Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system, meaning the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. It can cause paralysis, blindness, extreme fatigue, trembling, mental cognition difficulties and more. The disease is unpredictable and chronically affects the central nervous system.
Since MS damages the central nervous system, it can affect nearly every system and function of the brain and body. Most with the condition are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, but children and the elderly can develop the condition, and it actually affects women 2 to 3 times as much as it does men.
The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation estimates that globally, about 2.5 million people have MS, with almost half a million of them are in the United States. About 200 new cases of MS are diagnosed each week in the U.S. and research shows that the condition is actually twice as common in the northern states than in the southern states that below the 37th parallel.
In MS, the central nervous system suffers from chronic inflammatory damage to myelin, the protective insulation that surrounds nerve fibers, the cells that make CNS myelin, and even the nerves themselves. Until recently scientists have not known the cause of the condition.
A study published in the journal Neuroinflammation found that large amounts of a protein called Rab32 are present in the brains of people with MS, while typically it’s absent in healthy brain cells.
Mitochondria near the endoplasmic reticulum begin to malfunction leading to building up of the protein in the brain. While this is not the root cause of MS, this discovery is leading scientists to believe the condition may originate within the base of the ER organelle.
The FDA has approved more than a dozen medications to treat MS. The drugs are called disease-modifying, or rather immune-modulators because they affect the functioning of the immune system. Dr. Ari Green, the assistant clinical director of the UCSF Multiple Sclerosis Center and director of the UCSF Neurodiagnostics Center in San Francisco, is quoted in Everyday Health saying,
“One of the challenges of treating multiple sclerosis is balancing risk and benefit. Stronger medications might be more effective at slowing the progression of the disease, but they may also be associated with more risks.”
MS medication dampens the immune system to prevent neuropathic pain and inflammation. It can increase the risk of deadly infections and cause extreme fatigue, joint pain, and flu-like symptoms. Some medications, such as interferon, can cause damage to the liver and mood disorders like depression.
MS drugs in long-term are associated with additional pharmaceuticals for management of pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, etc. Some MS drugs, like mitoxantrone, can even cause life-threatening cardiotoxicity.
Find out more information and research into the side effects of these types of medications in our linked conditions articles.
For years MS patients have anecdotally reported that cannabis use greatly manages the debilitating symptoms of their disease. There are many reasons why cannabis helps MS patients’ symptoms, which are many and broadly affect most of the body’s functions and systems.
Compounds that are produced in maturing marijuana flowers, [cannabinoids] such as [CBD] and [terpenes] like [Caryophyllene], are able to bind to [receptors] in humans and animals, which helps to modulate systems of cognition, pain perception, inflammation, and many others. Cannabis essentially alters the way specialized cells and neurons interact, communicate, and act out important biological processes. Our bodies naturally have [cannabinoids], like [anandamide], that is apart of the endocannabinoid system.
Research into cannabis has shown that it has antioxidant properties that can protect the brain, which is promising for MS patients and also Alzheimer’s disease patients. Current research proves that cannabis is a promising treatment for MS patients. Beyond the studies proving abilities to alleviate chronic pain, GI problems, and muscle spasms, a recent paper published in The British Journal of Pharmacology stated that CBD treatment during the onset of MS ameliorated the severity of the clinical signs of MS.
Researchers found that CBD, in mice injected with a specific protein for triggering MS-like conditions, diminishes damage and inflammation in nerves and microglial activations, as well as increases vital T cell recruitment. The research also shows that CBD was able to help proliferate the T cells throughout the spinal cord. Essentially, CBD is able to stop the processes the cause MS symptoms. So, not only can cannabis help to manage symptoms, the spasms and neuropathy of MS, but it could also prevent the disease from developing and progressing.
Marijuana affects individuals uniquely, so speak first with a physician and medical marijuana professional about using cannabis. Linked below you will find strains that have been reported to help many others with MS to manage and treat their condition and symptoms.
· [[13 Dawgs]]
· [[3 Kings]]
· [[8 Ball Kush]]
· [[Afghani CBD]]
· [[Arjan’s Haze #2]]
· [[Azure Haze]]
· [[BB King]]
· [[Bettie Page]]
· [[Black Mamba]]
· [[Blackberry Haze]]
· [[Blackberry Rhino]]
· [[Brain’s Escape]]
· [[Bubba OG]]
· [[CBD Mango Haze]]
· [[CBD Shark]]
· [[Chocolate Kush]]