What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating disease in which the immune system eats away at nerve coverings, resulting in communication issues between the brain and the rest of the body. Symptoms of MS are wide-ranging and vary from person to person, depending upon the amount of nerve damage done. No cure exists for MS, but there are some treatments available to help slow the progression of the disease.
Common symptoms of the disease include:
- Numbness or weakness in the limbs
- Walking difficulties or an unsteady gait
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Vision problems including blurry or double vision
- Slurring of speech
Throughout the course of the disease, an individual may have weeks or months with little to no symptoms that can be followed by relapse periods. This relapse/remission period can go on for years before a steady progression of the disease occurs.
There is no test to diagnose MS. Instead, your physician will need to review your medical history and perform a variety of neurological exams along with ruling out other possible diagnoses.
Can Cannabis Help MS Patients?
Right now, the treatments available to MS patients include a wide range of drug choices to help with relapses and the symptoms the disease causes, and physical therapy.
Another option to help with MS is cannabis. Studies have found that cannabis in capsule and spray form helps relieve and potentially reduce muscle spasticity and pain associated with the disease. There are currently two capsules approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for medical use.
At this time, a mouth spray, nabiximols (Sativex), is not yet available in the U.S.
Being diagnosed with a chronic disease like MS can be difficult. Luckily, there are different treatment options available, including cannabis, that may help to ease some symptoms of this painful condition.