How to Choose CBD For Mulitple Sclerosis | Benefits & Side Effects

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How to Choose CBD For Mulitple Sclerosis | Benefits & Side Effects

CBD is becoming increasingly common as a result of its medicinal properties and legal status. People use it for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. The majority of its types, however, are not approved or regulated by authorities. There is still a lot to consider about CBD and its properties.

Researchers are already engaged in finding the stuff about CBD. With the approval of human clinical trials, it is likely that in the coming years, most the claimed therapeutic benefits of CBD will be assured.

CBD has been linked to almost every aspect of life whether it is skin problems or health conditions involving neurological or immunological conditions, and people might be wondering how it is handling these conditions alone. What’s making it so magnetic? Its connection to ECS of human body makes it this much capable. Keeping aside the other conditions to which it is being related, let’s just focus on MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.

WHAT IS MS (Multiple Sclerosis)

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder affecting central nervous system (CNS). Autoimmune disease means your own immune system works against your body by attacking the healthy tissues of the body. Multiple Sclerosis is usually a lifelong disease in which the myelin sheaths protecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged.

In simple words, it is an autoimmune disorder that affects the brain, spinal cord, optic nerves i.e. your central nervous system. This can cause a variety of symptoms all over the body.

Since, its causes of progress are unknown. Multiple sclerosis is a condition that is extremely uncommon in terms of incidence. It affects approximately 400,000 people in the United States and approximately 2 million people worldwide. Women are founded more prone to its affect.

According to the EAE (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis) model studies, Antigen-specific T cells crossed the blood-brain barrier, causing neuroinflammation and demyelinition. In simple terms, myelin sheath which is protecting the nerve fibres got attacked by immune system. When myelin got vanished leaves scars or lesions in that affected area. 

Nerve fibres can rupture or get injured as more lesions form. Myelin aids nerves in transmitting electrical information rapidly and effectively. As myelinated neural cells were destroyed, due to this, the brain’s electrical impulses do not reach the target nerve smoothly making body unable to do specific tasks.

There are 4 types of multiple sclerosis:

  1. RRMS: relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
  2. PPMS: primary progressive multiple sclerosis
  3. SPMS: secondary progressive multiple sclerosis
  4. PRMS: progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis
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Symptoms of MS

Symptoms of MS are ranging from person to person. Symptoms may appear and disappear during times of relapse and remission. MS causes a wide range of symptoms, including pain, muscle spasticity, weakness, inflammation, and depression. These symptoms often result in decreased physical activity, decreased mobility, and a negative effect on patients’ quality of life.  

Common symptoms of MS can be:

  • Lhermitte’s sign, in this during neck movement person experiences feel of sudden electric shock.
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Muscle weakness and pain
  • Bladder and bowel problems
  • Fatigue or dizziness.
  • Muscle weakness and muscle spasm
  • Loss interest in sexual activity
  • Dizziness, mobility changes and vertigo
  • Tremor or shock
  • Depression or emotional changes
  • Learning and memory problems
  • Vision problems

Some less common symptoms includes:

  • Speech disorders
  • Swelling problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Difficulty in hearing

MS affects people in different ways. Some people experience a mild feel at first, and their symptoms do not worsen for months or years. For others, symptoms can sometimes worsen quickly in weeks or months.

Some people may only have minor symptoms, while others may have major alterations that will make them disable. As the disease progresses, people may develop alterations in thinking and perception as well as increased sensitivity to heat. As the stages progress, the situation will get worse.

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How to get Diagnose?

Diagnosis is the first step on the path to effective therapy. Diagnosis is based on symptoms and medical history of the person as there are no particular tests available for the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. For diagnosis you may be referred for these specific tests on the basis of symptoms:

  • BLOOD TEST: this can be done to look for particular biomarkers linked to MS or to see whether there is another disease having symptoms that are similar to MS.
  • MRI: these scans disclose the area of lesions of your brain or spinal cord.
  • SPINAL FLUID ANALYSIS: An abnormality in antibodies linked to MS can be detected in a spinal fluid sample.
  • EVOKED POTENTIAL TEST: it monitors the electrical activity of the brain in reaction to stimuli.

When people have uncommon symptoms or a progressing condition, diagnosing MS might be more difficult. Additional testing, such as spinal fluid analysis, evoked potentials, and imaging, may be required in certain circumstances.

If you see any of the aforementioned symptoms, consult your doctor so that he or she can identify it and refer you to the appropriate treatment. Don’t be your own doctor as there are numerous other disorders that have symptoms that are similar to multiple sclerosis.

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Treatments of MS

It can be treated in two ways, first to reduce the quantity and severity of relapses by slowing their progression and second by getting relief from symptoms.

To slow down progression

Several disease modifying therapies are recommended by FDA including injectable, oral and infused medications. These medications are prescribed by doctors on the basis of severity of stages of multiple sclerosis. Also the one cannot always act same for everyone, so before going to these therapies must seek proper medical advice.

To get relief from symptoms

  • This includes different medications acting on different symptoms.
  • Like corticosteroids are used to suppress the immune system and reduce the inflammation. But on the other hand these steroids possess several side effects, when used for long time.
  • Therapies like acupuncture, massage for pain related issues and stress management to boost up the mood aids in relieving stress, depression.
  • Speech and swallowing therapy for the one who needs it.
  • Plasma exchange therapy suitable for severe multiple sclerosis attacks.
  • Stem cell therapy to repair various body cells and help in repairing those who have lost functions due to illness.
  • Medicinal marijuana is also being used to heal the symptoms.

Medicinal marijuana, isn’t it seeming something more close to natural treatment? It isn’t the first time that medicinal marijuana has been used as a remedy for MS symptoms. Basically it is another way of treatment than the conventional method. According to the sayings, it not only aid in relieving the symptoms, it may also helps in reducing the progression of multiple sclerosis by suppressing the risk factors.

Though CBD has a lot of potential in terms of treating:

  • Inflammation and pain.
  • Anxiety, stress and depression.
  • Improving appetite and overall well being.
  • Seizures and epilepsy.
  • Sleep disorders.

It is interesting to know that, what CBD has to give for multiple sclerosis. Let’s find it by starting from the relevant studies. So, what does science have to say about CBD’s role in MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS? Let’s have glance on SCIENTIFIC RESEARCHES.

  • A review in 2021, summarize that Although its cellular and molecular targets are largely unknown, preclinical evidence in rodent models of EAE strongly supports CBD as an effective immunomodulating and disease-modifying drug. 
  • A study given by American Academy of Neurology, 2013 states that medicinal marijuana is founded effective for spasticity, central pain, bladder dysfunction, involuntary movements and other neurological disorders in the 1,619 patients with multiple sclerosis. DOI: 
  • A review came in 2018 claimed that 5 of the 11 studies found sufficient evidence that cannabis would help with muscle spasticity in the patients with MS.
  • There is another research concluded that CBD in the form of topical is effective in reducing severe painful conditions and inflammation without giving any adverse side effects in rat models. There is relevance of CBD with neuropathic pain proved in this study
  • CBD helps in improving mobility in multiple sclerosis affected patients. It reduces spasticity, pain, inflammation, fatigue and depression in MS people. 
  • Sativex which is the cannabis derived prescription medicine in the form of mouth spray has been approved as an alternative treatment for nerve pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients. A total of 368 patients with a variety of neurological disorders (including MS) were enlisted and given sativex, a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. The spray significantly decreased nerve pain, spasticity, muscle spasms, and sleep disturbances in human subjects, according to the findings. 
  • A pre-clinical work on CBD alone was carried out in 2017 on  Parkinson’s disease (PD), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), multiple sclerosis (MS), Huntington’s disease (HD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS) and cerebral ischemia. CBD can have beneficial effects in people with MS, according to a study published in CNS and Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets. 

 After getting through these recent researches in the field of CBD linked to multiple sclerosis, there is need of more scientific evidences about the topic to claim each and every therapeutic benefit of CBD related to it. As most of the studies are on cannabis, studies on CBD alone are much in need.

As you know, CBD is a cannabinoid with the exception of psychoactive effect. Because of its legal status people are gaining more from its therapeutic benefits in different aspects. We are taking things of CBD regarding MS. Now, let’s move towards its working for MS.

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How CBD works for MS?

There are two ways reported in which CBD works for multiple sclerosis. The first one is:

Acting as anti-inflammatory substance, there are indications that CBD therapy reduces the development of pro-inflammatory cytokines and transcription factors while increasing the production of IL10, a cytokine with potent anti-inflammatory properties.

The second one is:

By manipulating MDSCs or myeloid-derived suppressor cells and acting as imunosupressive agent.  Myeloid-derived suppressor cells are thought to play a role in the onset of MS and MS-like symptoms by suppressing neuroinflammation. MDSCs are thought to play a role in autoimmune diseases by regulating T cell activity. Moreover these cells are also known to produce IL-10.

So, CBD directly or indirectly work for MS by inducing IL-10, mediating MS or MS symptoms. But still there is research required for 100 percent surety of working of CBD for MS in humans.

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How to Take CBD for MS?

There are so many strains of CBD available in the market. Sativex is the oral spray and is combination of CBD:THC, it is being used in several studies for treating patients of MS. It provides benefits in alleviating MS symptoms. The most effective way of CBD administration is through oral route. It improves the drug’s bioavailability, which aids in the CBD’s early action.

Another ways in which CBD can be used are ingestion, inhalation and in the form of topical. Basically intake of CBD depends upon the seriousness of the condition and the area where affect is required. For instance, if you are experiencing muscle pain in specific area, you will apply topical to that area which will give you instant relief than another form. So, you can choose according to the condition or symptom from which you want to get relief.

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Dosage 

In a study it is referred that, if you are using sativex oral spray then you should not use more than 12 sprays per day for MS.(1)

Another study claimed that per dosage of 1500 mg CBD is well tolerated by humans.(2)

Moreover it is recommended, not to choose high dosages because it may cause severe side effects. People with respiratory ailments should avoid smoking of CBD. It may interact with medications. So, do consult your doctor before using it.

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Benefits of using CBD for MS

  • CBD appears to have the potential to alleviate MS symptoms such as fatigue, some neurological pain, muscle spasticity, and help in improving mobility.
  • Its immunosuppressing properties will help in reducing the progress by suppressing the cytokines and the symptoms of MS.
  • Its natural anti-inflammatory mechanism aids in alleviating chronic inflammation.
  • It also helps in alleviating risk factors of MS like depression, anxiety and stress except genetic and environmental factors.
  • By affecting t cells it suppress neuroinflammation in people with MS.
  • Researchers discovered that people who were treated with CBD and related cannabis experienced almost twice as much relief from muscle stiffness.
  • Use of CBD could aid in bladder problems.
  • CBD give fewer side effects than conventional treatments, if used properly in limits.
  • Its antioxidant and neuroprotective properties also help in treating MS symptoms.
  • CBD decreased nerve pain, spasticity, muscle spasms, and sleep disturbances in human subjects as stated in earlier mentioned study.
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Side Effects of CBD for MS

Generally CBD is considered well tolerable for humans.

  • If it is taken in higher doses it may give side effects included blur vision, headache, dry mouth, mood changes, and fatigue, changed in appetite, increased in heart rate, nausea and vomiting.
  • Prolonged smoking of CBD could be result into several respiratory problems.
  • It could react with other medications like blood thinners.
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PROS AND CONS

Pros
  • Its natural mechanism aids in alleviating MS symptoms including pain, muscle spasticity, inflammation, neurological pain, fatigue and improve mobility,
  • It also helps in treating risk factors of MS like depression, stress, anxiety and sleep disorders.
  • Give quick and accurate effects than the conventional treatment.
  • Having less possible side effects than traditional treatment, if used properly.
  • Its availability in different forms.
  • It is the only cannabinoid approved by world anti doping agency.

Cons
  • Availability of unregulated products.
  • Could interact with medications.
  • Effects vary from person to person.
  • False labeling on CBD products.
  • High doses give side effects.
  • More human clinical trials are required in relevance to multiple sclerosis.

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