For any of you who have read our previous CBD articles, using CBD to treat MS may not come as that much of a surprise. Research has revealed that CBD seems to interact deeply with the neurons in our brains in a positive way. As MS can wreak havoc on the nervous system, the idea of using CBD to treat MS is not farfetched. Today we will be exploring the potential of using CBD for MS in our fifth HealthyTOKYO article on CBD, taking a look into why MS is such a complicated condition to live with and what CBD related research has to say regarding MS.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, frequently abbreviated as CBD, is a chemical compound that is sourced from the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. It is one of many compounds classified as a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are shown to interact with receptors in the brain and throughout the body, and are reported to produce a variety of positive effects such as relief from anxiety and depression, to alleviating pain and aiding sleep. It can be extracted from marijuana or hemp, and when produced correctly, can be completely free of THC. Please have a look at the other HealthyTOKYO articles on CBD to get a more in-depth explanation regarding CBD and its applications.
What is MS?
MS, or “Multiple Sclerosis”, is a condition that causes the immune system to attack the central nervous system. This attack damages the fibers of the central nervous system, such as the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, and causes scarring to these fibers. This in turn disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. Those who suffer from MS feel its effect in a variety of ways and the severity of the symptoms depends on the individual.
MS will usually manifest as issues with general body functions such as motor control, problems with vision and balance, and can also cause patients grow tired easily or suffer from mood swings. Some people with MS are bound to wheelchairs, making even simple, everyday activities a challenge, while others may only have basic vision or fatigue issues. Regardless of the severity, patients with MS have to deal with its symptoms throughout their life, though it is not considered a terminal disease.
Compared to other diseases, Multiple Sclerosis is fairly uncommon, affecting about 2 million people worldwide. A high concentration of those affected are women with Northern European ancestry aged 20 to 55. Unfortunately, the root cause of MS is still somewhat unclear, but genetics and family history may help indicate its initial onset.
What research has been conducted on CBD for MS?
Before going into the potential of using CBD for MS, we must re-acknowledge that the disease is so varied from patient to patient, even prescribed pharmaceuticals only have a reported 25% efficacy at reducing MS symptoms. Thus, it is no wonder that patients who suffer from MS may want to look into alternative forms of relief. The US National Library of Medicine itself has noted that CBD holds the potential to relieve issues of spasticity (a state in which muscles are continuously contracted). Both clinical and preclinical research suggest that cannabinoids like CBD can help with spasticity, inflammation, chronic pain, and depression (see our article on CBD for Depression for more information).
As with many of the other reported applications of CBD, there is a large amount of anecdotal evidence that suggests it may help relieve symptoms of MS. There are an increasing number of MS patients who have turned to medical marijuana, which contains cannabinoids such as CBD, and claim its efficacy in improving mobility and pain relief.
In addition, there is also evidence that suggests cannabinoids can slow down the progression of diseases and may have neuroprotective properties. However, it must be noted that these findings have only been supported by preclinical trials thus far. To bolster this claim of CBD’s neuroprotective properties, one piece of very suggestive evidence lies in the US government’s patent 6,630,507 from the year 2003 titled, “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”. The patent claims cannabinoids such as CBD have the proven ability to reduce neurological damage caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as MS.
Without having to look too hard, research on using CBD for MS is readily available and rather convincing. As mentioned above, living with MS can make simple activities like walking a great challenge. This compounded with the low efficacy of traditional methods makes the prospect of CBD as an alternative form of treatment rather exciting.
If you are curious about CBD or health-related matters in general, do not hesitate to contact us through the site chat feature located on the bottom right of the webpage.
Before you go, just remember:
● Multiple Sclerosis varies in severity from patient to patient: some suffer only minor symptoms while others are wheelchair-bound
● While CBD is sourced from Canabis sativa L plant, it is possible to remove any traces of THC
● Both clinical and preclinical research has produced evidence to suggest that CBD holds potential to relieve MS symptoms
● US government holds a patent on cannabinoids as a neuroprotective agent
Lastly, we would like to round off the article about using CBD for MS with a quote from awarded Neurologist and Rehabilitation Physician Dr. Barnes, who visited us in Tokyo last year to obtain CBD for his wife who has fibromyalgia:
“It is a pleasure to write a note for HealthyTOKYO. I visited their shop to obtain some CBD for my wife who has fibromyalgia and finds it invaluable.
There is no doubt now about the medicinal properties of CBD. The evidence for efficacy in pain, anxiety, nausea and epilepsy is overwhelming. Indeed, it is for this reason that now over 40 countries have legalised cannabis generally for medical purposes. Many other countries now recognise the properties of CBD alone whilst not yet coming to terms with legalisation of the THC varieties. That, I gather, is the case in Japan.
In the UK, CBD with less than 0.2% THC has been legal for many years although it cannot, strangely, be marketed for its medical properties and has to be sold as a food supplement. Nevertheless, it is very popular, not only for medical use but as a healthy living product. The UK has now decided to make full extract cannabis, with THC, CBD and the other minor cannabinoids and terpenes, legal from November 2018. Although we do not yet know the exact regulations it seems that there will be no restriction on conditions that can be prescribed by specialist doctors. It is likely that the main restriction on use will be the lack of knowledge of doctors. Many support the legalisation but equally many would not prescribe as they do not understand its properties, dosage, etc. We are trying, in the UK, to correct that knowledge gap by setting up a free doctors training programme in November. See taomc.org which will be live before long.
It is exciting that Japan is joining this worldwide movement and HealthyTOKYO is at the forefront of good quality CBD supply. I hope that soon Japan will find the benefits of medical cannabis for so many people with so many medical problems.“