MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS)

Multiple sclerosis is a progressive, incurable disease in which your immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin sheaths that protect your nerve fibers. Over time, the disease can permanently damage your nerves. Symptoms of MS include:

  • Numbness or weakness in your limbs or trunk

  • Electric shocks when you move your neck

  • Tremors, unsteady gait, trouble walking

  • Vision problems

  • Slurred speech

  • Dizziness

  • Tingling or pain in the body

  • Bladder and sexual problems

Generally, MS symptoms flare up and then relapse, sometimes for years at a time.


Some medications for MS slow disease progression and others control symptoms during flares. Disease-modifying drugs for relapsing/remitting MS include:

  • Injectables like beta interferons or glatiramer acetate

  • Oral drugs, like fingolimod, dimethyl fumarate, teriflunomide, siponimod

  • Infusions, like ocrelizumab, natalizumab, alemtuzumab, mitoxantrone

When you have a flare, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to subdue inflammation and pain. If you don’t respond to corticosteroids or you have severe MS, they may recommend a procedure called plasmapheresis, in which your blood cells are separated from your plasma (the liquid part of blood), mixed with the protein albumin, and reintroduced into your body. If you have trouble walking during an MS flare, your doctor may also recommend physical therapy (PT) to help you use a mobility aid, such as a cane. Regular PT also strengthens your legs and improves balance and coordination. Other drugs may also be recommended to manage symptoms ranging from sexual dysfunction to fatigue.


Approximately 16% of patients with MS used medical cannabis in 2018 to control their symptoms, according to Multiple Sclerosis News Today. The cannabinoids in medical cannabis interact with your own endocannabinoid receptors in your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Medical cannabis also contains antioxidants and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Some of the benefits of medical cannabis for MS include:

  • Reduced pain

  • Less spasticity

  • More relaxed muscles  

  • Reduced bladder urgency

  • Better sleep

  • Less anxiety

If you have MS, find out if medical marijuana can help you slow disease progression and control flares. 

 

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