MS, which stands for multiple sclerosis, is an illness affecting over two million people around the globe. The disease speeds up the decay of the nervous system. As a result, multiple sclerosis has a long list of negative effects, which severely lower patients’ quality of life.
Types of MS
There are three main varieties of multiple sclerosis.
Relapsing-remitting MS (or RRMS) is the most common type, accounting for about 85% of all MS cases.
Patients with this type of MS experience progressive symptoms with breaks in between. During each remission, the patient lives symptom-free. However, the illness returns, often unexpectedly.
This cycle goes on for a while until symptoms worsen enough for the disease to become the secondary progressive type.
Primary progressive MS does not include any remission phases. Instead, the patient’s health gradually deteriorates. About 15% of MS cases are of the primary progressive variety.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The symptoms of MS are far-reaching and get worse over time. In advanced stages, patients have trouble moving and experience spasms, pain, a lack of bladder control, impaired vision, confusion, and more.
MS is usually diagnosed in adults between 20 and 50 years of age and is slightly more predominant in women. Roughly one million people in the US suffer from this neurodegenerative disease.
While there is no definitive cure, CBD oil and other cannabis derivatives may help remedy some of MS’s worst symptoms.
Cannabis, CBD, THC, and Multiple Sclerosis: What You Need to Know
Humans and animals can respond to the chemical compounds found in cannabis thanks to special receptors that are part of their nervous system. Together, all of these receptors form the endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate the functions of the nervous, motor, and immune systems.
There are two types of receptors in the endocannabinoid system — CB1 and CB2. THC, one of the two main active substances in cannabis, binds to CB1 in the brain. This chemical reaction produces the high associated with marijuana consumption.
In contrast, CBD oil extracted from hemp and marijuana has much milder effects and does not alter perception. Instead of binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD oil changes the way they work, which is why the medical community finds it so interesting.
Conditions such as MS, epilepsy, depression, and anxiety tend to over- or understimulate the nervous system, throwing it off balance. In such cases, CBD oil may help restore it to its normal function. As a result, patients experience less muscle twitching and pain.
Multiple Sclerosis and CBD Oil
Though it cannot fully cure MS, CBD oil can reduce tiredness and alleviate pain. Moreover, it can help treat depression, one of the most common symptoms of MS.
Here are the three main ways in which CBD oil can enhance MS treatment and make living with the disease a lot more bearable.
Right now, there is limited research into how CBD oil can fight pain on its own. It has shown promising results when used together with THC, its psychoactive cousin. When combined, the two compounds have proven effective in alleviating pain.
Nevertheless, scientific inquiry into CBD oil suggests that even CBD alone can help relieve some of the pain. Moreover, cannabis derivatives may help treat other unpleasant symptoms that accompany the pain, such as spasms, tiredness, and difficulty moving.
Prolong Cell Life
Multiple sclerosis has a pronounced neurodegenerative quality. Over time, MS destroys the protective coating of the nerve cells in the body. With their structural integrity impaired, the cells begin to malfunction and die faster than usual, which rapidly worsens the health of MS patients.
However, thanks to its modulating abilities, CBD oil can slow down this process, making the cells a bit stronger. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which help stave off cellular decay.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that can make many patients feel like they are losing control over their bodies, all the while dealing with a lot of physical pain. It is hardly surprising then that many also develop a depressive disorder. At least half of all patients with multiple sclerosis are dealing with depression and other related conditions at the same time.
Luckily, because CBD oil is a potent antidepressant and can interact with the endocannabinoid system in the body, it can help treat depression too. Moreover, since it can also fight some of the other unpleasant symptoms of MS, CBD oil is quite multifunctional.
Application of CBD Oil in MS Treatment
Cannabinol is a lipid, so it comes out as oil when extracted from marijuana or hemp plants. In this state, it can be used in many different ways, depending on your preferences and needs:
- Drop a small amount of the oil under your tongue. This method generates quick results, as it will take only about 5–20 minutes for you to feel the CBD working.
- Take it orally as a pill. Based on brand and formulation, it could take up to two hours for your body to fully absorb the CBD.
- Apply it onto your skin by using a CBD-infused body lotion or balm (or even the oil itself). This topical method works well because it allows you to focus on the painful area directly. Additionally, the oil is incredibly moisturizing. Relief should come in about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Eat it. You can incorporate the oil in your cooking or buy CBD-infused edibles. When using this method, it takes 30 minutes or up to two hours for the CBD to kick in.
Note that different products vary in potency and reaction time. Based on your needs and the severity of your condition, you may find that some forms of CBD oil work better for you than others. Thus, please consult a medical practitioner — they can recommend the best product for you and prescribe an adequate dose.
Cannabidiol is, by no means, a panacea. Researchers are still trying to figure out all of its properties in isolation from THC. Still, even though there is a lot of work ahead, CBD seems very promising when it comes to alleviating some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.