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CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis—Does It Work?

CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis—Does It Work?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a very challenging, complicated disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS) and is mediated by the immune system. It's a difficult condition to diagnose accurately, as it shares symptoms with many other disorders and diseases.

Scientists are still debating its status as an "autoimmune disease," as they yet have to discover its true cause. So, with so much still unclear about the disease itself, it is unsurprising that well-designed clinical research specifically on cannabidiol—or CBD oil for multiple sclerosis—remains limited.

THC, one of the other cannabinoids in marijuana, has been investigated more extensively for its ability to ameliorate the most common MS symptoms. Together, the two cannabinoids are fairly established as a suitable treatment for MS-related spasticity, pain, and sleep problems. [1][2][3]

Well-designed clinical research specifically on CBD oil for multiple sclerosis remains limited.

RELATED: How CBD Oil Has Been Used For MS

Yet thousands of MS patients cannot be wrong about CBD, and a quick online search reveals many ecstatic anecdotes regarding CBD oil's almost magical effect. Read on for more on this.

First, let's look at the science.

What Research Says about CBD for Multiple Sclerosis

Following an uncontrolled, open-label trial that was conducted over a period of two years in patients with MS and central neuropathic pain, researchers concluded that THC and CBD were effective against pain. Mild adverse events occurred in 78% of the study cohort, who listed dizziness and nausea as the most common complaints. [4]

In another laboratory-based investigation, CBD was shown to have long-lasting protection against inflammation in the CNS of mice with multiple sclerosis. [5]

The most recent review of the literature on the subject of cannabis treatment for MS, published in the Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, 2018, reveals:

"While cannabinoids have been studied for a variety of neurologic disorders, there is the strongest evidence to indicate benefits in the treatment of spasticity and neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis. Although the best dose for an individual remains uncertain, most participants in the studies discussed in this paper used between 20 and 40 mg of THC a day in divided doses." [6]

In contrast, another literature review, published online in the Frontiers in Neurology 2017, had the reviewers state:

"As was made clear during a recent meeting sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Marijuana and Cannabinoids: A Neuroscience Research Summit, there are many uncertainties about the positive and negative effects associated with cannabis use in PwMS (patients with MS). However, it is known that cannabis strains, containing CBD levels equal or higher than THC, have positive effects on muscle spasticity (4) and pain in PwMS (5). These positive effects of cannabis on spasticity and pain and its safety have also been emphasized by the American Academy of Neurology (6)." [7]

So, it seems that research is somewhat unclear on CBD as a stand-alone treatment as well as the CBD dosage for multiple sclerosis, except to concede that it appears to be helpful against pain and spasticity in MS patients. More clinically significant, well-designed studies are called for.

Should you consider CBD for your MS symptoms? That would remain your choice, and it would be advisable to consider this together with your prescribing doctor.

RELATED: How Much CBD Do You Need?

What Is the Best CBD Dosage for Multiple Sclerosis?

Regarding the best CBD dosage for multiple sclerosis—currently, there are no official dosing guidelines available, and no natural CBD preparation has been approved by the FDA for treating MS. Many are using it with great effect for certain symptoms, though.

One study of a THC/CBD combo for the reduction of MS symptoms indicated that doses varied between 2.5–120 mg of each cannabinoid daily. This was successful in the treatment of a range of symptoms, including spasticity, spasms, bladder problems, tremor, or pain. [8]

Best would be to experiment with doses, preferably with your doctor's consent and/or recommendation. A CBD tincture or oil would offer you flexibility in terms of dose control.

If you're new to medicinal cannabis, the best guidelines would be as follows:

  • Start on a low dose and increase gradually over time. Stop at a dosage that works best for your symptoms, as very high doses of CBD have been associated with side effects and can increase tremors. No need to flood the body with anything it doesn't need—find your own "sweet spot." CBD oil is touted to be more effective during the initial stages of the disease and for relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and primary progressive MS (PPMS), but it would be best to find out for yourself.
  • Give the CBD oil time to work. Your MS didn't develop overnight, and supporting your body with a completely natural product will likely take time too. Also, learn to manage your dosage—when you expect a difficult day, take slightly more.
  • Find a reputable CBD oil supplier. Look for products that are hemp-derived and also:
    • Made from organically cultivated hemp
    • Made using a superior subtraction method, such as the CO2 method. This allows for a full cannabinoid and terpene profile.
    • Look for the actual CBD mg per dose and not the percentage of CBD oil per bottle. Greater quantities of low-quality CBD oil doesn't automatically mean better treatment outcomes.
    • Look for laboratory test results on the label for product purity and integrity.

Most people getting good results with CBD oil for any condition took a high-quality oil.

RELATED: How To Choose A High-Quality CBD Oil

Regarding CBD Oil, Multiple Sclerosis Patient Tells Her Story

Science may not yet be where we need it to be regarding medicinal marijuana and its compounds, but more than a few people attest that CBD oil made all the difference for them.

In fact, they're not afraid to say: "It saved my life."

One such person is Teri Heede, a war veteran, widow, and MS patient. In an interview with the online newspaper ResetMe, she said about cannabis: "I feel like it has stopped the disease from progressing...I am sixty years old and up and around."

More than a few multiple sclerosis patients attest that CBD oil made all the difference for them.

Her story is encouraging. One day, Teri fell at work and couldn't get up. She remained ill after the fall.

“I went to the neurologist and she told me I had MS,” Teri said. “I said, ‘I am a widow with PTSD and you can’t tell me that now I have MS too.’”

Her neurologist, an open-minded medical professional, advised her to try anything, as the medical profession didn't have much more than symptom control to offer her. 

Teri decided to try marijuana, and within three weeks, her symptoms had all disappeared. She is now a staunch advocate of medicinal marijuana. [9]

Never replace any medicine you are currently taking with CBD oil without the knowledge of your prescribing physician. Also, do your own research—especially regarding the quality of the CBD oil or tincture you wish to use—before taking this course of action. CBD oil for multiple sclerosis may not yet be firmly established and scientifically validated, but it is more than worth the try and could work miracles for you.

--------------

Sources:

  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-sclerosis/symptoms/conditions-commonly-mistaken-multiple-sclerosis/
  2. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Definition-of-MS/Immune-mediated-disease
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16317825
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149291807002949
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969996113001939
  6. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11910-018-0859-x
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5481305/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15327042
  9. http://reset.me/story/cannabis-saved-my-life-multiple-sclerosis/

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