Due to its wildly varying nature and seemingly random flare up of symptoms, multiple sclerosis can be a horrendously frustrating disease to try and treat – no two people, as they say, are affected by it in the same way.
And though dozens of prescription medications are available (which we’ll talk about shortly), conventional drugs are entirely hit or miss in terms of their efficacy for any given individual; only about 1 in 4 experience reduced symptoms with a prescribed pharmaceutical treatment.
This is why, in recent years, CBD oil for multiple sclerosis has come barreling into the limelight in terms of its potential as a viable treatment option – increased marketing (as well as overwhelming anecdotal evidence) just in the past year or so has inspired thousands upon thousands of Multiple Scleroris sufferers to ditch their prescription meds in favor of the all-natural, non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
Likewise, super high-profile entities like Montel Williams (who suffered severely with MS before resorting to cannabis), have been advocating for enhanced funding and continued scientific research of the drug. Even the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which traditionally has been a rather conservative organization, has jumped on board to advocate for legalized medical cannabis at the state level.
Most shockingly of all, though, is the fact that the US government currently holds a patent on CBD as a ‘neuroprotectant’, citing its scientifically proven ability to limit neurological damage from neurodegenerative diseases (with multiple sclerosis of course being a highly neurodegenerative disease).
In this article, we’ll talk about how MS attacks nerve fibers and disrupts neurological pathways, and in what specific ways cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to physiologically manipulate and correct these pathways. While it’s certainly no cure or quick fix by any stretch of the imagination, CBD oil for multiple sclerosis is increasingly proving to be one of the more promising treatment methods out there.
Multiple Sclerosis: What it is, what it does, and how people get it
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society defines the disease as an “immune-mediated” condition in which fibers of the central nervous system (the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves) are attacked by the body’s own immune system.
Once the nerve fibers are attacked, scar tissue begins to form, which interrupts crucial neurological communication between the brain and other parts of the body. This communication is vital for essentially every function in the human body – motor, behavioral, emotional, or otherwise.
The severity of symptoms that multiple sclerosis victims experience thus depends on the location of the affected nerve fibers, as well as how many fibers are attacked, and how often. In milder cases symptoms may be as moderate as mood swings or muscle spasms, while in more severe cases victims may end up with paralysis and/or a complete inability to control bodily functions.
In terms of prevalence, multiple sclerosis is a relatively rare disease; it affects about 400,000 people here in the U.S., and about 2 million more worldwide. And while researchers are still in the dark as to what exactly triggers it, they have determined that women of northern European descent between the ages of 20 and 55 are most at risk (though thousands of men also suffer from the disease). Additionally, genetics and family history seem to play an important part as well in the initial onset, as does the combination of being exposed to some particular “environmental agent”, though they’ve failed to elaborate on what that agent(s) may be.
The good news, if there is any, is that contrary to popular belief the vast majority of sufferers do not experience overly-debilitating symptoms; most, in fact, maintain normal day-to-day lives. Also contrary to popular belief is the notion that multiple sclerosis is a terminal disease; while it is true that in some instances the disease is highly degenerative (gets worse over time) and terminal, the average lifespan of individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis is only marginally shorter than the average US adult lifespan.
Conventional MS Treatment Methods And Their Side-Effects
Multiple sclerosis exists in four different stages, or “disease courses”, and conventional treatments are prescribed depending on which particular stage the victim might be in. In order of increasing severity, the four courses are: Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS), Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS), Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS), and Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS).
Given the wildly “come and go” nature of the disease, though, and the seemingly random flare-up of symptoms, people have gone untreated for months or even years in many cases before being officially diagnosed. Once diagnosed, however, common prescription meds include interferons such as Avonex, Rebif, and Betaserone, and also immunomodulators like Copaxone.
Interferons work by lowering the number of white blood cells in the body, thereby limiting the “sources” of attack on CNS nerve fibers. Since white blood cells make up the immune system and are responsible for protecting against disease, however, these drugs can be dangerous and produce side effects similar to those of chemotherapy.
Immunomodulators like Copaxone are generally considered to have less severe side effects than interferons, but these drugs have only been shown to be effective in about 25% of patients. Functionally, they act as “sacrificial myelin” during MS flare-ups, in which synthetically-produced amino acids take the brunt of the immune response, rather than the myelin protective coatings of the nerve fibers themselves.
When all’s said and done, MS sufferers could likely care less what kind of treatment they take, or where it comes from – the only thing that matters to them is whether or not the medication is effective, and to what extent it allows them to live a normal life. Ultimately, those who seek alternative treatments like CBD oil generally do so for one of the following reasons:
- Their prescription meds are ineffective
- They produce too many or too severe of side effects
- They’re too expensive.
As it turns out, CBD can be a phenomenal alternative with the potential to negate all three of these factors.
CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis: Is it the Real Deal?
What’s so impossibly frustrating about the lack of attention and research CBD gets as a viable multiple sclerosis treatment is the fact that, like we said, the U.S. government holds a patent on the drug for its medically-proven ability to limit neurological damage.
This simple fact can be considered in one of two ways: on the one hand, the notion that the cannabinoid is recognized by the National Institute of Health as a neuroprotectant is virtually a signed, sealed, and delivered acknowledgment of its ability to treat multiple sclerosis.
On the other, more sinister hand, the fact that the drug is owned by the federal government means it’s highly unlikely it’ll ever get into the hands of Big Pharma. Superficially this might seem like a really good thing, but at the end of the day all it means is that ‘conventional’ physicians and medical professionals will never recognize it as a truly viable multiple sclerosis treatment. Rather, they’ll continue to push the risky, insanely expensive pharmaceutical drugs which are backed by FDA research and regulations.
At the end of the day, due to its all-powerful financial hand, Big Pharma will have the final say in terms of what’s going to be available in terms of treatment, and what’s not. The fact that CBD oil for multiple sclerosis has proven to be one of the most efficient and overall productive forms of medications for the disease is irrelevant – if it’s not financially viable for the drug manufacturers, you’re not going to see the majority of physicians prescribing it. (And of course, there’s nothing financially viable about a 100% natural plant that you can grow in your own home).
Final Word: Best CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis
One thing we didn’t necessarily clarify is how differently CBD functions, from a physiological perspective, than THC.
THC, of course, is the archetypal marijuana component; it’s what’s responsible for getting us high, and is what has been the driving force behind generations of legal condemnation and lazy stoner typecasts.
CBD, on the other hand, has none of these psychoactive properties – it won’t get you any more ‘high’ than a tablet of ibuprofen will.
Rather, the molecule functions as an “endocannabinoid supplement”; that is to say, our bodies are chock-full of 100% natural cannabinoid receptors that work hand-in-hand with 100% naturally endocannabinoids – if there is an absence or deficiency in the production of these endocannabinoids, the receptors will not be able to function properly. And it just so happens that the central nervous system is the region of the body that’s most densely populated with cannabinoid receptors – the same region where multiple sclerosis attacks nerve fibers.
Could, then, multiple sclerosis potentially be a disease hinged on a basic endocannabinoid deficiency? While no one can answer that question without years of continued research, all of the anecdotal evidence is seemingly suggesting that an uncanny relationship might exist between the two components.
For the time being, at least, it seems multiple sclerosis sufferers will continue to have to rely on self-treatment methods, and, unless they live in a medically legalized state, will have to resort to “non-conventional” approaches in order to obtain alternative medications like CBD oil. The impossibly comical irony of the federal government owning a medically-viable patent to CBD, while maintaining a Federal I status on the plant that it comes from, is a discussion that will have to wait for another time and another place.
Whatever means an MS sufferer might have to go to in order to receive treatment and receive the parts of their life back that the disease took from them, though, is a decidedly small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.
Our Top Picks: 5 Best CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis
As it turns out, not all CBD oils are exactly the same; while they all of course rely on cannabidiol as the active component, some specific tinctures have proven far more effective at treating symptoms stemming from MS than have others. While a full spectrum CBD oil is thought to be the best treatment, these oils are often not available nationwide. With that said, there are a few companies that seem to be helping with various symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. It’s important to understand that while they will not cure MS, they may provide a certain level of relief. Without further ado, after weighing in on hordes of consumer feedback and literally thousands of patient reviews, here’s our compiled list today’s top rated CBD oils.
- Full-spectrum Hemp extract
- No pesticides, solvents or chemical fertilizers
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Price Range ($48.00 – $139.00)
- Maximum potency and purity
- Compounded by a licensed pharmacist
- Highly concentrated extraction process
- Price Range ($26-$169)
- Over 5 Years Experience
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Organic hemp CO2 extract tincture
- Price Range ($62.00 – $204.00)
- CBDPure uses a chemical-free CO2 extraction process
- 3rd party laboratory tested
- Certified hemp grown in Colorado
- Price Range ($29.99 – $79.99)
- Full-Spectrum Extract (Made in USA)
- 100% Natural and Organic
- Contain no artificial flavors or preservatives
- Prices range ($48-$125)