Approved by Dr. Riyaan Hassen
Multiple Sclerosis, commonly known as MS, is an autoimmune disease that impacts the lives of 90,000 Canadians. In fact, the prevalence of MS in Canada is one of the highest reported in the world.
Since the disease attacks the protective covering of nerves (myelin), inflammation often results from the damage. This can interrupt the healthy flow of nerve impulses, preventing communication from the brain to the spinal cord and body resulting in serious symptoms such as:
- Speech problems
- Loss of balance
- Numbness or pain
- Bladder and bowel problems
- Cognitive impairment
The symptoms associated with MS are varied and impact every individual differently. The severity and frequency of symptoms depend on the amount of nerve damage that has occurred, in addition to which nerves are damaged. Some MS patients can experience extended periods of remission, while others experience progressive deterioration causing them to experience weakness, paralysis and the loss of the ability to walk.
At the moment, a variety of treatment options exist that can help manage symptoms. For those seeking a more natural choice, cannabis is gaining a lot of attention for its therapeutic potential in improving the quality of life for those living with MS.
Why choose cannabis for MS symptoms?
Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat a variety of different illnesses. In ancient medicine, it was unknown why this healing plant was such an effective option for helping chronic conditions such as pain and inflammation. However, in the 1990s, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered and the health community finally had answers behind the powerful analgesic properties of cannabis.
The MS Society of Canada offers quality cannabis resources on their website, including this brief explanation surrounding phytocannabinoids and how they interact with the ECS:
“Cannabinoids activate receptors located throughout the body involved in processes such as pain, mood, memory, and appetite. The cannabis plant contains over 100 cannabinoids, however, two of the most notable ones are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).”
When it comes to MS specifically, research has shown that cannabis has therapeutic potential in treating two of the more common symptoms: spasticity and pain.
Spasticity: a painful MS symptom
Spasticity in MS causes individuals to experience both spasms and stiffness due to the damage of nerves responsible for movement. In fact, nearly 85% of those diagnosed with MS will be affected by spasticity. These painful bouts of muscle stiffness and spasms can impact the ability to walk, sit and carry out daily routines.
In 2012, the potential of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in alleviating spasticity symptoms was put to the test. The Multiple Sclerosis and Extract of Cannabis (MUSEC) was a clinical trial involving 279 individuals with MS. Participants were randomized to receive an oral cannabis extract or a placebo for the duration of 12 weeks. After following up with participants at the end of the trial, researchers discovered that the group taking THC reported nearly twice as much relief from spasticity when compared to the placebo group.
Chronic pain and MS: can cannabis offer relief?
The majority of those living with MS will experience pain at some point. In these cases, discomfort often occurs as neuropathic pain (such as burning or shooting sensations) or musculoskeletal pain.
Cannabis, already well known for its pain-relieving properties, has sparked the interest of those seeking alternative MS treatments. Although current research on the topic is limited, there are some examples of cannabinoids helping relieve some forms of MS pain. For example, one double-blind, placebo-controlled study provided 64 MS patients with a THC/CBD oromucosal spray over the course of four weeks. It was discovered that cannabis-based medicine was effective in reducing pain and sleep disturbances for many of the participants.
Although these results are exciting, further quality research is required to fully understand the therapeutic potential of using medical cannabis to treat MS.
Curious about medical cannabis for managing MS symptoms? You’re not alone.
Since the Cannabis Act came into force on October 17, 2018, the stigma surrounding cannabis has changed significantly. As a legal substance, more and more Canadians are curious about the potential health benefits and therapeutic properties of cannabis.
When it comes to those living with MS specifically, many are intrigued by using medical cannabis to manage their symptoms. Data collected from the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) revealed that out of 5,481 MS participants, 47% have considered using cannabis for their MS, while 26% have already used it. The MS Society UK discovered similar findings with their survey from 2014. It was revealed that one in five people with MS had used cannabis to help with symptoms, especially for muscle spasms, stiffness and pain.
Seeking Relief of MS symptoms in Calgary with Medical Cannabis
The best way to know if medical cannabis can help you manage your MS symptoms is to come in for medical consultation with a physician at one of our medical cannabis clinics in Calgary.
Appointments for Alberta residents are free and covered by Alberta Health Services. Prior to your medical consultation with one of our licensed physicians, you will be educated on how medical cannabis works in our body and how it reacts to our endocannabinoid system.
During your education session with a Cann-Expert, you will learn:
- The main differences between an Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strain
- Benefits of THC, CBD, and Balanced strains
- Our unique Endocannabinoid Systems (ECS)
- The timing of inhalation vs ingestion
At the time of your consultation, your Revolution Medical Cannabis doctor will review your medical history and ensure that cannabis will not conflict with any medications you’re currently taking.
Our Calgary medical cannabis doctors will then prescribe the best treatment plan for you. Our team will guide you in selecting a licensed producer as well as the registration.
Questions about cannabis for multiple sclerosis symptoms? Schedule your medical cannabis consultation with a doctor today!
Schedule Your Next-day Appointment
Are you ready to explore the benefits of medical marijuana? Contact Revolution Medical Cannabis today and schedule your free appointment with a cannabis educator and physician.