What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that often leads to disablement. It's an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the myelin sheath that protects and insulates the nerve fibers. Myelin increases the speed at which electrical impulses move between the brain and the rest of the body and are essential for the nervous system to function properly. A loss of myelin causes signals between the brain and the body to become disrupted.
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 weeks to months.
Symptoms associated with MS will vary in severity based on the amount, location, progression of nerve damage.
- lack of coordination
- unsteady gait, difficulty walking
- 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
- cognitive changes
- dizziness and heat sensitivity
- (rare) seizure
How can CBD and Cannabis help MS?
Research findings suggest that cannabis could slow the neurodegenerative process of multiple sclerosis. Fortunately, there are many ways to take CBD. Each option has the potential to significantly reduce neuropathic pain, spasticity, muscle spasms and sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety.
What are my CBD and Cannabis options for MS?
Mouth Spray (if available in your country)
There are mouth sprays available by prescription (but not available in the US). The mixture is a 1:1 of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These mouth sprays significantly reduce neuropathic pain, spasticity, muscle spasms and sleep disturbances. Speak to your physician and advocate for the option for these mouth sprays. 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.
CBD Tincture, Pills, Drinks, Edibles
Ingesting a CBD tincture, CBD pill, CBD drink, or CBD-rich edible may help reduce or control symptoms. Cannabis oil or pills can be expensive, this is an option that needs careful financial consideration before using regularly. Best to work with a trained healthcare provider when titrating dose to your needs.
Cannabis vaporizing is healthier for your lungs than smoking cannabis. Smoking cannabis releases toxins similar to cigarettes and causes lung irritation and often degrades the cannabinoids healing properties. Vaporizing cannabis heats the air around the cannabis, releasing a range of cannabinoids, each with unique health benefit. This process is similar to vaporizing an essential oil. The plants healing properties are emitted into the air around you.
A relatively new way to consume CBD and cannabis is via a transdermal patch, similar to the birth control patch or the nicotine patch. This is a discrete method that provides extended release of CBD or cannabis for up to ten or more hours. This is a method is perfect for individuals who are not comfortable with other methods such as smoking or vaping.
Topicals are in the form of creams or lotions or salves that you put directly to the area of pain or discomfort, and can help with pain and spasms during the day. Using topical can give a more immediate response to spasms, pain, or neuropathy.
Juicing has become a popular way to ingest raw cannabis. Juicing may reduce pain and inflammation associated with MS, without that high you get from heated cannabis. 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?
The best strains for MS are strains that are High CBD. High CBD strains include Charlotte’s Web, Harlequin, AC/DC, Sour Tsunami, Cannatonic. There may be other strains that I did not find in my research. Many times if you go to a dispensary the staff are very knowledgeable and can help you select strains and match to your symptoms and condition.
What does MS look like to you?
Would you know if the person next to you has MS. Likely, if the person is the early stages of MS, she would look like the average Jane standing next to you buying your Starbucks coffee or standing in line at the grocery store. And likely, if she chose to, she could hide it from the world for a very long time.
MS is a life changing chronic condition. It leaves many patients with limited or no mobility. This not only effects the body but has a substantial impact on the healthy of the mind as well. What isn’t mentioned in the symptoms above is the depression, anxiety and self-esteem are side effects of this debilitating disease. At Clean Coconut, we are particularly close to this disease. My grandmother suffered from MS for most of her adult life. I was fortunate enough to have a very driven and determined grandmother, whom did not allow being paralyzed from the neck down and being in a wheelchair most of her adult life stop her from any of her aspirations. She was a complete and utter inspiration to a healthy person. My grandmother passed long before CBD and cannabis were viable treatment options for her disease.
If we are able to give education and access for CBD and Cannabis, MS patients will be able to prolong, reduce, or suppress their symptoms for a very long time.
Life sometimes navigates you in a way that is unexpected, It so happens that my best friend is now in the early stages of MS. For what ever reason life navigated our paths to cross. I am now determined to help her and people like her with the ability to choose & use CBD and Cannabis to reduce and relief symptoms.
In order to support these efforts. Clean Coconut will now donate a portion of every sale to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. We are dedicated to improving lives today through ongoing support and direct services to individuals with MS, their families, and their care partners.
About the Author
Wendy Pagaduan, is a Registered Nurse, Certified Aromatherapist, public speaker, consultant, and educator on cannabis and cannabinoid therapeutics. Her mission is to play a role in cannabis education, public awareness. Providing individuals with information and resources to better understand cannabis and make informed decisions on their personal cannabis journey.