What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the myelin sheath covering nerves. MS is relatively rare, occurring in just 0.1% of the population. Women are twice as likely as men to have MS, and Caucasians are more likely to have MS than people of other ethnicities.
MS has no cure but the disease can go into remission for months. Symptoms vary in severity based on the amount and location of nerve damage. Symptoms include tremor, lack of coordination, unsteady gait, tingling or pain in body parts, numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, partial or complete loss of vision in one or more eyes, double vision or blurred vision, slurred speech, fatigue, dizziness and heat sensitivity.
How Does Cannabis Help MS?
Sativex oromucosal (mouth) spray is available by prescription and is a 1:1 mix of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Sativex significantly reduces neuropathic pain, spasticity, muscle spasms and sleep disturbances. It is one of the first cannabis-based prescription medications, available in 15 countries including Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK. Unfortunately it is not yet available in the United States.
How Can I Take Cannabis For MS?
Talk to your doctor about a Sativex prescription if you are in a country it is prescribed in. Sativex allows flexible dosing based on your tolerance to the medication. The average dose is 8-12 sprays into the mouth each day. Each spray releases 2.7 mg of THC and 2.5 mg of CBD. The average daily dose of THC is 22-32 mg/day and 20-30 mg/day of CBD.
Eating CBD tincture, CBD pills, CBD drinks, or CBD-rich edibles may help control your symptoms. If you take cannabis oil or pills, you may want to take as much as you can afford as these products are expensive. Try to space out your dose 3 times a day, with a target daily dose of 30mg each of CBD and THC.
Vaporizing cannabis is better than smoking cannabis in a joint, pipe, or bong because it doesn’t burn the cannabis. Smoking cannabis releases toxins similar to cigarettes, can cause lung irritation and often disintegrates cannabinoids with healing properties. Vaporizing cannabis heats the air around the cannabis, releasing a range of cannabinoids, each with unique health benefit.
A new way to get cannabis into your body is via a transdermal patch, similar to the birth control patch or the nicotine patch. This discrete method provides extended release medication for up to ten hours and is perfect for people who feel uncomfortable with other methods such as smoking cannabis.
Cannabis topicals, in the form of creams or lotions you put on your skin, can help with pain and spasms during the day.
Juicing raw cannabis may reduce pain and inflammation associated with MS, without that high you get from heated cannabis. That’s because raw cannabis has THCA and CBDA, the non-psychoative forms of THC and CBD. Juice strains of cannabis with high levels of CBD(A) for best results.
What Strains Are Best For MS?
High CBD strains are best to mimic the effects of using Sativex or to use in addition to Sativex. High CBD strains include Charlotte’s Web, Harlequin, AC/DC, Sour Tsunami and Cannatonic. We recommend Cannatonic as it has almost the same 1:1 THC:CBD ratio Sativex does.
Let’s Make This Easy
- Take a CBD pill during the day to control your symptoms without getting high.
- Vape high-CBD cannabis whenever you need pain or other symptom relief. Be safe and don’t drive immediately after using your vaporizer, you could get a chemical DUI in most states.
- Eat an edible at night to help you sleep and relieve pain and inflammation. If you eat it during the day you won’t be able to drive or work.
- If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where raw cannabis juice is available, drink it as often as you can afford to buy it.
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Cannabis users can test positive for THC up to a month after use. Don’t drive while using cannabis, you could be charged with DUI. Long-term CBD use can cause short-term memory problems like forgetting your keys. Write things down and double-check that oven.
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- Mayo Clinic: Multiple Sclerosis
- Summary of evidence-based guideline: complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis: report of the guideline development subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Yadav V, Bever C Jr, Bowen J, Bowling A, Weinstock-Guttman B, Cameron M, Bourdette D, Gronseth GS and Narayanaswami P. Neurology (2014).
- The detection of THC, CBD and CBN in the oral fluid of Sativex(®) patients using two on-site screening tests and LC-MS/MS. Molnar A, Fu S, Lewis J, Allsop DJ and Copeland J. Forensic Sci Int (2014).
- A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of Sativex, in subjects with symptoms of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. Collin C, Ehler E, Waberzinek G, Alsindi Z, Davies P, Powell K, Notcutt W, O’Leary C, Ratcliffe S, Nováková I, Zapletalova O, Piková J and Ambler Z. Neurol Res (2010).
- Oromucosal delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol for neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis: an uncontrolled, open-label, 2-year extension trial. Rog DJ, Nurmikko TJ andYoung CA. Clin Ther (2007).
- Meta-analysis of cannabis based treatments for neuropathic and multiple sclerosis-related pain. Iskedjian M, Bereza B, Gordon A, Piwko C, Einarson TR. Curr Med Res Opin (2007).
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