CBD and its Effect on MS
By now you would be quite familiar with the fact that CBD has several uses in the body, but presents little to no harmful side effects for the user. CBD also has the additional benefit of not giving the user any weed like high. It works its magic on the body without the psychoactive nature of its cousin- cannabis with high concentrations of THC. Hence CBD is, for a lack of a better way to put it, a wonder drug. In this write up, we are going to see the effects CBD has on the incurable, degenerative, neurological condition called Multiple Sclerosis or MS.
What is MS?
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that affects the brain and the spinal chord. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society calls the disease an unpredictable, disabling disease that causes a disruption in the flow of information within the brain. Brain cells rely on multiple counts of information passing through their systems for all of its functions. MS also affects the brain’s communication between the rest of the body. The causes for MS are still unknown to science and cannot be predicted. As of now, all we know is that some people are more likely than others to respond to the environmental factors that cause MS. Most patients fall within the age group of 20 and 50. Women are two to three times more susceptible to MS than men.
There is no known cure for the disease and it is treated symptomatically. Some of the symptoms of MS includes:
- Fatigue- The most prominent and common symptom, it affects everyday life and productivity.
- Spasticity- Stiffness of the muscles and involuntary spasms affecting the limbs.
- Vision problems- Often the first noticeable symptom, blurred vision, irregular colour contrast and pain.
- Bowel problems- Loss of control and constipation are common with patients of MS.
- Emotional instability- The stress of living with MS due to the gradual worsening of health and its worsening symptoms often leaves the patient in a state of emotional instability. They can be quite irritable and prone to mood swings.
- Depression- It is common to see patients of MS suffering from mild to severe clinical depression. The depression faced by patients is more intense and becomes a part of the disease itself.
- Seizures and Tremors- caused by the irregular firing of neurons, patients often find themselves in a state of involuntary shaking of the limbs and other muscle groups.
- Body pain- Pain in various parts of the body is something that all MS patients have to live with. Most medication includes a lot of pain killers which can cause addiction.
How CBD can help
If you are familiar with the way CBD works and if you have used CBD before, you will know that it is one of the best ways to manage and control most of the symptoms mentioned above. CBD, when smoked, can be beneficial to patients in the following ways:
Inflammation is the major cause of pain with MS patients. It is triggered when proteins called cytokines. Cytokines are released as a response to immune cells going on overdrive within the brain. It progresses to a point where brain cells get damaged and can eventually die. The active ingredient of cannabidiol called CBD is one of the most potent anti-inflammatories known. Even the psychoactive THC rich cannabis is known to be equally potent. They deactivate the chemical responses in the brain that trigger inflammation. By doing this, CBD lowers pain and makes it manageable.
Creates new brain cells
The process of neurogenesis is spurred on by CBD. There are only a few known natural substances that possess this function. So, the damaged and scarred brain cells and tissue that form as a result of MS can be worked on by the compounds in CBD.
As an anti-oxidant, cannabis helps fight against oxidative stress similar to the way green tea works albeit on a much more potent level. Ant-oxidants are known to protect and soothe damaged nerve cells and DNA.
Effective neuroprotective qualities
Spasms and muscle stiffness are another reason why patients of MS are in constant pain. A study conducted at the University of Tel Aviv found that mice infected with a condition that is similar to MS, in that, they were paralysed and unable to use their limbs, were able to regain muscle strength and mobility after being injected with CBD. In a similar study at the University of Plymouth, the above claims by the researchers were reaffirmed. They found that muscle stiffness and seizures caused by MS and MS-like disorders responded well to both TCH-rich and CBD-rich strains of cannabis. After a 12 week study, the subjects that were given CBD were shown to have marked improvements in mobility and reduced spasticity. This study was conducted against a control group who were given placebos. More information on the mentioned studies can be found here and here.
Gastrointestinal problems that are common with MS patients can be effectively countered with CBD. As a well-known appetite stimulant, cannabis also increases the metabolism of users. It has been found that 70% of all cells that deal with the body’s immunity is found in the gut. That means, anything that is able to help with gut health is welcome. As part of its stimulant properties, CBD also reduces nausea and vomiting as well as provides relief from diarrhoea.
Gives restful sleep
As sufferers of MS might be well aware, sleep is a luxury. After all that pain, bowel problems and muscle stiffness, sleep is something that will surely be welcome. CBD is sure to promote sleep. Users might be aware of this effect, but it coming in when it is most needed can be a godsend. Some users might even experience ‘sleep hangovers’ which sounds bad to a person who needs to get to work, but is extremely pleasurable for a person crippled with discomfort all their life.
CBD is something that all patients with MS should try at some point of time for it is truly magical.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.