7 ways cannabis relieves MS symptoms
In the June issue of ROOTS magazine, you could read about the positive effect of cannabis on multiple sclerosis in the eighth volume of the "The Truth About Medicinal Cannabis" series. I recently came across the following text, which goes deeper and is definitely worth reading.
Source: www.herb.co (edited by Jindřich Krása)
The tremendous success of cannabis in the treatment of multiple sclerosis has been one of the reasons why this herb is regaining legal status around the world. Multiple sclerosis is one of the diseases that can be positively affected by cannabis, either in the form of a prescription herb, or cannabis oil or an extract.
1. Protects the brain
Patients struggling with multiple sclerosis face one enemy in particular: inflammation. When immune cells are active, they release proteins called cytokines. These cytokines cause uncontrollable inflammation in the brain. This eventually leads to the destruction of neurons and the gradual worsening of the symptoms of the disease.
The active ingredients in cannabis, cannabinoids, have effective anti-inflammatory effects. Ingredients such as psychoactive THC and non-psychoactive CBD inactivate the immune system and prevent an attack on the central nervous system. When the immune system calms down, it no longer attacks the central nervous system.
The same properties make the herb very effective in combating other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus.
Cannabinoids are one of the useful key substances that promote neurogenesis (the formation of new brain cells) in adults. Some of these substances are:
- Dark chocolate
- Red wine (in small quantities)
The ingredients in cannabis are also effective antioxidants, which also gives them neuroprotective properties (protection of brain cells). The herb fights oxidative stress, protects cells, tissues and DNA from damage. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neurogenetic properties of this herb make it a very effective medicine for the brain. She really is almost miraculous.
2. Relieves pain
You may have heard it - cannabis works wonderfully for chronic pain. It is an effective analgesic, where cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, affect pain receptors in the body. The ability of cannabis to act against inflammation also plays a role, because inflammation and pain go hand in hand.
As the tissues in the body begin to swell, they become irritated and their condition worsens. The breakdown of these tissues is painful. In addition, nerve cells that are destroyed can send pain signals to the rest of the body.
The pain-relieving effects of the herb were tested in a group at the University of California, San Diego. In clinical trials, researchers studied the effects of smoking marijuana on physical pain. And the result? Five minutes after smoking - no effects. 45 minutes after smoking - participants who smoked moderate to large amounts of cannabis showed a significant reduction in pain levels.
3. Prevents muscle stiffness and cramps
It sounds unbelievable, but at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel, the CBD helped paralyzed mice regain the ability to walk. Does it sound too much of a miracle to you? Don't worry. It is a coincidence that this scientific miracle took place in one of the holiest countries in the world.
The researchers put the mice in a state similar to multiple sclerosis. Then they inserted CBD into their bodies. Mice whose legs were dysfunctional due to muscle tension began to move again. Mice given CBD also had much less nerve cell damage and significantly less inflammatory damage.
This is confirmation that the neuroprotective properties of cannabis are extremely effective in alleviating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Israeli findings are confirmed by further research. In 2012, a study conducted at the University of Plymouth found that cannabis was twice as effective at relieving muscle stiffness and cramps than given placebo. After 12 weeks, the cannabis participants showed a significant reduction in muscle stiffness compared with the other participants.
Approximately 20 % patients with MS have problems with increased muscle tension (spasticity). This means muscle stiffness and twitching. Loss of muscle control occurs when the nerve cells responsible for movement are damaged. This damage is caused by inflammation, especially inflammation in the brain and spine.
A 2013 study at Tel Aviv University found that THC and CBD prevent inflammation in these areas. These findings have led researchers to conclude that marijuana can do more than relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
4. Helps digestion
Indigestion is very common in patients with MS. Constipation, problems with bowel control and difficulty digesting can make their daily lives literally hell. Marijuana can help. 70 % cells of the immune system are in the gut. Not surprisingly, cannabinoids attack these immune cells and soothe inflammation in the gut.
THC is also a well-known appetite stimulant. Cannabinoids trigger the release of hunger hormones and can start metabolism. So not only do cannabinoids reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, but they also improve the behavior of digestive juices.
A simple analogy can be to imagine cannabinoids as traffic cops. This simple component directs the flow of communication hormones into and out of the cells like a traffic cop at an intersection during a traffic jam. When you place them in the right place, THC and CBD function as tools to make the body function as it should and everything is going well.
When combined with specific receptors, cannabinoids may:
- Suppress nausea and vomiting
- Relax your muscles
- Relieve diarrhea
- Alleviate inflammation
5. Helps sleep
When you can't control your body, sleep can become an unsolvable problem. If you need enough quality sleep, a heavy indica will put your body and mind at rest. Cannabis helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
In a 2013 study, male cannabis smokers found that falling asleep was much easier for them. They also fell asleep faster, but they also had a "sleep hangover." If you have a busy working day, it is not an ideal situation. However, patients who needed a little more rest were still satisfied.
Patients suffering from pain also slept better after using cannabis. At least according to a study by the British GW Pharmaceuticals. At GW Pharma, they tested the effects of CBD and THC on 2,000 patients suffering from pain. During the study, it was found that the participants had significantly better sleep and their pain was less.
Cannabis also helps make sleep deeper. Consumption of THC before bed causes deep sleep to last a little longer in the individual. During deep sleep, the body uses time to regenerate. It is a time when the body repairs bones and muscles. The immune system is also repaired during this phase of sleep.
6. Relieves bad moods
It is very well known that grass can illuminate the spirit. So it's no surprise that marijuana also relieves stress-related depression. Researchers at the University of Buffalo have found that rats produce fewer endocannabinoids under the influence of chronic stress.
Endocannabinoids are similar to THC and CBD and our bodies produce them themselves. After finding out which rats had low levels of natural cannabinoids, the researchers injected them with cannabis ingredients.
Guess what happened. The influx of cannabinoids from marijuana increased the amount of cannabinoids in their brains. This reduced the symptoms of depression in rats. Chronic stress is one of the main reasons for depression in adults. Unfortunately for patients with MS, it also occurs very often. Cannabis helps relieve mood because after its use, the brain is flooded with endocannabinoids, which are needed to eliminate symptoms.
We discuss endocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system in more detail in the article on page 13 in this issue of ROOTS.
7. Protects the eyes
Patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis will tell you that it is not uncommon for them to have blurred vision. Some patients may even be blinded temporarily or have uncontrollable eye movements. The reason is inflammation again. In some cases, MS causes inflammation of the optic nerve. This causes patients to lose some or even all of their ability to see until the swelling subsides.
Cannabis can help reduce these confusing effects on MS vision. In this case, cannabis reduces inflammation of the optic nerve. Over time, this inflammation can turn degenerative. The herb has already been shown to act as a potential remedy for many degenerative vision problems.
Common problems, such as glaucoma and degenerative retinal diseases, are of neurological origin. The neuroprotective properties of marijuana can alleviate the damage caused by these diseases.
The cannabis plant is miraculous, but what is perhaps even more miraculous is what the plant can teach you about yourself. THC is a piece of the puzzle that stimulates the body's systems to act and helps it keep its balance.
Systems affected by THC affect appetite, memory, sleep ability and even an important immune system. All of these systems are part of a much larger endocannabinoid system. These vital functions are controlled and influenced by the same chemicals and hormones - endocannabinoids.
As already mentioned, endocannabinoids occur naturally in the body, while phytocannabinoids occur in plants.
Regardless of the disease, most cannabinoids work on the same basis. By connecting to cells in the brain and body, it changes the way cells communicate with each other. This means that the way cells exchange specific information changes.
The same happens when naturally occurring cannabinoids, such as anandamide, attach to the same receptors, but with different results.
In multiple sclerosis, cannabinoids act as a drug with many effects because they attach to the natural system. In patients with MS, research has shown that this system does not work properly. In 2007, a study showed that the activity of endocannabinoids was significantly altered in experimental animals with MS.
Further research confirmed that endocannabinoids have an effect on seizures in patients. By connecting to the endocannabinoid system, THC and CBD slow down the autoimmune response, stop inflammation, improve muscle control and eliminate the side effects of the disease on the body.
In fact, research into how THC affects patients with MS has yielded many insights into how the disease works. Thanks to cannabis, we now know that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role during the disease.
These findings have accelerated the use of THC in pharmaceutical companies such as GW Pharma. Twenty years ago, Sativex was launched to relieve problems such as muscle cramps and pain in patients with MS.
While the name of the drug has appeared in many newspaper headlines around the world, it is more or less a pharmaceutical type of cannabis extract that contains the same amount of activated THC and CBD, ie in a 1: 1 ratio.
Sativex is currently available to MS patients in many countries, and the third phase of testing its effects in cancer patients is even underway in the United States. The manufacturer of Sativex has not yet suggested its use for the treatment of muscle cramps in patients with MS. Those who do not have access to Sativex will find many suitable varieties of cannabis on the market.
We have come a long way in the field of cannabis science and research. Researchers around the world are moving towards an understanding of cannabis and its uses in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Cannabis-based cures for MS are already in pharmacies. Half of the US allows cannabis treatment for muscle cramps. Overall, things are moving in the right direction.