The Top 4 Benefit of Cannabis on Patients with Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple studies have indicated positive effects of cannabis including on the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
1. Anti Inflammatory Effects
The primary characteristic of multiple sclerosis is an inflammation in the neural tissue. Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disease.
In this, the body’s own immune cells attack the central nervous system leading to inflammation of the myelin sheath which encloses the neurons in the brain as well as spinal column.
This inflammation can lead to the irreparable damage of the myelin sheath which can cause a wide range of neurological symptoms, including muscle weakness and spasms, fatigue, loss of motor control and unstable mood.
A potential remedy for inflammation caused by MS is cannabis. It has been used for its anti- inflammatory properties by herbalists and physicians for years around the world.
In more recent years, there has been constant investigation to identify the ability of cannabis to decrease MS caused inflammation.
It has been found through researches that agonists of the CB- 1 receptor like THC or the endogenous agonist anandamide, exerts a neuroprotective effect in people who suffer from MS by decreasing the immune response, thereby reducing inflammation.
In one such study, it was found that mice that were bred to be deficient in Cb- 1 receptors showed more susceptibility to neurodegeneration and inflammation, when infected with an animal model of MS called experimental allergic encephalomyelitis.
2. Pain Relief
Marijuana can be highly beneficial in relieving pain. One of the most debilitating and common symptoms of MS is pain. It is experience by 50- 70% of patients with MS. Pain related to MS can occur either directly as a result of muscle spasms and pressure which is exerted spasticity on the musculoskeletal system.
An in-vivo clinical trial conducted in 2005 found that medicine which is cannabis- based and delivered in the form of a sublingual spray, demonstrated to be more effective than the placebo at reducing sleep disturbances and pain in MS sufferers.
Cannabis which is smoked has also shown to be effective to reduce MS- related pain in various studies, which includes a patient survey of 112 MS sufferers from the United Kingdom and United States. It was found that majority of the people have reported a decrease in pain when they smoked cannabis.
3. Antispasmodic Effects
Sudden muscle spasms and involuntary contradictions of a muscle of group of muscles are a common feature of MS. Spasms can cause a temporary and sharp sensation of pain which mostly disappears after a short period. This sensation is reported by 80% of MS patients.
Another related symptom is muscle spasticity which refers to the state of a constant contradiction in a group of muscles or a single muscle, leading to stiffness, a sensation of ‘tightness’ and pain.
Cannabis has been demonstrated to decrease both severity of muscle spasticity as well as muscle spasms. A double-blind, randomized, crossover, placebo- controlled study was conducted in 2005 . The study found that 37 out of 50 patients who enrolled, showed improvements in frequency and mobility of muscle spasms.
4. Antidepressant Effects
A common feature of multiple sclerosis is clinical depression, experienced by around 50% of MS patients throughout the course of illness.
Depression may occur because of the damage caused to the nerves which helps regulate mood. MS can also cause a range of related symptoms of emotional dysfunction.
Various studies have indicated that CBC, THC and CBD can have an antidepressant effect. The endocannabinoid system can also play an important role in the subjective levels of happiness and regulation; endocannabinoids like anandamide are fundamental to the process. It is known that some genetic variations in expression of CB- 1 receptors can make some individuals more prone to the mood- elevating effects of cannabis.
Author- Rebecca Siggers