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Managing Multiple Sclerosis with Medical Cannabis: An Evidence-Based Perspective.

Dante
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Last Updated: 
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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system.

As research expands, medical cannabis emerges as a potential treatment alternative. This article aims to explore the current research, patient experiences, and specific cannabis strains that may be beneficial for MS.

Please remember, while the medical use of cannabis is legal in many places, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment.



Overview of Cannabis and its Medicinal Components


Cannabis is a plant used medicinally for thousands of years.

The primary active compounds are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is psychoactive, responsible for the ‘high’ associated with cannabis use, while CBD is not.

These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, involved in numerous physiological processes, including inflammation and nerve function modulation, suggesting potential for cannabis in MS management.



Multiple Sclerosis and Cannabis


Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that damages the protective covering of nerve fibers, causing communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body.

Symptoms can include fatigue, difficulty walking, numbness or weakness, and pain or tingling in parts of the body.

While MS is currently incurable, treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease, and manage symptoms.



Research on Cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis


The therapeutic potential of cannabis, particularly for symptom management in MS, has been investigated in recent years.

A study published in Neurology in 2019 found that cannabis reduced self-reported spasticity and pain in patients with MS (Rudroff et al., 2019).

Another study published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders in 2019 reported reduced pain and improved sleep quality in MS patients using cannabis (Lorente Fernández et al., 2019).



Recommended Strains for Multiple Sclerosis


Some cannabis strains may be more beneficial for MS, particularly those known for their symptom-relieving effects:

A classic sativa strain is ideal for its uplifting effects, and helps combat the fatigue often associated with MS.

It is often chosen by patients suffering from severe pain, one of the possible symptoms of MS.

It is also known for its upbeat and energizing effects, this strain may help manage MS-associated fatigue and depression.

Remember, individual responses to cannabis can vary. Start slow, monitor the effects, and always consult with a healthcare professional.



Patient Stories


There are numerous accounts of MS patients experiencing symptom relief with cannabis use.

Many patients find they experience fewer side effects with cannabis than with traditional medications.



Potential Side Effects and Risks


Cannabis can cause side effects like dry mouth, fatigue, and dizziness.

It can also impair short-term memory and coordination and increase heart rate.

Long-term use can lead to cognitive impairment and mental health issues in susceptible individuals.



Growing Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes


If you’re considering growing your own cannabis for MS management, several factors come into play.

Choose strains that have demonstrated efficacy for your symptoms.

Understand your local legal regulations, provide adequate growing conditions, and prepare for challenges like pest control and nutrient management.



Conclusion


Medical cannabis shows promise in managing symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, potentially offering relief for patients living with this condition.

While more research is needed, the existing evidence, along with patient experiences, offers hope.

As always, remember the importance of discussing any new treatment with a healthcare professional.



References


Rudroff, T., et al. (2019). Cannabis use in people with Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis: A web-based investigation. Neurology, 93(2), e77-e87.

Lorente Fernández, L., et al. (2019). Cannabis use in Spanish patients with multiple sclerosis: Fulfillment of patients’ expectations? Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 37, 101468.


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