In November 2018, the Government legalised cannabis for medicinal use, but also put a strict criteria in place for who could access it. Only specialist doctors are allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis, and so far only a handful of people have benefited from the change in law.
Cannabis is made up of compounds called cannabinoids. The main ones studied for their therapeutic effect are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gets you ‘high’, and cannabidiol (CBD), which doesn’t.
There’s a medically approved cannabis-based treatment called Sativex, but it doesn’t work for everyone. In England and Wales you can get it on the NHS for ‘moderate’ to ‘severe’ spasticity (muscle spasms and stiffness). But you can have it only if other treatments haven’t worked. It’s not yet available in Scotland or Northern Ireland but we hope it soon will be.
One in five people with MS we surveyed in 2014 told us they’d used cannabis to help with their symptoms. They said it can help with muscle spasms or stiffness (spasticity) and pain.
Some people with MS use cannabis in a variety of ways to help ease their symptoms.
It comes in many forms. You can find CBD in:
Frontiers in Neurology: “Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis.”
How It May Help
Eating foods that are high in fat can cause your body to absorb more CBD. This can lead to side effects. It could react with other medications you’re taking, such as blood thinners. Be sure to talk to your doctor before trying any form of CBD.
The FDA hasn’t approved CBD to treat multiple sclerosis, or MS. Studies are ongoing, but the evidence is mixed. Here’s what we know.
National Institute on Drug Abuse: “What is marijuana?”