Marijuana Proves To Help With MS Symptoms, So What’s the Deal?

Marijuana and Multiple Sclerosis MS

Marijuana Could Reduce The Need for Additional Medication For MS

Research has been published that marijuana, cannabis, shows after several different studies that it is effective for reducing muscle spasticity, chronic pain, and over active bladder issues in Multiple Sclerosis. In some reports, it has also been effective in assisting with sleep disorders, decreasing depression, ataxia, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction. What I found interesting is that it is used to reduce nausea with patients undergoing chemotherapy, but not listed as one of the positives received from taking it. I don’t know about you, but nausea is one of my top 5 symptoms that I experience as a side effective from medications I take for some of the symptoms of MS.

Medicinal Marijuana Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis

Most of these studies were performed as a double blind study using different methods of delivering cannabis into the body such as smoking, capsules, and oral spray. The capsule form is from extracts of marijuana called THC, tetrahydrocannabinol. A synthetic form of cannabis called dronabinol has been used in studies of Primary Progressive MS and Secondary Progressive MS. The oral spray is known as nabiximols, or Satirex. None of these forms though has shown to decrease the progression of Multiple Sclerosis. The oral spray has been approved in 11 countries with 13 more seeking approval to aide in the symptoms mentioned above, but the United States is not one of them.

With each of these uses, the spasticity score dropped by 2.74 % in patients of the studies by those who smoked marijuana verses a placebo which is considered meaningful. The pain level dropped by 50%.  The one area that did not show improvement at all was in the cognitive area. According to research, people in these studies varied according to age, gender, types of MS, and whether they were long time users or had never used marijuana before. With all these varied study groups, the cognitive function actually decreased according to MRI results and other tests performed. It also was stated that decreased cognitive function has been associated with the use of Baclofen and Zanaflex but not to the degree seen with the use of cannabis. Side effects from the use of marijuana include headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, fatigue, and UTI, or urinary tract infection.

How marijuana or cannabis works is our body naturally produces cannabinoids, a group of chemicals also found in marijuana. Studies have suggested that the cannabinoid receptors on our cells help regulate muscle spasticity. Even though it does help with some symptoms mentioned above for MS, it has not been shown to help in other nerve related diseases such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s.

Marijuana

The MS Society has stated that it supports the rights of people with Multiple Sclerosis to work with their healthcare providers to access marijuana for medical purposes with legal regulation and encourages more research. My point of view is that since all the studies have proven these results, this one drug could eliminate the need for muscle relaxers, pain medication, sleep aides, anxiety or depression medication, nausea drugs, even medications used for bladder issues then this is a fantastic news along with major costs savings and prevention of side effects that we experience from taking all these different drugs. The major problem is that it is illegal in many states even for medical use, and legal issues could arise from trying to purchase it for ourselves. We all don’t live in Colorado or Washington state but those who I have spoken with that have used it has given it a big thumbs up with reducing a lot of their symptoms. Unfortunately, the rest of us are at the mercy of our government or states to legalize it, at least for medical purposes. That could be a long wait.

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.