Multiple sclerosis is a difficult disease to live with, and it is even potentially disabling at later stages. Can CBD offer some help?
CBD for MS at a glance
What the claims are: Using CBD can slow the neurodegenerative process of MS; improve motor function of those suffering from MS; manage symptoms of MS such as pain, neuropathy, muscle spasms, problems sleeping, and tremors; and help mitigate seizures due to MS.
What the studies show: While more clinical trials on the use of CBD for MS are needed, early studies show that adding supplemental CBD to an established medical regimen can assist patients in reducing fatigue, muscle spasticity, and pain, while potentially increasing mobility. Because it has also been shown to help manage inflammation, there is a lot of therapeutic potential in a CBD for MS regimen.
What the facts say: At this point, many of the studies on the effects of CBD for MS have largely included the use of medical marijuana containing THC. More clinical trials on CBD alone need to be conducted in order to get a better understanding of its long-term efficacy. At this time, there does seem to be both encouraging early research as well as anecdotal evidence as many people are finding relief from some of their symptoms by using CBD for MS.
What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the protective sheath that covers the nerve fibers. This throws a wrench in the communication system between your brain and your body. As the disease progresses, it can cause nerve deterioration and eventual paralysis.
While MS can affect almost anyone, it tends to present between the ages of 15 and 60, and affects women twice as often as men. Family history also plays a role in that; if one of your parents or siblings has had this disease, you are at higher risk of developing it as well. Race also seems to be a factor, with Caucasian people of Northern European descent being the highest risk group.
While we aren’t completely sure what causes MS, some scientists believe it may be triggered by an unknown environmental factor in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond. There are certain infections and a variety of viruses that have been linked to MS, including Epstein-Barr.
In addition to the potential symptoms of MS which include numbness of the limbs, loss of vision, tingling and pain in extremities, tremors, slurred speech, and fatigue, there are also complications that can present, including:
- Muscle spasms and/or stiffness
- Leg paralysis
- Bladder problems
- Mood swings and/or depression
How CBD can be used to help with MS?
Our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems are involved in regulating various cognitive and physiological functions, including mood and pain sensation. Because CBD (cannabidiol) interacts with our bodies’ cannabinoid receptors, it seems to have a beneficial effect on both the pain and inflammation associated with MS. Early research even shows that it could potentially slow the progression of this disease due to its effect on the nerve deterioration that can be caused by inflammation.
Many of the struggles that people suffering from MS go through are caused by other complications of this disease, such as sleeplessness, fatigue, depression, and neuropathy, and which can also be helped by using CBD for MS.
Of people who cite CBD as an excellent weapon in their arsenal against MS, we tend to see many who suggest that the effects are cumulative. They don’t wait until they’re having a terrible flare up. They take it every day and, over time, find that their symptoms begin to abate. Others still find that by upping their dosage during a flare up, they are able to function in a way they previously weren’t able to.
What are the risks of using CBD for MS?
Known potential risks are few. CBD for MS is generally well-tolerated by most adults. It’s important to note that CBD is not considered to have addictive properties, and there are very few potential side effects. Those that can present include dry mouth, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. It’s also important to note that the long-term effects of using CBD for MS aren’t known at this time.
We also like to remind anyone considering a CBD for MS regimen that CBD isn’t isn’t a cure-all. While it is clearly helping some people suffering from MS manage their pain, it doesn’t work for everyone. While we’ve seen some miraculous anecdotes, we’ve also seen posts from people who find that their symptoms are unchanged.
It’s really important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Quality is very important when it comes CBD and you want to ensure you research the best brands and, most of all, stay consistent and give it a chance to work.
At this time, it’s not typically recommended to use CBD for MS in lieu of medications commonly prescribed to treat this disease. That said, there does seem to be growing evidence to support a CBD regimen in addition to other physician prescribed medications that are intended to slow or halt the progression of this insidious disease.
Should I give CBD for MS a try?
CBD for MS is definitely a solid option to consider adding to your regimen. That said, especially with a disease that can progress and potentially cause permanent nerve damage like MS, it’s vital that you talk to your healthcare professional to see if adopting a CBD regimen to help with your symptoms if right for you.
- Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis
- Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System
- Cannabidiol provides long-lasting protection against the deleterious effects of inflammation in a viral model of multiple sclerosis: a role for A2A receptors.
- Mayo Clinic : Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Wikipedia : Endocannabinoid system
- Researching Marijuana for Therapeutic Purposes: The Potential Promise of Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Medical Marijuana (Cannabis)
- What Is MS?
- CBD From Hemp and How It’s Helped My MS