What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disorder in which the immune system attacks the myelin that protects and covers nerves throughout the body. Over time, nerves can deteriorate and disrupt how the brain and the body communicate with one another. Common symptoms include, pain, fatigue, insomnia, muscle spasms, bladder problems, and balance issues.
How can marijuana help?
Although there is no known cure for MS, numerous studies help conclude that marijuana not only provides relief from MS-related symptoms, but that it might also slow down the progression of the disease. The most common symptom of MS is neuropathic pain - a “pins and needles” sensation that can cause a great amount of discomfort for patients. Recently, it has been discovered that even low amounts of THC can be more effective at providing neuropathic pain relief than current pharmaceuticals. In addition to being an effective sleep aid for patients who suffer from pain, cannabis-based extracts can be useful for treating bladder dysfunction in patients with advanced stages of multiple sclerosis. In 2003, a randomized clinical trial involving 667 MS patients from the UK set out to test the efficacy of cannabinoid based therapy. Patients were split into three different groups based on the medication they would be receiving: synthetic THC (Marinol), cannabis extract (Cannador), or a placebo. After 15 weeks, MS patients who were administered cannabinoid based medicine saw their sleep quality, pain, muscle spasms, and muscle tension all improve. A 12-month follow-up concluded the cannabinoid based treatment remained effective, and that it may be used as a viable long-term form of MS treatment.