Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a serious degenerative disease that affects the nerves in the central nervous system. It is estimated that approximately 2.3 million people worldwide live with MS. While there is no cure for MS, different treatments may slow its progress. One of the most promising treatments is medical marijuana.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, and for many, disabling disease, that affects the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Since everything branches off of the spinal cord, it explains why MS can attack every area of your mind and body.
As a disease, MS works like a lamp does. The light bulb represents the brain, and the chord are the nerves that run into the electrical outlet. Someone without MS would experience the electricity running through the cord without interruption. Those with MS have unravelled chords that prevent the electricity from running throughout the body properly.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with MS include:
- Sensory symptoms
- Motor function issues
- Visual issues
- Balance issues
- Sexual dysfunction
- Urinary issues
- Cognitive impairment
These might be the most common symptoms associated with MS, but everyone experiences MS differently and to varying degrees. Other symptoms can include tremors, temporary hearing loss, difficulty walking, difficulty swallowing, and mental health issues like exhaustion and depression. These symptoms can come on unexpectedly and without warning.
Multiple Sclerosis in Canada
Statistically, Canada has the highest multiple sclerosis rates in the world. In fact, among healthcare workers, MS is referred to as “Canada’s disease.”
According to the most recent data, 93,500 Canadians have been diagnosed with MS. That’s 290 cases per 100,000. Canada’s rate is almost 10 times that of the global median.
MS affects women much more than men. The rate for men is 159 cases per 100,000 while the rate for women is 418 cases per 100,000. While women are more likely to be diagnosed with MS, men are more likely to experience a more debilitating form of MS.
MS is also called an invisible disease. That’s because most of the symptoms are experienced internally and are not always visible to others. This also helps explain why it can take years for doctors to diagnose someone with MS.
Managing Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis: How Effective Is Cannabis?
MS attacks the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. The marijuana plant contains dozens of compounds that can affect the mind and body. This is why more and more research is being done to determine whether cannabis can either slow the progression of MS or manage the symptoms better than other treatments.
Because medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001, more and more Canadians see it as a viable option for treating their MS. According to one recent survey, over 90% of respondents with MS have either considered using cannabis to manage their MS, have used it for MS, or have spoken to their healthcare practitioner about medical marijuana for multiple sclerosis.
The huge potential healthcare benefits of managing MS symptoms with cannabis has caught the attention of the medical community. In 2019, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and the Canadian Institute of Health Research joined together to provide $1.5 million in funding research into how cannabis can be used to manage MS symptoms.
While serious academic research into marijuana for MS is limited, new funding projects are expected to help accelerate the research, which could help validate the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis.
Spasms and Stiffness
MS is associated with chronic symptoms like muscle stiffness, pain, spasms, and insomnia. Medical trials have shown that cannabis is effective at helping patients manage specific MS symptoms, especially those associated with pain management.
One study found that muscle stiffness improved when compared to a placebo, after just 12 weeks. Respondents also reported improvements related to spasms, quality of sleep, and less intense muscle spasms.
In one trial, scientists wanted to see if an oral marijuana extract had any effect on bladder function. They gave participants either the extract or a placebo for 10 weeks. While more research needs to be done, the scientists found that marijuana might improve the symptoms of bladder problems in those suffering from MS.
A systematic review conducted in 2014 backed up the claim that oral marijuana extract could be effective for treating bladder issues.
Insurance Coverage for Medical Cannabis and MS
Some insurers like Green Shield, offer medical cannabis treatment for spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in a limited capacity and only after all other treatment options have been explored. To confirm if your health insurance covers medical cannabis for MS symptoms consult with your benefits plan.
MMC, Making Access to Medical Cannabis Simple
If you suffer from MS and your current treatment isn’t giving you the relief you want, or if you’ve recently been diagnosed with MS and are curious about whether medical marijuana is right for you, speak with the experts at Medical Marijuana Consulting.
A trusted name in medical cannabis consulting, MCC helps patients from across Canada get access to medical professionals who are experts on the topic of medical marijuana and MS. Our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners can provide a prescription, offer you help to get you coverage for your prescription costs (if eligible), and refer you to a licensed producer.
With MMC’s personalized white glove treatment, you also get access to one-on-one educational sessions that cover everything you need to know about medical cannabis, including how to safely consume medical marijuana and what dosages to take.
If you want to grow your own medical cannabis at home, our medical marijuana consulting team can help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.
At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.
To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your personalized medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 844-312-5143, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.