Cannabis used medically is beginning to be understood as literally one stop short of a wonder cure. For many people who suffer certain kinds of symptoms, in other words, cannabis either halts the progression of the disease or creates a biochemical response in the body that allows it to function more normally. Or both.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of the conditions that medical marijuana is a wonder cure for. MS is a neurodegenerative, autoimmune disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve. The immune system literally attacks the central nervous system (CNS), leaving scar tissue in its wake. As a result, neurons can no longer fire correctly to send signaling to the rest of the body. Thus the breakdown in motor function over time.
This causes a huge amount of pain on a daily basis.
Marijuana Changes The Game
Cannabis goes to work immediately in a game-changing way for this group of patients and in the following ways.
- Protects the brain. The biggest challenge facing MS patients is inflammation – starting in the brain. Both THC and CBD work to stop the inflammation in the first place. This also stops the immune system from attacking the CNS in the first place.
- It stops muscle stiffness and spasms. There is no other drug that seems to work so effectively on this symptom, no matter what it is caused by. MS and cannabinoids have been studied extensively in Israel over the past few years and so far, the evidence is conclusive. If you have been diagnosed with MS, the next step should be to get a marijuana prescription. Not only does the drug stop symptoms. It also slows down the progression of the disease over time.
- 70% of immune cells are found in your gut. MS patients frequently have difficulty with bowel control and digestion. This adds an extra layer of misery to daily life. This is another reason why edibles for MS patients, in particular, make so much sense.
- Sleeping is a much under-estimated part of a wellness routine. When your body is out of control, for whatever reason, sleep is a way for the body to try and repair itself and restore itself to a more normal working environment. While it is possible to get too much sleep (including in conditions like depression) in essence this period is a built-in biological rest period that is an absolute requirement. To make matters worse, however, sometimes being sick interrupts the sleep process. Cannabis works here, like a charm.
- Cannabis goes to work as an analgesic. Like other conditions, MS patients get huge relief from cannabis.
- Pain and depression are intertwined. The same neurotransmitters are involved. By improving all of the other symptoms that cause depression at least biochemically, cannabis goes to work on this aspect of being chronically ill as well as pain. Depression is almost always a co-morbid symptom of serious illness. It is also almost always overlooked and undertreated, particularly in those with long-term, chronic illness.
- MS patients frequently have eye problems and it is not uncommon for these sufferers to go blind temporarily. That alone is terrifying. Here is the good news. Cannabis is known to work on degenerative eye problems and further has neuroprotective qualities that work in all areas of the body. The drug helps dramatically improve this symptom too.
But How Do I Get Help?
Sadly, even at this point in the reform battle, and at a time when the medical efficacy of marijuana is a known fact, patients still struggle to get access to the drug. This is for a multitude of reasons including physical access to doctors willing to write prescriptions to prohibitive cost.
Even in Germany, as of this writing, where MS patients are first in line to get the drug and further have it covered under health insurance, some patients are reporting problems with reimbursement.
The good news, however? A diagnosis of MS is no longer a death sentence, and further, it is increasingly manageable with cannabinoids (both THC and CBD). If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, do not hesitate to ask your doctor for a prescription.
Further, if you live in a state where there is an established patient support group, do not hesitate to get in touch with them. They will usually be able to point you in the direction of other people in drug compassion networks.
Don’t expect this part of the battle to be easy. However, at this point on one level, the biggest war is already won. People know that MS patients frequently feel that “they have their body back” when they get access to the drug. For MS patients, at least, the question of “why marijuana” has been definitively answered.