Cannabidiol (CBD) has become a popular ingredient in many health and wellness products to help reduce pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Although the compound comes from hemp plants, it does not cause the “high” associated with cannabis. That sensation comes from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Some people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience relief from their symptoms using CBD. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms vary from person to person, but motor and cognitive problems are among the most common.
“I tried CBD oil. It works great. It helps with everything, you guys,” a MyMSTeam member shared with the community. “I just wanted to shed a little light.”
Before trying CBD oil to help relieve your MS symptoms, it’s important to understand the potential benefits and risks. Also, you should speak with your doctor before trying new treatments, including CBD oil.
An estimated 66 percent of people with MS have used CBD oil to relieve their symptoms, including:
There’s limited clinical trial data about CBD oil’s therapeutic effects on people diagnosed with MS. However, experts believe that CBD may reduce symptoms in people with MS, increasing their mobility and decreasing their need for opioids, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants — which can cause unpleasant side effects.
Researchers still don’t know exactly how CBD oil works to improve MS symptoms. However, they believe the compound binds to endocannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). This, researchers believe, helps block the inflammation that causes neuronal damage in MS. CBD has several pharmacological and neuroprotective effects, including, importantly, anti-inflammatory properties.
Numerous countries outside the U.S. have approved a cannabis-based medication called nabiximols (Sativex), an oromucosal spray. It’s the first cannabis-based medicine to be licensed for reducing MS-related spasticity. Sativex has also been studied for effects on other MS symptoms including bladder symptoms, chronic pain, tremor, and sleep disturbance.
People who used CBD oil usually don’t experience any serious side effects. However, there are a few potential risks and side effects to be aware of, including:
Using CBD oil products can also be risky because the purity, dose, and consistency of the CBD can be unreliable. Research has found that more than a quarter of CBD oil products bought online contained less CBD than advertised, and several of them contained THC. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, some companies are marketing CBD products in a way that violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
If you do plan to use a CBD product to help relieve MS symptoms, consult your doctor first. CBD may interact with your prescription medications in unpredictable ways.
“My neuro doctor agreed with the studies. He said taking CBD oil is harmless, and a great thing to add to my regimen,” a MyMSTeam member shared.
There are three forms of CBD oil:
CBD products can be consumed in several different forms besides oil, each with its own strength and duration:
“I have CBD in cream form that I bought online, and it works great on pain areas,” a MyMSTeam member explained.
Experts expect the CBD market to grow to $2.15 billion this year, up from $292 million in 2016. As more CBD oil products become available, it can be difficult to know where to purchase high-quality merchandise. Consumer Reports has outlined specific considerations for buying CBD products online, at dispensaries, or at a retail store:
The legality of CBD products remains a gray area: Many states have taken legislative action to legalize all forms of cannabis products, while it remains illegal in other states.
The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized the cultivation and transportation of hemp products as long as they contain less than 0.3 percent of THC. However, individual states still have the final say over whether the products can be grown and sold within state lines. Check here to see if CBD is legal in your state.
MyMSTeam is the social network for people living with MS and their loved ones. More than 188,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with MS.
Have you used CBD oil for symptom relief? What were your results? Share your experience in the comments below or by posting on MyMSTeam. Your story may help others figure out if CBD is right for them.