marijuana dispensary and pick the best strain for their MS.

But, upon getting to the marijuana dispensary, they find rows and rows of different strains of marijuana.

Then, another problem pops up, overabundance. There are just too many strains to choose from.

Experts put the number of marijuana strains available at well over 700. So, picking the best strain for multiple sclerosis is almost impossible.

Sheesh! Even picking between Sativa or Indica for your MS may cause a migraine.

However, patients needn’t face this dilemma. 

Sativa or Indica for MS 

Which is the best? Sativa or Indica for MS

Sativa and Indica are two distinct species of the marijuana plant. Both species differ in how they look and the type of ‘high’ they deliver.

Take Sativa plants, for instance, they are taller than their Indica counterparts, have a lighter shade of green, and their leaves are thinner.

In terms of the ‘high’ they dispatch, Sativa strains are notorious for their ‘head high’. As a result, patients experience a boost in mood, feel more productive and energetic.

These properties make Sativa strains prime candidates when dealing with conditions such as depression and fatigue.

When it comes to Indica strains, their high is a ‘body high’. This means that patients experience feelings of sedation and relaxation.

These qualities make Indica strains excel in treating chronic pain, insomnia, and muscle spasms.

We can see that most of the conditions Indica strains treat include some of the most common and dreadful symptoms of MS. Therefore, Indica strains are the best for multiple sclerosis.

Apart from Sativa and Indica strains, are hybrid strains; which come from crossing both species of cannabis.

Hybrid strains are extremely advantageous because they combine the best qualities from the Sativa and Indica strains.

For instance, patients can benefit from the body-numbing effects of Indica minus its sluggish effects while experiencing an improvement in energy synonymous with the Sativa.

7 of the best strains for multiple sclerosis

7 of the best strains for MS

When it comes to compiling a list of the best strains for multiple sclerosis, our choices are built on the reviews from patients who found these strains very beneficial for their MS symptoms.

This list contains a mix of Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid strains which have different effects but ultimately provide relief for multiple sclerosis patients.

To clarify, this is not a definitive list nor should it take precedence over your cannabis doctors’ recommendation. Remember, people react differently to each strain.

With that, let us have a look at the best strains for multiple sclerosis.

1. Sour diesel strain

Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid: This is a Sativa-dominant strain whose exact parentage is unknown. However, most sources believe that it may be a cross between the Chemdawg and Superskunk strains.

Effects: The dreamy cerebral and energizing effects of this strain occur almost immediately. Users experience a lively head high that is a trademark of most Sativa strains.

Medical value: The Sour Diesel strain thrives when treating depression, stress, chronic pain, and fatigue.

MS patients may enjoy the pain-alleviating properties of Sour Diesel plus an improvement in mood and productivity.

Time to use: Sour Diesel is a great wake and bake strain.

Bonus Information: The Sour Diesel strain gets its name from the pungent diesel-like smell it produces when burnt.

2. SFV OG Strain

Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid: The SFV OG strain is an Indica dominant hybrid.

Effects: Sativa effects begin with a cerebral rush that slowly dissipates as the Indica effects take over. 

Users will experience a feeling of euphoria and elevation followed by relaxing and sedative effects on the body. 

Medical value: The SFV OG strain stands out in treating chronic pain and fatigue, muscle spasms, stress, and depression. SFV OG is excellent in relieving pain while at the same time keeping the mind clear.

Multiple sclerosis patients benefit from the potent pain-relieving properties of this strain. Additionally, they gain from the mitigation of muscle spasms and inflammation.

Time to use: Unlike other Indica strains, users aren’t left completely ‘couch-locked but it’s still best for late afternoons or evenings when no urgent tasks beckon.

Bonus Information: The SFV OG strain’s name in full is the San Fernando Valley OG strain where it originates from.

3. Skywalker OG strain

Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid: The Skywalker OG strain is a potent Indica strain birthed from crossing the Mazar, Blueberry, and OG Kush strains.

Effects: Users experience strong body effects that may include mild tingling and numbness. Additionally, users may experience intense munchies.

The Skywalker OG strain is very potent and should be used in moderation since the effects come in quickly and it serves a very intense high.

Medical value: The Skywalker OG deals with pain, stress, lack of appetite, and anxiety.

Multiple sclerosis patients benefit from its effective pain-relieving properties.

Time to use: The Skywalker OG strain is an evening use strain.

Bonus Information: The Skywalker OG strain like its namesake, Luke Skywalker, is said to take users to a galaxy far far away…

4. Papaya Strain

Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid: The Papaya strain is a unique Indica dominant hybrid.

Effects: The Papaya strain starts like a typical Sativa strain where users experience a period of mental calmness, energy, and productivity. 

Afterward, the Indica takes over and the whole body becomes numb and users feel lazy.

Medical value: The Papaya strain’s powerful body high usually numbs even the most chronic of pains and aches. Moreover, cramps, inflammation, insomnia, anxiety, and muscle spasms vanish.

Perhaps the best strain for multiple sclerosis because of its effectiveness in dealing with chronic pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, and cramps.

Time to use: The evening is the best time to call upon the healing powers of the Papaya strain.

Bonus Information: Like its name, the Papaya strain smells a lot like the papaya fruit. Additionally, users are often ‘transported’ to a tropical paradise because of its relaxing and calming effects.

5. Critical Mass Strain

Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid: The Critical Mass strain is a potent Indica strain whose origin is the crossing between the Afghani and Skunk #1 strains.

Effects: In small doses, users will experience a period of creativity and calmness. But in higher doses, Critical Mass delivers a strong body high where users experience a body numbing buzz leaving users lazy and sedated.

Medical value: Critical Mass shines in treating several ailments. For instance, chronic pain, joint pain, muscle spasms, inflammation, insomnia, stress, anxiety, and nausea.

MS patients stand to reap the benefits of Critical Mass’s potent ability to ease MS joint pain, chronic pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms.

Time to use: Critical Mass is best for evening or nighttime use due to its heavy sedating abilities.

Bonus Information: The Critical Mass strain gets its name from the tendency of its branches breaking off under the weight of its dense buds.

6. Permafrost strain

Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid: The Permafrost is a Sativa dominant hybrid whose origin is unclear. But, the consensus seems to have fallen on the Permafrost being a cross between the Trainwreck and White Widow Strains.

Effects: The Permafrost strain is a unique strain with an incredible variety of effects. 

Usually, patients experience a strong sense of euphoria followed by a spike in creativity and energy.

In higher doses the Permafrost strain enhances sensory abilities, the user’s attention becomes transfixed and a full-body calm takes over.

This strain is very potent so small doses are advisable especially for beginners.

Medical value: The Permafrost strain relaxes and loosens up joints and muscles. Additionally, this strain has a reputation in the medical cannabis community for treating ADHD/ADD, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and gastrointestinal disorders such as IBD.

This is one of the best strains for multiple sclerosis because of its relaxing, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties.

Time to use: The Permafrost strain is a daytime strain.

Bonus Information: The Permafrost strain gets its name from the frost-like coat it has on its buds.

7. Lemon Ice Strain

Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid: The Lemon Ice strain is a Sativa dominant hybrid which is the lovechild of the Lemon Haze and Afghani strains.

Effects: Users often experience a headrush plus the flushing of cheeks or stimulation of the salivary glands.

This strain also drives productivity and creativity among users.

However, the strong Sativa effects of the Lemon Ice strain which act almost immediately may be too much to handle for those prone to anxiety. 

Medical value: The Lemon Ice strain works terrifically to ease intense chronic pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms.

The medicinal properties of the Lemon Ice strain also make it one of the best strains for multiple sclerosis.

Time to use: The Lemon Ice strain is a daytime strain.

Bonus Information: The Lemon Ice strain is notorious for acting fast. Some users report feeling its effects immediately after their first exhale.

The Best Terpenes for MS

terpenes are responsible for the aroma in cannabis

To begin, what are terpenes?

Terpenes are the largest and most diverse group of naturally occurring compounds mostly found in plants. And are mostly responsible for the aromatic properties in a plant. 

However, they are also responsible for a variety of biological roles. For example, warding off pathogens and attracting pollinators among other functions.

Terpenes are mostly associated with cannabis due to their high occurrence in cannabis plants.

Besides their aromatic properties, terpenes have tons of medicinal value. In fact, you could say that terpenes are severely underrated in terms of medicinal value. 

Why? Because terpenes don’t garner as much attention as THC and CBD when discussing the medicinal properties of cannabis.

The medical properties of terpenes include:

  • Antiplasmodial activities
  • Anticancer
  • Antiviral activities
  • Antidiabetic
  • Suppression of side effects
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiseptic
  • Astringent
  • Digestive aids
  • Diuretic properties (increase the amount of salt and water expelled from the body as urine)
  • Enhance skin penetration

In the treatment of MS, rarely are terpenes used solely as a medical marijuana product. Instead, MS patients encounter these terpenes when they use medical marijuana. This could be through smoking the bud, within CBD oil, or through other forms of medical marijuana.

The best terpenes for MS are unsurprisingly found in the best strains for multiple sclerosis.

7 of the best terpenes for MS

  1. Myrcene: this terpene has several medicinal properties. For instance, anticancer, antibiotic, antimutagenic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
    Moreover, myrcene works in synergy with THC to induce sedative properties that work wonders for pain. 
  1. Limonene: the limonene terpene has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antistress properties. Additionally, it’s responsible for mood elevation.
  1. L-Beta-Pinene: this terpene shines as an antidepressant besides its pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties.
  1. L-Alpha-Pinene: the L-alpha-Pinene terpene shines for its anticancer properties. Also, it’s responsible for euphoria, increased alertness, and reduced oil production in oily skin.
  1. Linalool: This terpene has anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, and anti-oxidant properties.
  1. Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene works as an antidepressant, antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.
    Also, this terpene is used in the treatment of seizures.
  1. Bisabolol: the final terpene on the list is an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, plus a pain-relieving agent.
    Additionally, Bisabolol can enhance skin absorption. Therefore, improving the effect of topicals (medicine applied to the skin).

Multiple sclerosis patients stand to benefit from the analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory (reducing inflammation) properties of these terpenes.

Even better is that most, if not all of the best strains for multiple sclerosis mentioned above have a mix of these terpenes. 

How to take your cannabis for MS

Weed cookies are an edible forms of medical marijuana

There are many forms of medical marijuana available in marijuana dispensaries. For instance, cannabis gummies, THC capsules, cannabis oils and extracts, weed cookies, and so much more.

Whichever form of medical marijuana patients decide to take is largely based on their personal preference and their cannabis doctor’s recommendation.

However, several studies on multiple sclerosis and cannabis use reveal that:

  • Cannabis extract taken in a capsule form can help ease muscle stiffness (spasticity) and spasms.
  • Marijuana extracts may reduce pain.
  • An oral (mouth) spray form likely reduces spasticity, pain, and bladder urgency.

It seems that studies favor oral admission of cannabis for MS. Mainly because of the longer-lasting effects of THC when taken orally. 

Yet, some patients advocate for smokable marijuana in their treatment instead. Perhaps more knowledge on smokable marijuana vs edibles would help you make an informed choice.

What about CBD oil for multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil or Hemp oil has piqued the interest of many patients with multiple sclerosis as a possible treatment. 

There are reports from MS patients that CBD oil has worked wonders for their symptoms. For example, easing the chronic pain and muscle spasms that come with MS.

Some even claim that CBD oil could be a potential cure for MS. Is this true?

As a cure, it’s unlikely that even the most potent CBD oil works such wonders. Even so, CBD oil may have some benefits for MS.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is a product made from extracting a cannabinoid known as cannabidiol (CBD) from the marijuana plant.

The cannabinoid, CBD, is hailed in medical circles for having an abundance of medicinal value minus the psychoactive effects. In simple terms, CBD provides medicinal value without inducing the ‘high’.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the culprit cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. 

Commercially available CBD oil is usually extracted from the hemp plant which has loads of CBD and low amounts of THC. Usually below 0.3% of THC.

Potential benefits of CBD oil for MS

Whereas most CBD oils come advertised with some lofty promises, some come packed with genuine medicinal value. Some benefits of CBD oil may include:

  • Pain relief
  • Easing cancer symptoms and reducing the intensity of the side effects of cancer treatment.
  • Reducing anxiety and depression
  • Improving sleep.
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Treating epilepsy
  • Minimizing drug-seeking behavior (treating addiction)

For MS patients, CBD oil may help reduce:

  • Inflammation
  • Spasticity
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Reliance on MS pain medication

Downsides of CBD oil for MS

First, commercially available CBD oils aren’t FDA approved. This is because they are marketed as supplements and not medicine. 

As a result, they don’t undergo the rigorous testing that medicine undergoes before entry into the market. So, the said benefits of CBD oils should be taken with a grain of salt.

Secondly, CBD products available online aren’t made the same and some products don’t match what their labels indicate. 

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine studied 84 CBD products purchased online.

The results? More than 25% of the products contained less cannabidiol than indicated and 18 of the products contained THC. Moreover, 70% of the products in the study were mislabeled.

Thirdly, the variability of the CBD products available in the market makes it very difficult to test the effectiveness and achieve a consistent dosage pattern.

As far as genuine and consistent CBD products go, InstacraftCBD excels in making pure hemp-extracted CBD oil products that are lab-tested by a third party after manufacture.

Speak to a cannabis doctor

QuickMedCards’ patients can have their marijuana evaluation online through video call

When seeking medical cannabis as a treatment method for a serious medical condition such as MS it is important to consult with a qualified cannabis doctor.

Why? Well, first, to have access to medical marijuana in your state (if medical marijuana is legal), you need an MMJ recommendation from a qualified cannabis doctor to apply for a medical marijuana card.

Second, having a list of the best strains for multiple sclerosis doesn’t necessarily mean that they will work for you. In fact, most of the strains mentioned on the list are very potent and an ‘overdose’ could lead to an unpleasant experience.

Everyone reacts differently to various strains of marijuana so you need a personalized guide; tailor-made for you to bring you the best results from your treatment. And that’s what QuickMedCards’ cannabis doctors excel in.

Our professional, experienced, and compassionate cannabis doctors will lend a listening ear to your concerns. And, provide a personalized MMJ treatment plan besides an MMJ recommendation for your medical card application.

This way, you won’t be confused about picking the best strain for your multiple sclerosis once you head to the marijuana dispensary with your med card in hand.

Moreover, patients get this service at no extra cost. As a matter of fact, the cost of an MMJ recommendation plus a personalized treatment plan from QuickMedCards is cheaper than the cost of an MMJ recommendation from all our competitors.

Have a look at the medical marijuana card application process in your state and get approved quickly!

  1. Maine 
  2. New York 
  3. Oklahoma 
  4. Maryland 
  5. Arizona 
  6. Minnesota
  7. Virginia
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. New Mexico 
  10. New Jersey
  11. Missouri
  12. Louisiana
  13. Iowa 
  14. Hawaii
  15. Delaware
  16. Arkansas
  17. Connecticut
  18. Ohio
  19. West Virginia

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a condition that occurs when your body’s defense system begins to work against your nervous system. So, the immune system destroys the myelin sheath; a protective coat surrounding your nerves in the spine and brain.

A scathed myelin layer causes nerves to lose some or all their ability to send impulses. The communication between your brain and other parts of your body is then altered due to the damaged nerves.

Unfortunately, MS can be disabling if the damage to the nerves becomes too severe.

There’s no known cure for MS. But, various treatments can still help improve restoration from attacks, change the course of the disease, and manage its symptoms.

Causes of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease whose cause is unknown.

Even so, there are several risk factors believed to bring about MS:

  • Age: MS can occur at any age but may develop at 20 or 40 years of age.
  • Sex: Women are twice as likely as men to have relapsing-remitting MS.
  • Genetics: You are more likely to develop MS if there’s a history of MS in your family. For example, your parents or siblings.
  • Viruses: The Epstein-Barr virus has links to MS.
  • Ethnicity: People of Northern European descent are at a higher risk of developing MS.
  • Climate: MS is common in temperate climates like Northern US, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, and southeastern Australia
  • Vitamin deficiency: A lack of vitamin D may also play a role in developing MS.
  • Other autoimmune diseases: such as pernicious anemia, psoriasis, thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or type 1 diabetes.
  • Smoking.

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Patients suffering from MS may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chronic pain (tingling or pain in parts of your body)
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs occurring on one side of your body at a time
  • Electric-shock sensations that occur with specific neck movements
  • Tremors
  • Lack of coordination
  • Partial or complete vision loss occurring at one eye at a time with painful eye movement
  • Prolonged double vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with bowel, sexual, or bladder functions
  • Spasticity (muscle stiffness)

Multiple sclerosis treatment options

  1. Medications such as chemotherapy drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressive drugs, and steroids are used in the treatment of MS.
    But, most of these drugs have severe side aftereffects. For example nausea, muscle weakening, and heart damage among others.
  2. Therapy in the form of counseling, support groups, acupuncture, and physical therapy may be effective in treating and dealing with MS.
  3. Self-care such as physical exercise and dieting improves the quality of life in MS patients.

What do the experts say about cannabis and MS?

First, is Dean M. Wingerchuk, M.D., a neurologist and clinical epidemiologist specializing in neuroimmunology.

Dr. Wingerchuk agrees that there are studies that support certain cannabis treatments being effective in MS therapy. But, he also states that there are some downsides to using cannabis for MS treatment.

In his conclusion, Dr. Wingerchuk maintains that more research is necessary to be completely clear on whether cannabis is better than the existing treatment options in terms of effectiveness and the seriousness of its side effects.

A recent interview by the Neurology Advisor with Clyde E. Markowitz, MD, the director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Penn and Thorsten Rudroff, Ph.D., the Assistant Professor of Neurology – Movement Disorders in the University of Iowa Health Care saw the two specialists agree that cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of pain and spasticity in MS patients.

Additionally, the two doctors shared their patients’ experiences who reported feeling better after taking cannabis, and how some of them managed to replace their prescription medication with marijuana.

Despite their generally positive outlook, both doctors did advocate for further research on cannabis use among MS patients. Indicating that extensive research would make it possible to provide more accurate dosing options and reveal potential long-term effects of cannabis use among people with MS.

Key takeaways

  • Cannabis is beneficial for multiple sclerosis treatment especially in alleviating pain and muscle spasticity.
  • Despite its benefits, marijuana may worsen balance problems and negative cognitive effects associated with MS.
  • There’s still a lot of research required to determine whether cannabis is the best treatment for multiple sclerosis symptoms.
  • Oral cannabis forms may be the most effective in diminishing some symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
  • It’s important to speak to a cannabis doctor to know the best options for your cannabis treatment.