Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable and cruel disease of the central nervous system. It disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and rest of the body. The myelin sheath that protects nerve fibers becomes damaged by repeated attacks. To date there is no known cause or cure. Can CBD help relieve the symptoms of MS?
Researchers suspect that a combination of environmental and genetic factors may contribute to the risk of developing MS. At this stage they they don’t know for sure.
The disease, its progress and severity cannot be accurately predicted in any individual. Everyone’s experience of MS is different, which makes it hard to treat.
Most of those diagnosed are female between 15 and 50 years old. The total number of MS sufferers in the world today is over 2.4 million. Canada has the highest number of MS sufferers in the world, over 100,000 in 2019.
What are the Symptoms of MS?
Something triggers the immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord. This results in damage to the myelin layer that protects the wire-like nerve fibers in the brain. This damage disrupts signals to and from the brain. This interruption in communication signals, causes varied and unpredictable symptoms, which can include:
- Mobility problems
- Bladder Issues
- Spasticity, muscle tightness, and spasms
- Mood changes
- Memory problems
- Fatigue and Eye problems like double vision and blindness
- Balance and walking issues
Types of MS
Everyone’s experience with MS is different. Symptoms may be temporary, long lasting or permanent. There are four types of MS ‘course’ as defined by the International Advisory Committee on Clinical Trials of MS in 2013:
- Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CID),
- Relapsing Remitting (RRMS)
- Secondary Progressive (SPMS)
- Primary Progressive (PPMS)
Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS) (Source)
Myelin damage and loss in the brain is the cause of CIS. This is a common symptom of MS but doesn’t, by itself, meet the benchmarks for an MS diagnosis. Some who have CIS may or may not go on to acquire MS. FDA approved disease-modifying therapy early in the treatment of CIS can defer the onset of MS.
Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS) (Source)
RRMS is the most common MS disease diagnosis. It is signified by distinct attacks of different or worsening neurologic signs, followed by phases of partial or total recovery (remissions). RRMS is the primary diagnosis for around 85% of patients.
Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) (Source)
SPMS follows a relapsing-remitting sequence. Most people move to a secondary course. This means there is a progressive worsening of neurologic function (accumulation of disability) over time.
Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) (Source)
PPMS is a deteriorating neurological condition. It is accompanied by an increase in disability from the start of the symptoms. There are no relapses or remissions. Of those diagnosed with MS, 15 percent develop PPMS.
What Happens When You Develop MS?
MS is very hard to diagnose. But once confirmed by an experienced neurologist, the hospital will create treatment strategies to address some of the symptoms of MS. They will provide a range of disease modifying therapies, which help reduce attacks and slow down the damage being caused. They will offer a range of wellness strategies including exercise and diet program that can help people with MS to live their best lives.
A variety of drug therapies including, injectables, oral medications and infusions are available. Worldwide research is seeking treatments to slow down or even stop MS. They are also researching ways to repair nerve damage and restore functions, but it has a long way to go.
Can CBD Help with the Pain of MS?
There have been a number of studies examining the many potential benefits of CBD with MS. For example, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information:
“CBD has analgesic, anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant, anxiolytic, neuroprotective, anti-oxidant, and anti-psychotic activity. Cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid derived from the cannabis species, which is devoid of psychoactive activity with analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic and chemo-preventive activities."
U.S. Government Holds a Patent on Cannabinoids - Why?
It's an interesting fact that the US government owns a patent (number US6630507B1) specifically on cannabinoids. It belongs to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
It lists cannabinoids as a ‘neuroprotectant’. In the detail of the patent document it acknowledges; “the ability of cannabinoids to limit neurological damage,” which is one of the main symptoms of MS. No one is saying exactly why the U.S. government holds a patent on cannabinoids. It is worth reading through.
CBD is Worth Trying for MS Sufferers
CBD oil is not a cure for multiple sclerosis. It does, however, have strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. As such it may provide an alternative form of pain relief to supplement the prescription meds sufferers take.
Many MS patients are making a personal choice to try CBD as an alternative, non-psychoactive compound. They want to establish if it will help ease the symptoms they are suffering, with no side effects.
CBD is perfectly safe. (However you must always discuss this with your medical professional before doing anything). provided you purchase CBD from a trustworthy source. You need a guarantee of what exactly is in the product . They should also provide you with an independent Certificate of Authenticity (COA). This is critical, as there is so much misinformation and deception in the market. The largest online retailers can't sell anything that contains CBD, so beware of ‘bargains’ or 'sound-alikes', they will disappoint you, waste your money and not deliver the relief you need. Have a look at a recent post on this site about anti-inflammatory creams on Amazon.
While CBD won’t cure MS it does offer potential relief on a number of fronts. It could be beneficial to sufferers who are seeking relief from the pain and cruel symptoms of this terrible disease.
A UK based pharmaceutical company – GW Pharmaceuticals, one of a few pharmaceutical companies to concentrate on cannabinoids, has had its cannabis-based drug Sativex accepted by the British National Health Service (NHS), as a treatment for muscular spasms which affect 60 – 90% of MS sufferers. The MS Trust welcomed this decision.