Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is an approved Category 1 Health Canada MMAR Condition

Medical Marijuana is NOT for everyone and is often a last resort for people that have tried a variety of the pharmaceuticals below with little relief or too many side effects. Strong anecdotal evidence exists for the support of medical marijuana in treating MS symptoms but scientific research has been hampered by government legislation. We strongly suggest you discuss the potential benefit of medical marijuana with your doctor or specialist.

Condition Description

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a painful, debilitating disorder of the central nervous system. MS is unpredictable, affecting vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. [1] There is no cure for MS. Symptoms vary considerably from person to person; however, one frequently noted symptom is spasticity, which causes pain, spasms, and loss of function. MS is an autoimmune disease, the exacerbations experienced with MS appear to be caused by abnormal immune activity that causes inflammation and the destruction of myelin (the protective covering of nerve fibers) in the brain or spinal cord.[2]

Commonly Prescribed Drugs

Drugs commonly prescribed for muscle spasticity and tremor include Klonopin, Dantrium, Baclofen (Medtronic), Zanaflex, Klonopin (Clonazepam) and Valium (diazepam). These medications come with a list of side effects ranging from feeling lightheaded or drowsy, to slurred speech, blurred vision, changes in sexual drive and performance, gastrointestinal changes, muscle spasms and a fast or pounding heartbeat.[3]

Benefits of Marijuana

Some benefits of medical marijuana that many MS patients have reported include improved:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Tremors
  • Balance
  • Bladder control
  • Speech
  • Eyesight

MS Patients have reported that smoking medical marijuana reduces symptoms such as muscle stiffness and tremors, and allows for greater mobility[4] Many studies of the pharmacology of marijuana have identified effects on motor systems of the central nervous system that have the potential of affecting tremor and spasticity. Moreover, marijuana has demonstrated effects on immune function that also may have the potential of reducing the autoimmune attack that is thought to be the underlying pathogenic process in MS.[3]

Cannabinoid Research

Cannabinoids are chemicals that are found naturally in Marijuana. Researchers believe that these naturally found cannabinoids could create immune suppression. Much like steroids, but with fewer side effects, cannabinoids can "switch off" a portion of the immune response and bring down inflammation and hyperactivity of immune cells, possibly preventing or slowing some of the damage caused to the myelin by immune cells. The cannabinoids do this by interacting with the receptors on specific immune cells.[5]

Sativex

Sativex is a cannabis-based pharmaceutical product developed by GW Pharmaceuticals in 2005 for treating symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. It is composed mainly of two cannabanoids naturally found in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). It comes in the form of a mouth spray. It has been approved as adjunctive treatment for neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis. [6] It has also been shown to help reduce spasticity, muscle spasms and sleep disturbances in MS patients. [7][8]

Recommended Resources

Please take a look at these interesting articles and books for further information on MS and the benefits of medical marijuana.

Articles

Books

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Marijuana Calculator

To accurately measure the quantity of marijuana your MMAR cultivation and possession allowance permits, use this handy calculator to ensure you are growing the correct quantity to meet your growing license limits. Enter your daily gram prescription and let the calculator do the rest.

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