The Role of Cannabis in Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative autoimmune disease with an array of painful and debilitating symptoms. The brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve are directly impacted when the body’s immune system begins to turn against it, attacking neurons. Over time, the buildup of scar tissue from all of this aggressive damage causes the neurons to lose their ability to send basic signals to the rest of the body.
Millions of people worldwide are affected by MS, and currently, there is no cure, but there are a variety of powerful drugs that can be used to slow down the progression of the illness. Symptoms can also be alleviated and the speed of recovery from painful attacks can be increased through therapeutic drug treatments.
Easing the Symptoms
Cannabis is currently one of the most popular treatments for MS and has been proven to improve brain function in sufferers. Patients typically experience daily chronic pain and the gradual loss of function in limbs. In some, vision fades over time. For many MS patients, cannabis is a respite from the chronic pain and provides an opportunity for them to experience life as though they do not have the disease.
While medicinal marijuana is gaining popularity amongst medical professionals worldwide for the treatment of many mental and physical illnesses, MS is one of the few ailments which is most commonly treated by cannabis in some forms. (There are many options available to patients, including cannabis oil.)
Protection of Brain Cells
Immune cells that have turned against their host primarily attack the brain through inflammation. Cytokine proteins are released, causing the brain to become inflamed, and neurons are slowly destroyed. Anti-inflammatories such as cannabinoids are very effective at stopping the cytokines dead in their tracks and preventing a vicious attack on the central nervous system.
Best of all, no matter which compound is prescribed, they are both anti-inflammatories. The psychoactive compound THC ad the non-psychoactive CBD are both effective at slowing down the assault on the nervous system. In addition to stopping inflammation, cannabis also promotes the creation of new brain cells, known as neurogenesis. Only a few substances and activities, including dark chocolate and sex, are equally effective at neurogenesis.
It is easy to see why many medical professionals are treating MS patients with medical cannabis. Not only does it alleviate pain, it is helpful at treating symptoms at their root.