Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of the most disabling neurological disorders around the world. According to a recent finding by the National MS Society, it is estimated that nearly 1 million people in the U.S. are living with this condition. MS is a long-lasting and progressively debilitating condition, which affects the body’s central nervous system. Treatments are available depending on the progression-level of the patient, but the good news is that most living with MS won’t develop any severe disabilities.
While there is not a clear cause for MS, it is thought to be tied to genetics as a risk that can be inherited. It is an immune-mediated process in which an “abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed to against the central nervous system” according to the National MS Society. The immune system causes inflammation that damages the fatty substance that surrounds the nerve fibers, as well as the fibers themselves. Depending on the severity, some patients experience neurological symptoms that are caused by damage to areas of their nervous system.
While treatment options are available, some people are turning to using CBD oil as a natural alternative to manage the symptoms of MS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
CBD and MS
CBD oil has been known to help with nerve pain, but can it alleviate the symptoms of MS as well? CBD oil, extracted from the stalks and flowers of the hemp plant, contains cannabidiol, a compound known for its therapeutic effects. Since it contains no (or only trace amounts of) THC, there are no psychoactive effects associated with CBD, so it won’t produce a “high.” CBD is commonly used for its effects for lowering anxiety, pain management and inflammation.
Humans have what is referred to as an endocannabinoid system. It is a collection of cell receptors and molecules located throughout the body. It’s goal is to maintain a balance inside the body. The cannabinoid receptors found in the body play a role in sleep, mood, pain, memory and immune function to name a few. The cannabinoids found in CBD oil increases the concentration of cannabinoids in the body, which leads to a more effective endocannabinoid system. The compound has been shown to contain neuroprotective antioxidants, suggesting it may be a possible treatment for certain neurological conditions, including MS.
Although it is not FDA approved, anecdotal evidence have produced promising results with people living with MS. Those with this condition have had success with using CBD in a topical form and as a tincture. According to their testimoniesa huge difference in his life when it comes to managing his symptoms. He said that staying on CBD consistently is what made the difference. Studies have linked CBD to help manage spasticity as it relates to MS, as well as seizures and inflammation. In the case of one study, research showed that cannabidiol provides long-lasting protection against the damaging effects of inflammation in a model of MS.
Using CBD Oil
CBD oil is taken either orally or applied directly to the skin as a topical. When CBD is taken orally, it is usually administered with a tincture, capsule or an isolate. Tinctures are administered sublingually and left about 30 seconds under the tongue before swallowing. Isolates in most cases are crystalized cannabidiol, and often mixed in with food or beverage. Capsules are a pre-measured dosage of cannabidiol and are usually taken daily. Topicals, like lotions and salves, are applied directly to the affected area.
The Bottom Line
While clinical trials are still being tested, the studies that have been evaluated seem promising. If you are considering trying out CBD oil as a way to help manage symptoms of MS, ensure you do the necessary research to find a product that is right for you. Not all hemp oils are formulated the same and it’s important to purchase from a reputable vendor that is willing to provide a lab test of their product.
CBD oil may not be for everyone since those living with the condition may experience different symptoms. Before introducing a new supplement into your regimen, discuss treatment options with your doctor.