August 5, 2019

Cannabis and Multiple Sclerosis – What Do We Know?

Cannabis and Multiple Sclerosis

Those that have multiple sclerosis (MS), or know someone with it, know that it is an unpredictable disease that can sometimes prevent you from fully participating in day to day activities. MS attacks the central nervous system and can cause muscle spasticity, pain and inflammation. While there is no cure, there are disease-modifying therapies, such as cannabis use, that can provide some relief with little to no side effects. ​

​This article will provide and introduction to how cannabis can alleviate some symptoms of this disease. The information here can be useful for a wide range of people including cannabis professionals, health and medical professionals, If you have been diagnosed with MS and/or if you’re currently or considering becoming a caretaker for someone with MS, this article is for you.

Calming Muscle Spasms

Muscle spasticity in MS patients can be severe at times, causing an increase in muscle tone which results in painful muscle spasms and stiffness, which can in turn impair mobility.  Cannabis works with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to reduce the inflammatory proteins in the muscle, which are the cause of the muscle spasms. Cannabis products can be smoked, eaten or applied topically. Localized treatments, as in topical creams or oils, tend to work best with muscle spasms as they can be applied directly to the spastic area, numbing it and providing instant relief. 

Analgesic Properties

Neuropathic pain, such as that associated with MS patients, is hard to treat as it is not caused by inflammation. Most pain meds work to relieve that inflammation, which reduces pain. Due to this, many MS patients are turning to cannabis. This is because the cannabis plant has many naturally occurring chemicals with medicinal properties. One such property is an analgesic (painkiller). The peripheral nerves in your nervous system detect pain sensations, which is exactly what happens in MS. Cannabis has been shown to alleviate neuropathic pain associated with MS by blocking the peripheral nerve pain and providing pain relief.


Many multiple sclerosis patients become depressed. In fact, 50% of MS patients have shown signs of clinical depression, and have turned to cannabis to help relieve these symptoms. The molecules in cannabis bind to and activate the endocannabinoid system throughout the body and the brain. These receptors alter the balance of your mind, decreasing the symptoms related to depression.

CBD For Treating Multiple Sclerosis

Cannabidiol (CBD) reduces spasticity, pain, inflammation, fatigue and depression in people with MS. It is thought that the combination of these factors will improve mobility in MS patients and lead to a better quality of life. Multiple research studies have concluded that cannabis products containing over a 1:1 ratio of CBD:THC are effective for treating symptoms of MS. One of the primary ways CBD contributes it’s therapeutic efficacy is by reducing the overactive signaling between immune cells that occurs in MS, as well as a wide range of other diseases.

Growing Cannabis For MS Patients

If you want to start growing cannabis to help yourself or someone else treat the symptoms of MS, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, check your local laws to make sure it’s legal, then you need to find a trustworthy source of seeds that will produce high CBD plants. Often times these will be labeled as hemp seeds, because the legal distinction between cannabis and hemp is simply the amount of THC each plant produces. The most important thing is to make sure it’s a variety that produces only CBD, but it’s also incredibly useful if the plants will have high oil content and were bred by knowledgeable cannabis farmers.
As medical cannabis is becoming legal in more states, cannabinoid-based medicines are becoming more readily available. As a result, more and more multiple sclerosis patients are turning to the therapeutic benefits of cannabis to help relieve symptoms associated with the condition. Some patients have even reported coming off medications altogether as cannabis therapy has provided greater relief with fewer side effects. As with any medication, consult your health care provider to ensure that is doesn’t interact with any other medications you are taking.

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