Medical Marijuana for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Can patients obtain a Ohio medical marijuana card for multiple sclerosis?
And is medical marijuana safe and effective or treating MS? In this post, we’ll explain how medical marijuana is being used to treat MS and how MS patients can gain access to Ohio dispensaries.
Multiple sclerosis or MS
Multiple sclerosis or MS is among the most prevalent neurodegenerative diseases in Ohio. MS is also one of the qualifying conditions for obtaining a Ohio medical marijuana card.
MS is triggered when the protective sheath surrounding neurons (myelin) is eroded. This erosion causes an interruption of signals to the central nervous system which in turn impairs motor function and coordination.
The impairment of motor coordination comes with a host of other symptoms such as blurred vision and partial blindness, tremors, numbness, muscle weakness, fatigue, seizures, dizziness, bowel and bladder dysfunction, and slurred speech.
The traditional medications administered to MS patients offer only a temporary respite from symptoms and sadly may induce a number of unpleasant and potentially fatal side-effects.
Can marijuana, a product of the cannabis plant, be used to help MS patients lessen their symptoms? Is marijuana actually safe and effective?
In multiple studies, medical marijuana has been shown to mitigate and possibly eradicate the spasticity and seizures frequently suffered by MS patients. Moreover, unlike traditional pharmaceuticals used to treat MS, marijuana is non-toxic and non-habit forming as long as it’s not abused. There are also strains of marijuana that are non-intoxicating and methods for consuming marijuana that are not harmful to the heart and lungs.
How is marijuana used to treat MS? And what is the evidence of its efficacy?
Can medical marijuana help treat MS?
As is the case with many neurological disorders, inflammation is thought to be the culprit responsible for the irreversible neural damage and the debilitating symptoms associated with MS.
Medical marijuana is known for its ability to attenuate the ravages of inflammation, thereby reducing the damage caused by MS. In addition to having anti-inflammatory properties, cannabis also has neural-protective and antioxidative effects and is believed to actually slow the neurodegenerative process.
Many MS patients often deal with severe depression and anxiety as a result of relentless symptoms. Medical marijuana is believed to help improve mood in MS patients. Some patients also report improved mobility and less fatigue with the use of marijuana.
Is there scientific evidence to back up patient reports?
What evidence supports treating MS with medical marijuana?
Clinical and anecdotal evidence is stacking up in favor of medical marijuana and its ability to treat the symptoms of MS. Healthcare practitioners around the world are finally embracing the herb and its multifaceted healing properties.
The British House of Lords carefully examined the collected evidence in 1998, compelling one lawmaker to make this astute observation:
”We have seen enough evidence to convince us that a doctor might legitimately want to prescribe cannabis to relieve… the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and that the criminal law ought not to stand in the way.”
In a clinical study conducted by The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, cannabinoids — the active compounds produced in cannabis — were administered to MS patients. The results were impressive, as 96 percent of the patients reported a profound lessening of their symptoms prompting researchers to make the following conclusive statement:
“This is an exciting time for cannabinoid research. There is a growing amount of data to suggest that cannabis can alleviate symptoms like muscle spasticity and pain in patients with MS.”
In a 2012 research publication, Dr. Andras Bilkey-Gorzo concluded that:
“At first sight, it is striking that cannabinoid, substances known to impair cognitive functions, could be beneficial in neurodegenerative cognitive disorders. However, [we found] cannabinoid receptor activation could reduce oxidative stress and excitotoxicity, suppress neuroinflammatory processes, and thus alleviate the symptoms of neurodegenerative motor and cognitive diseases.”
Another publication from London’s Institute of Neurology made these observations regarding cannabis and MS treatment:
“In addition to symptom management, cannabis may also slow down the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability in multiple sclerosis and probably other neurodegenerative diseases.”
In a March 2014 report, The British Journal of Pharmacology made the following statement regarding marijuana as a viable treatment for MS due to its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties:
“A common issue with neurological disorders is the chronic inflammation of neurons. Both THC and CBD have been shown to produce strong anti-inflammatory responses that may trigger the onset of neurological diseases. Furthermore, THC and CBD have antioxidant properties and are known to protect against the degeneration of neurons and nerve cells in the brain.”
A cannabinoid-based medication called Sativex produced by GW Pharmaceuticals in the U.K. was put through trials and deemed a viable solution for MS-related spasticity and pain and was subsequently also approved by the Canadian government for the treatment of MS.
How to use medical marijuana to treat MS
Because of the wide variety of cannabis strains and delivery methods available, a cannabis protocol can be formulated for each client’s individual needs, symptoms, and lifestyle.
Cannabis products come in a wide menu of options including dried flower for smoking or cooking, as well as vape oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles, topicals, patches, and more.
Many strains of cannabis and many cannabis-infused products contain high levels of a cannabinoid known as THC which is the cause of its intoxicating properties. However, for patients who wish to avoid the intoxication that often comes with marijuana, low-THC, high-CBD strains are also known to provide relief.
Moreover, CBD products produced from hemp rather than marijuana are effectively THC-free and can be purchased over the counter in most states. MS patients can also buy CBD oil online.
Is medical marijuana safe for MS patients?
Only a handful of MS patients using medical marijuana report mild side effects from cannabis use. However, symptoms such as occasional diarrhea, drowsiness, and changes in appetite may be the result of inferior marijuana products of misuse.
These side-effects may be avoided if first-time medical marijuana patients seek advice from a Ohio medical marijuana doctor who specializes in the use of cannabis for treating MS. A professional bud-tender at a Ohio dispensary can also help to patients determine the best cannabis strain and method of ingestion for their particular condition.
Videos about the use of medical marijuana for treating multiple sclerosis
How to get a Ohio medical marijuana card for MS
Patients suffering from MS should contact a state-certified medical marijuana doctor in their area to discuss whether or not the patient is eligible for access to dispensaries. If the patient is approved, the healthcare provider’s staff will usually walk each patient through the process of completing the required applications.
Get or Renew Your Ohio Medical Marijuana Card Today!
For Ohio residents, we make it easy to connect with a certified recommending doctor to get or renew your Medical Marijuana Card. To get started, simply fill out the patient registration form below, press submit, and your on your way to a MedCard telemedicine doctors appointment online. See if you qualify today!
Patient Registration Form
Sources and additional reading
- Learn more about how to get a medical marijuana card in Ohio
- List of Ohio medical marijuana doctors
- List of Ohio dispensaries
- Ohio Buckeye| National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Ohio MS Centers – MS Cure Fund
- Office Of Medical Marijuana Use: Cannabis use in patients with multiple sclerosis
- Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis
- CBD counteracted the development of experimental MS
- MS News – CBD and Multiple Sclerosis: What You Need to Know
- Project CBD – TRPV1 Protects Neurons In Multiple Sclerosis
- Meta-analysis of cannabis-based treatments for neuropathic and multiple sclerosis-related pain
- Sativex for the management of multiple sclerosis symptoms
- THC & CBD oromucosal spray (Sativex®) in the management of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis
- Clinical efficacy and effectiveness of Sativex, a combined cannabinoid medicine, in multiple sclerosis-related spasticity