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Marijuana for MS: Pros and Cons

August 5, 2015

There are many mixed assumptions in the case of whether medical marijuana is entirely effective for multiple sclerosis patients—though this does not go to say that is does not have any benefit for patients.

Cannabinoids — the primary ingredient marijuana is made up of — have been found to significantly reduce pain in MS patients. The cannabinoids have also demonstrated to aid in managing other symptoms such as spasms, spasticity, sleep and bowel and bladder dysfunctions.

The benefits of marijuana may also include protecting nerves from the damage in which occurs during the disease. They have come close to studying this through animal studies and reports of users decreased MS symptoms. While more studies must be conducted to determine such things, studies have suggested that the drug is effective in subsiding major symptoms like pain and spasticity.

When using a drug like marijuana for chronic illness it is important to be especially careful because it can certainly lead to a development of tolerance. Inhaling cannabis cigarette smoke also creates risk for side effects in the respiratory system as well as has the potential to cause lung cancer.

The side effects of the drug include dizziness and clouded thinking which could worsen cognition in MS patients. A 2011 study also looked at how patients that regularly smoked marijuana compared to those who did not. The study showed worsened performances for those that used the drug when it comes to processing information, memory, and other thought related functions.

While many patients have reported positively, it is wise to be cautious when using cannabis as a treatment. There is potential for long-term adverse side effects of the drug although it is still considered ‘low-risk’. This is said in comparison to other drugs prescribed for muscle spasticity and tremors that result in harmful side effects. 

Marijuana for MS: Pros and Cons - Wed August 05, 2015 11:26 AM