Multiple Sclerosis is a serious, debilitating disorder that affects a large number of people throughout the United States and the world. The disorder can cause a wide array of negative symptoms, making it difficult for those with MS to complete tasks, maintain a job, and even walk and talk. Although treatments for the disease do exist, they leave much to be desired for some patients, including those whose symptoms are not managed by these conventional medications. With a large number of individuals affected by the disease the lack of medications that provide relief, research has turned to alternative solutions for improving the lives of MS patients. Recent research has looked at the use of medical marijuana card online and MS treatment plans with promising results.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a neurological and immune system disorder categorized as a chronic, inflammatory, and autoimmune disease in the body’s nervous system. Individuals with MS experience numerous symptoms as the immune system affects key structures in the nerve fibers known as the myelin sheath. It can affect various nerve fibers in the body and symptoms are generally linked to the location of the affected nerves. The disease may be mild at first but can progress to the point of becoming crippling. In the United States, there are around 400,000 diagnosed cases of MS with an estimated 2.5 million cases worldwide, according to Healthline. The disease affects nearly twice as many women as men and is found at higher rates in people with a family history of MS, those with diabetes, and those living north of the equator.
Multiple Sclerosis symptoms can include:
- Muscle spasticity or stiffness
- Tremors or spasms
- Numbness or tingling in various parts of the body
- Vision loss in one or both eyes
- Double vision
- Tingling, pins and needles, or electric shock sensations, especially with certain movements
- Lack of coordination
- Unsteady gait
- Trouble sleeping and insomnia
- Bowel and bladder issues
- Cognitive function and memory issues
- Slurring or other speech problems
- Loss of fine motor skills
Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis
A variety of treatments and therapies are widely used to treat MS and its related symptoms, but unfortunately, there is no known cure. Patients often require a combination of therapies to manage their condition. These therapies are designed to treat symptoms, improve recovery from attacks, and slow the progression of the disease. Some common medications used to treat Multiple Sclerosis include muscle relaxants, stimulants, medications for fatigue, depression, bowel control, and pain management, immunosuppressants, immunoglobulin antibody treatments, beta interferons, pain medications, and more. Additional treatment options may include physical therapy, exercise, dietary changes, and the use of medical cannabis for MS. Some patients also seek alternative therapies like massage, acupuncture, and relaxation techniques.
Some individuals are unable to find relief or keep symptoms under control, even with the efforts of multiple medications, doctors, and therapies. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, better treatments are necessary for the more serious symptoms of MS that are often not sufficiently reduced with current therapies. This includes some of the more distressing symptoms, including pain, tremors, and muscle spasticity, which are often difficult to relieve in many MS patients. This need is part of what has continued the research on potential treatments for Multiple Sclerosis, including the use of medical marijuana card online for MS patients. Currently, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) recognize medical marijuana as a treatment for certain symptoms of MS. These same guidelines do not recommend the use of other alternative therapies like herbal supplements or magnetic therapy.
Medical Cannabis for MS
Before a recommendation could be made regarding marijuana treatment for MS, a considerable amount of research and observation had to occur. Various studies have looked at the impact of cannabis on MS symptoms and the progression of the disease. Cannabis extract was initially approved for use in the treatment of MS in Germany in 2011. Since that time, it has been tested and approved for use as a Multiple Sclerosis treatment in several countries, including Canada, France, and Sweden. Several U.S. states have also approved the medical use of cannabis for several conditions, including Multiple Sclerosis and its related symptoms like pain, tremors, muscle spasticity, and bowel issues. Some of the most detailed research includes:
- In one study, participants with MS were provided either an oral cannabis extract or an oral placebo. Those in the study receiving the cannabis extract reported a significant improvement in muscle stiffness, body pain, spasms, and sleep quality when compared with the group taking the placebo.
- An oral spray form of cannabis was tested in another study. Individuals with MS using the Sativex oral spray, which is derived from cannabis, showed a considerable improvement in muscle spasticity. Sativex is now approved to treat MS in over 15 countries, although it is not yet approved in the U.S.
- An observational study in Colorado identified that the majority of observed MS patients who were also using medical marijuana card online showed fewer signs of neurological disability than their non-cannabis using counterparts. The same study also determined that for many cannabis users with MS the use of other medications was able to be reduced or discontinued.
Marijuana Treatment for MS
As more research demonstrates the potential benefits of using a cannabis treatment for MS, understanding how to treat Multiple Sclerosis symptoms with medical marijuana is essential. Science shows a strong relationship between the body’s endocannabinoid system, which interacts directly with the chemicals found in cannabis and with the immune system. This leads researchers to believe that medical marijuana, and the cannabinoid THC in particular, could aid in immunosuppression, promote neurogenesis, and stimulate growth in the myelin sheath – all of which could aid in slowing or stopping the progression of MS. Cannabis with a high THC content may be the most effective in affecting the progression of the disease and preventing attacks and relapse in the future.
Additionally, another cannabis component, CBD, has been recognized for having a major impact on the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. In the American Academy of Neurology’s guidelines for medical cannabis use, there was strong evidence that medical marijuana card online is a safe and effective therapy for muscle spasticity, pain, and spasms in MS patients. The strongest evidence indicated that CBD was best able to treat these symptoms. This indicates that cannabis with a high CBD or a pure CBD derivative may be the most effective in affecting the more distressing symptoms of MS. In many states where laws allow the medical use of cannabis, doctors and healthcare providers are regularly prescribing medical marijuana for MS patients thanks to the recent research and approval of major organizations like the AAN and National MS Society.
Why are People with MS Turning to Medical Marijuana?
In addition to the recommendations of trusted MS and neurological organizations and the growing amount of research on cannabis and MS, many individuals were making the decision to treat their MS symptoms with medical marijuana card online on their own. This has been occurring for a variety of reasons, including impatience with the slow FDA approval process, improvement in symptom relief when compared to traditional medicines, and the risk of negative side effects associated with current medical treatments. Several patients have reported finding relief when self-medicating with cannabis, indicating it provides relief for their muscle spasticity, pain, headaches, nausea, anxiety, and depression. In fact, pain relief and improvements in muscle spasticity and tremors are the main reasons individuals with MS report turning to a cannabis treatment for MS. Many users also report improvements in symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and sleep deprivation.
For some, turning to medical marijuana is the last resort for those with symptoms that are becoming crippling. One patient reported to CBS News that her severe pain and excruciating leg cramps left her unable to walk and were only relieved once she began using medical cannabis. Fortunately, cannabis seems to address the most difficult symptoms and provides relief when other medications have failed. Patients also report a significantly lower risk of side effects when comparing marijuana to prescription drugs. The most common side effects reported with cannabis use were dry mouth, drowsiness, and difficulty thinking clearly. In comparison, the side effects associated with common MS medications can include insomnia, increased blood pressure, fluid retention, mood swings, liver damage, flu-like symptoms, increased cancer risk, diarrhea, nausea, a viral infection of the brain, and more.
As the number of cases of MS continues to grow and an increasing focus is being put on finding a successful treatment for the disease. Current research indicates that marijuana may be uniquely able to address many of the most serious symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Certain compounds in cannabis, including THC and CBD, have been shown to improve various symptoms and may even help to slow the progression of the disease. As more research is conducted, the benefits of medical marijuana card online to MS patients will become more clear. Currently, the benefits are positive enough to warrant acceptance as a treatment by the AAN and the National MS Society, which provides a strong basis for considering cannabis as part of your MS treatment plan.
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