According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the question of whether marijuana should be used to manage the debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) including pain, tremors, and muscle spasms, is complex and not easily answered. Although more than 400,000 Americans suffer with MS, and many are turning to medical marijuana to ease their symptoms, there are side effects to be considered when contemplating the use of cannabis to treat MS.
The Society supports the rights of people with MS to work with their health care providers to access medical marijuana in those states where it has been approved. There are several studies of note on the effects of cannabis in those with MS symptoms, and supporters hope to soon prove its viability as a treatment, as those treatments currently available often fail to provide real relief.
Although legal in 28 states as of 2016, marijuana use is still illegal at the federal level. However, in 2015 federal legislation was passed clarifying that the federal government would no longer use federal funds to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that voted to permit medical marijuana use. This new legislation overturned a 2005 Supreme Court ruling allowing the federal government to prohibit and prosecute possession and use of medical marijuana, even in the states where it was legal.
Many patients swear by medical marijuana when it comes to finding relief from their symptoms, some even dubbing it “a miracle cure” for MS. Unfortunately, a true cure for MS is yet to be found. Dr. Thorsten Rudroff, a Colorado State University neurophysiologist who has conducted observational studies on the effects of marijuana in treating multiple sclerosis symptoms, states that anecdotal reports touting the benefits of marijuana in treating common symptoms like fatigue, muscle weakness, anxiety, and sleep deprivation are growing in number, but these reports are not yet verified by scientific research to date.
Cannabis research has faced heavy opposition, and scientists have had a difficult time conducting clinical trials necessary to determine dosing guidelines and the efficacy of cannabis sativa in treating symptoms in MS patients, because of its current status as a Schedule 1 drug. Scientists who want to study cannabis must seek approval from federal, state, and local agencies for their research, and are only able to get their samples from a single lab.
Dr. Rudroff believes the medical benefits of marijuana stem from the CBD (cannabidiol) present in the plant. CBD binds to the receptors in the human body and alters the way they act to the body’s natural signals. In MS, there is too much activity of the immune system, and Dr. Rudroff believes that CBD may inhibit this increased activity, which may result in medical benefits.
To learn more about the application of medical marijuana for your situation or if you have the right reasons to get a medical marijuana card, please contact the Colorado Springs MMJ doctors from Medical Alternatives Clinics at (719) 246-0393. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please visit our online portal. We offer same day appointments for current and prospective medical marijuana patients.