Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a neurological condition in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system — the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Specifically, the disease causes damage to the myelin, the fatty substance that protects nerve fibers. This causes inflammation, and makes it difficult or impossible for the central nervous system to relay messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Over time, the damaged parts of the central nervous system develop scar tissue, and the nerves may be permanently damaged or deteriorate.
There are four types of MS. Symptoms vary person to person, but can include fatigue, difficulty walking, numbness or tingling, cognitive problems, weakness, spasticity (when muscles stay contracted), and vision problems. Many people with MS experience remissions and relapses. Scientists aren’t sure what causes the disease, but they think it’s a product of a few factors: genetics, how your immune system functions, and your environment. There’s no cure for MS, but treatment options can manage your symptoms, speed up recovery after relapses, and slow the disease’s progression.
Doctors typically recommend medications, mental health support, and rehabilitation programs to manage MS. A number of studies suggest cannabis can decrease stiffness and improve mobility in people with MS. There’s even a cannabis-based mouth spray that was developed in the UK to treat pain, spasticity, overactive bladder, and other MS symptoms. At cannabisMD, we’ll continue to keep you updated on research into cannabis and CBD as treatment options for multiple sclerosis.