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Cannabis as a Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is most common in women between twenty and forty years old. It is a debilitating and progressive disease of the central nervous system that affects the brain and spinal cord. An estimated 400,000 people in the United States suffer from MS. Symptoms include numbness and tingling, sensory and vision problems, tremors, gait and balance issues, dizziness, and fatigue. There is no known cure and left untreated, multiple sclerosis can lead to complications such as paralysis, epilepsy, and mental and emotional changes.

Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis & How Cannabis Can Help

Although medications slow the progression, control the symptoms of the disease, and prevent relapses of multiple sclerosis by suppressing the immune system, the side effects can be devastating. Used in MS treatment, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and muscle relaxants have been known to cause nausea and vomiting, flu-like symptoms, back pain and such long-term complications as liver problems, hair loss, nerve damage, mood changes, and more.

Despite the debilitating and progressive nature of this disease, cannabinoids are proving effective at inhibiting inflammation, reducing spasticity, controlling neuropathic pain, reducing excitotoxicity, and addressing other symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis with minimal side effects. Successful studies, trials, and stories continue to offer hope and relief to people suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Benefits of Cannabis For Symptoms of MS

  • THC produces anti-inflammatory effects by activating the ECS’ CB1 receptors.
  • THC kills pro-inflammatory cells by activating their caspase.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) offers anti-inflammatory properties without the psychoactive effects of THC.
  • CBD inhibits the production of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), which plays a role in inflammation.
  • CBD suppresses the function of certain white blood cells which secrete antibodies, destroy the myelin sheath and cause severe inflammation.
  • THC and CBD work well together to reduce spasticity. While THC activates CB1 receptors to reduce spasticity, CBD lessens the psychoactive effects of THC by activating the allosteric sites of CB116, changing its size and preventing THC from binding with it, and by binding with the enzymes responsible for breaking down THC.
  • THC and CBD both reduce neuropathic pain by suppressing the release of glutamate.
  • THC reduces sensitivity to pain by activating CB1 receptors, which influence pain perception. CBD reduces pain by stimulating two different receptors which are also linked to pain perception.
  • Both minimize inflammation by inducing apoptosis of proinflammatory cells, stimulating CB1 receptors, and activating CB2 receptors of the immune cells.
  • CBD has neuroprotective properties, suppressing the inflammatory process.
  • CBD improves brain metabolic activity, resulting in enhanced motor and cognitive performance.
  • Cannabinoids are potent antioxidants which counteract the effects of oxidation and excitotoxicity.
  • THC and CBD have proven effective at alleviating gastrointestinal inflammation and diarrhea symptoms in some patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • THC and CBD help control anxiety and depression in patients suffering from MS.

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