Medical Marijuana for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis in Florida
Is it possible medical marijuana can help multiple sclerosis patients cope with their debilitating symptoms? In this article, we will talk about the benefits of cannabis therapies for MS patients and the various ways medical cannabis is being used to help treat this life-altering condition and its array of debilitating symptoms.
With medical marijuana now legal in 30 U.S. states, thousands of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients nationwide are finding relief from their symptoms and improving their overall quality of life.
Multiple sclerosis is an incurable condition and one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases.
There is strong evidence indicating the role of genetics in inheriting MS, especially if a sibling or parent has the disease. Another possible precursor to the acquisition of MS may be exposure to or history of Epstein-Barr (the virus that triggers mononucleosis).
Surprisingly, females are more susceptible to MS than males. Caucasians of Northern European heritage are in the highest risk group, conversely, Asians, Native Americans, and Africans are the lowest risk group.
Multiple sclerosis can rear its ugly head at any age, however, individuals between the ages of 20-40 have the highest incidence.
MS eventually erodes the myelin sheath surrounding neurons, creating a disruption of signals to the central nervous system. This erosion eventually causes impairment of muscle coordination and motor function.
MS Patients Suffer From Many Symptoms
MS patients suffer from many symptoms including:
Blindness in one eye
Bowel and bladder dysfunction
Electric shock sensations
There are several standard treatments for MS symptoms. Most options provide only temporary relief.
These potent drugs often come with a host of unwanted side effects such as, abdominal pain, blurred vision, slurred speech, constipation, and diarrhea. In some cases, these drugs are ultimately responsible for the patient’s death.
Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat MS?
An inflammatory response is largely to blame for the damage done to neurons and the onset of the myriad symptoms associated with MS. Medical marijuana has shown great promise in its ability to treat neurological conditions such as MS by significantly reducing inflammation.
Furthermore, the antioxidative effects of cannabis help to protect neurons from the ravages of degeneration.
Medical marijuana has also been shown to lessen the frequency, severity, and possibly eradicate the seizures suffered by some MS patients.
Many medical marijuana patients also report a reduction in feelings of depression and fatigue as well as improved mobility.
The mild side effects reported by a small percentage of MS patients when using cannabis oils include changes in appetite, drowsiness, and sometimes diarrhea. These symptoms may be a result of low-quality cannabis products, the formula being used, or the type of product. Trying a different formula or delivery method might eliminate these side effects.
Research On Medical Marijuana In The Treatment Of Multiple Sclerosis
More and more evidence regarding medical cannabis and its efficacy in treating MS, both anecdotal and clinical, is being brought into the spotlight as it gains support from medical experts around the globe.
Below are quotes and excerpts from studies into the efficacy of medical marijuana in treating MS. You will find links to these reports at the bottom of the article.
A 2005 UK survey discovered that when 43 percent of MS patients were given medical cannabis for symptom relief, three-quarters of the subjects reported an improvement in spasticity and pain.
In an early study, Dr. Sanchez-Ramos reported that cannabis is shown to potentially “slow the onset and progression of neurodegenerative conditions.” In this early study, it was shown that cannabinoids facilitate antioxidative and neuroprotective actions.
Dr. Andras Bilkey-Gorzo reported in a 2012 research review:
“At first sight, it is striking that cannabinoid, substances known to impair cognitive functions, could be beneficial in neurodegenerative cognitive disorders. However, [we found] cannabinoid receptor activation could reduce oxidative stress and excitotoxicity, suppress neuroinflammatory processes, and thus alleviate the symptoms of neurodegenerative motor and cognitive diseases.”
Researchers from London’s Institute of Neurology reported:
“In addition to symptom management, cannabis may also slow down the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability in multiple sclerosis and probably other neurodegenerative diseases.”
The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences reported favorable results when they administered cannabis to MS patients. An amazing 96 percent of the participants experienced a radical cessation of their MS symptoms. The researchers concluded:
“This is an exciting time for cannabinoid research. There is a growing amount of data to suggest that cannabis can alleviate symptoms like muscle spasticity and pain in patients with MS.”
And as early as 1998, the British House of Lords presented this evidence, prompting one lawmaker to state:
“We have seen enough evidence to convince us that a doctor might legitimately want to prescribe cannabis to relieve… the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and that the criminal law ought not to stand in the way.”
In March 2014 the British Journal of Pharmacology made this statement:
“A common issue with neurological disorders is the chronic inflammation of neurons. Both THC and CBD have been shown to produce strong anti-inflammatory responses that may trigger the onset of neurological diseases. Furthermore, THC and CBD have antioxidant properties and are known to protect against the degeneration of neurons and nerve cells in the brain.”
Furthermore, a UK company called GW Pharmaceuticals has successfully created a cannabis-based protocol for MS patients. Recent trials show promising results for their drug Sativex in reducing pain and spasticity. The product has proven to be successful enough for the Canadian government to greenlight Sativex for use in the treatment of MS.
Further research is still required to fully comprehend the health benefits of medical cannabis and its utilization in the treatment of MS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Delivery Methods Available For Treating MS
Because of the wide variety of cannabis strains and delivery methods available, a cannabis protocol can be formulated for each client’s individual needs, symptoms, and lifestyle.
Cannabis products come in a wide menu of options including dried flower for smoking or cooking, vape oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles, topicals, patches, and more.
Marijuana Strains Available For Treating MS
Some medical marijuana strains being touted for the efficacy in treating MS include:
If a local dispensary doesn’t carry these strains, a patient should talk to a knowledgeable budtender about their symptoms and other concerns. Oftentimes there are other effective strains on their menu.
Some patients may not tolerate high THC levels due to the intoxication it can cause. However, THC-free, high-CBD strains are also known to provide relief. Moreover, CBD products produced from hemp rather than marijuana can be purchased over the counter.
How To Get A Florida Medical Marijuana Card For MS
Patients suffering from MS should contact a state-certified medical marijuana doctor in their area to discuss whether or not the patient is eligible for medical marijuana in their state. If the patient is eligible, the phone call will be followed up by an in-person evaluation. The healthcare provider’s staff will usually walk each patient through the process of completing the required applications.
Click here to learn more about how to get a medical marijuana card in your state.
Click here to find a certified medical marijuana doctor in your area.
Sources and Additional Reading
- Cannabis use in patients with multiple sclerosis
- Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis
- CBD counteracted the development of experimental MS
- MS News – CBD and Multiple Sclerosis: What You Need to Know
- MedCard – Medical Marijuana for Multiple Sclerosis
- Meta-analysis of cannabis-based treatments for neuropathic and multiple sclerosis-related pain
- Sativex for the management of multiple sclerosis symptoms
- THC & CBD oromucosal spray (Sativex®) in the management of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis
- Clinical efficacy and effectiveness of Sativex, a combined cannabinoid medicine, in multiple sclerosis-related spasticity