Currently, about 2.3 million people in the US suffer from MS. The majority of diagnosed patients are between their 20s and 50s — it’s unclear why some people have this condition while others don’t.
The paper focused mostly on a high CBD to THC ratio as the potential reliever of muscle spasms and pain in MS patients. It also discussed how cannabis reduces inflammation, contributing to less fatigue in subjects.
Types of Multiple Sclerosis
A less common form of MS, primary-progressive multiple sclerosis affects about 10% of all MS patients.
This is the rarest form of MS and occurs in about 5% of MS sufferers. The symptoms of PRMS worsen steadily over time, with flare-ups and acute relapses but without remission periods.
“Some patients do find relief with Low-THC, CBD lotions applied topically,” said Thrower.
One in five people with multiple sclerosis (MS) surveyed in 2014 told us they’d used cannabis to help with their symptoms. They said it can help with muscle spasms or stiffness (spasticity) and pain.
There’s a medically approved cannabis-based treatment called Sativex, but it doesn’t work for everyone. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland it’s approved for use on the NHS for ‘moderate’ to ‘severe’ spasticity (muscle spasms and stiffness). But you can have it only if other treatments haven’t worked. It’s not yet approved in Scotland but we hope it soon will be.
Cannabis is made up of compounds called cannabinoids. The main ones studied for their therapeutic effect are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gets you ‘high’, and cannabidiol (CBD), which doesn’t.
In November 2018, the UK government legalised cannabis for medicinal use, but also put a strict criteria in place for who could access it. Only specialist doctors are allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis, and so far only a handful of people have benefited from the change in law.
Some people with MS use cannabis in a variety of ways to help ease their symptoms.
More research is needed, but scientists think CBD may help with these MS symptoms:
MS Trust: “Sativex (nabiximols).”
How It May Help
CBD oil is a common way to take it. You can put it under your tongue or add it to your food or drinks. You can also put it on your skin. Some research found sprays you put under your tongue might be best for MS.
CBD is considered a dietary supplement. The FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, so there’s no way to know if what you’re getting is safe and effective. Studies show many CBD products aren’t as pure as the label says. Some have less CBD. Others may have some THC in them.
Harvard Medical School: “Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t.”