CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis – How Does It Help With MS?

21st October 2019

Multiple Sclerosis or MS as it is known is the most common non-traumatic disabling disease affecting young adults today. Currently, there is no cure.

Scientists, patients, and their concerned families are constantly looking for more natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs and have a renewed sense of optimism that they may have found it.

What Exactly Is CBD Oil?

CBD is a powerful compound from the cannabis plant that has been shown to have numerous medicinal benefits without the euphoric high feeling typically associated with cannabis.

CBD works by interacting directly or indirectly with receptors located around the body. More often than not CBD will stimulate our body’s own endogenous compounds which are responsible for molecular signalling in the body promoting homeostasis.

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What is CBD?

Multiple Sclerosis – What Is MS?

In a healthy body, a chemical signal (message) is sent from the brain where it travels along nerve fibres from neuron to neuron until it reaches its destination to perform a bodily function such as moving your legs.

In patients with MS, the body's own immune system is attacking the protective sheet around these nerve fibres thereby disrupting or distorting the message until eventually the fibres are destroyed and the message can't get through at all.

The underlying cause of this disease is unknown but some scientists believe it may be genetic or possibly related to environmental factors.

Multiple Sclerosis Explanation

Different Types of MS

MS disproportionately affects women more than men by a ratio of 3:1. Two people may share the same type of MS and yet their symptoms may be completely different.

There is no medical equipment which can confirm what type of MS a person has, rather a doctor determines this to the best of their ability based on the symptoms described by the patients.

There are 4 main types of MS:

Relapsing-Remitting (RRMS)

Over 85% of people with MS are diagnosed with RRMS. This is where new or old symptoms ranging from mild to severe can suddenly appear and last for more than 24 hours. They can disappear completely after an episode only to come back again.

Primary-Progressive (PPMS)

This is the second most common type of MS affecting around 10 – 15% of patients where the onset of the first initial symptom gradually worsens over time.

Progressive-Relapsing (PRMS)

PRMS or ‘active progressive MS’ as some call it is a patient who has primary progressive MS and but also experiences relapses on top of this.

Secondary-Progressive (SPMS)

This is a stage that comes after relapsing-remitting for many people. Here symptoms that may have come and gone in the past now get steadily worse.

Scientists are looking into the potential of cannabinoids to help manage MS symptoms and the indicators are looking promising.

How Does CBD Oil Help With Multiple Sclerosis?

  • Early chronic inflammation has been shown to be responsible for relapsing-remitting MS and CBD powerful anti-inflammatory potential may help.
  • CBD in conjunction with another cannabinoid THC has been shown to reduce muscle spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • CBD showed a dose-dependent anti-depressant effect in animal studies and could help lower the depression associated with living with MS.
  • Oil with CBD and THC has also been shown to reduce the usage of opioid and antidepressant drugs.

Side Effects Of Cannabidiol

CBD is non-toxic, has an incredible safety profile, and is quoted in thousands of published papers as being well-tolerated in humans.

In clinical trials (particularly epilepsy trials) side effects reported by participants were noted as mild to moderate at worst. They were:

  • Drug on drug interactions
  • Diarrhoea
  • Appetite change/weight loss
  • Tiredness

Drug on drug interactions

CBD behaves like grapefruit juice in the body in that it can potentially alter the bioavailability of pharmaceutical drugs. In epilepsy trials this was a benefit as patients were able to reduce their drug dosage which reduced the side effects. Anyone on medication should consult with their doctor prior to taking CBD oil.

Diarrhoea

Although rare, diarrhoea was reported as a side effect in 10% of patients from the epilepsy trials.

Appetite change/weight loss

16% of patients in the epilepsy trials reported a reduced appetite while 2% said they had lost weight.

Tiredness

A common side effect is tiredness. 21% of patients reported this and anecdotally a lot of people feel that the anti-anxiety calming effects bring about a kind of light tiredness.

Multiple Sclerosis CBD Dosage Guide

As the type of MS can vary from person to person, so too can the correct dosage.

The only way to find out what daily dosage will provide you with optimum benefits is to use the Dr Solak method whereby you start on a small dosage such as 5 mg and after every hour you slowly increase the dosage and rate yourself on the following:

  • How easy is it to breathe
  • How easy is it to smile
  • How comfortable and calm does your body feel

The idea is that by increasing the dosage slowly each day you will reach a point where the benefits have been maximised and further increasing the dosage does not have any effect.

The table below is a good starting point for twice-daily dosage. It is worth remembering that anecdotally most people tend to consume 25 mg to 200 mg per day and that studies have shown that it is well tolerated in humans even up as far as 1500 mg per day.

CBD Dosage

Related Article: CBD Oil Dosage

Risks To Taking CBD For Multiple Sclerosis

There are mild risks that should be discussed prior to using CBD oil or cannabis oil that contains the intoxicating THC.

  • Euphoric high
  • Drug on drug interactions

Euphoric high

For those choosing cannabis oil which includes both CBD and THC, it should be noted that a mind altering effect will appear. This is the high that cannabis users look for but people who have not tried cannabis before may be taken aback by the sensation and as such should start with very small doses until they acclimatise.

Drug on drug interactions

CBD can interact with enzymes in the liver that metabolizes pharmaceutical drugs. This may lead to an increase or reduction in your pharmaceutical prescription and as such it would be prudent to speak to your doctor prior to taking either CBD oil or cannabis oil.

How to Consume CBD Oil

Thankfully there are a whole host of ways to consume CBD so you are certain to find one that works for you.

Different Forms of CBD

Tinctures

A tincture is a bottle of CBD mixed with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. It includes a pipette which is used to place the drops under your tongue for easy accurate dosage. Available in a range of flavours.

Edibles

Edibles are any food or drink that has been infused with cannabidiol. There is choice aplenty in the UK from gummy bears, chocolate, honey sticks to hummus and coffee. You can even make your own at home by placing drops from a tincture bottle into a cake or biscuit mix, for example.

Related Article: CBD Edibles

Vaping

CBD oil or flower is heated in an electronic device which is then breathed in and blown out as vapour. The effects are immediate due to pulmonary absorption in the lungs and as there is no combustion there are no toxins created.

Note: CBD vaping products do not contain nicotine and are therefore NOT addictive.

Capsules

Capsules are an easy and familiar method for precise, accurate dosing. They are available in vegetarian or gelatin and come in a wide range of flavours that taste exactly like standard sweets.

Smoking

CBD flower is burned in a device such as a pipe and smoked. Smoking offers the same fast onset of effects as vaping does but due to combustion, toxins may be created from the plant material being burned.

Takeaways

CBD may help reduce inflammation in the body which is believed to be the genesis of the MS disease.

Cannabidiol’s dose-dependent anti-depressant effects seen in animals may help people who suffer from depression as a result of this disease.

CBD and THC in combination have been shown to reduce spasticity and pain.

CBD is non-toxic and has been shown in numerous studies as being incredibly safe. In fact, it has been shown to be well-tolerated in doses up to 1500 mg.

There are a whole host of different ways in which you can consume CBD and as such there will be something to suit every palate.

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