One of the main symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) involves painful muscle rigidity and spasms, called spasticity. This is also a symptom in ALS, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injury (see our article on ALS). If left the pain, muscle spasms and other symptoms are left untreated, this can lead to patients experiencing depression. The cause is unknown of this autoimmune and inflammatory disorder, which results in the degeneration of nerve fibers of the brain and is relatively common in developed countries in the West. Symptoms carry a wide range from mild to severely disabling in people, and for many years MS sufferers have claimed that they receive significant benefit from using cannabis (see our article on autoimmune disorders), though the results can vary from subtle to dramatic.
In just the last few years, science has finally grasped an understanding of the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in controlling for and adjusting the neural signaling in the nervous system that controls spasticity and its underlying conditions. A variety of cannabis-based medicines have been approved for use in a number of countries and states for the treatment of spasticity and the pain associated with MS, including a pharmaceutical called Sativex, which is a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio mouth spray. The good news is that Sativex is derived from the cannabis plant itself, and is not made up of any synthetic cannabinoids.
One of the benefits of cannabinoid activity for multiple sclerosis is actually “supported by both the biology of the disease and the biology of the cannabis plant and the endocannabinoid system,” according to the authors of a study from 2012. Research has revealed that, “MS impairs neurotransmission, and this is controlled by cannabinoid receptors and endogenous cannabinoid ligands. [Cannabinoids] can limit spasticity and may also influence the processes that drive the accumulation of progressive disability.” 
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex molecular system of physiology responsible for maintaining the healthy balance and order of all major bodily systems. Its primary role is to alleviate the stresses placed upon the body, by both suppressing and lending a boosting hand when you are under stress, physically, emotionally, or psychologically. When the stress remains constant, and the demands are too high, the ECS can become overwhelmed, leading to chronic states of dysfunction, where other bodily systems start to show signs of disorder; which we then label these disorders as multiple sclerosis, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, ALS, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions of autoimmunity, or underimmunity (in the case of cancer).
This is why we see such powerful responsive results when working with cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. These agents interact with and support in relieving the ECS so that it can regain a grip on the stresses, and go to work on doing its job; to maintain homeostasis within the body. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are known for their potent analgesic effects (as pain killers), because they work directly with and through the ECS. If we want to experience optimal health and balance across all areas of our physical, emotional and psychological states, we need to ensure the ECS is well nourished and supported. We do this, with cannabinoids. For more information, read our article The ECS Explained.
It is recommended that those wishing to utilize CBD or medical marijuana (not the same as recreational "weed") do so under the guidance of a physician experienced in working with these compounds so the dosage and delivery method may be fine tuned based on the individual. In saying that, highly aware and educated persons may become their own informed health consultants. Keeping in mind, the information contained in this article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice. Prior to making any changes to your lifestyle or treatment plan, always consult with a licenced medical professional.
CBD products with a ratio of 20:1 or higher, given as capsules, edibles or drops, can be extremely effective in alleviating pain, especially the inflammatory type. Most recommend finding the ideal dosage is critical to managing the symptoms of MS with cannabidiol. Other cannabinoids with low psychoactivity are also powerful in relieving pain, such as CBG, CBC, THCA, and THCV. Chemotypes that are higher in the terpenes beta-caryophyllene, linalool, and myrcene can provide even more pain relief along with actually increasing the effectiveness of other cannabinoids for analgesia (for more on this, see our article covering the Entourage Effect).
The Cannabis strains AC/DC, Valentine X, and other high-CBD strains are used for MS-related pain. When the pain is higher on some days, ratios of 4:1 CBD:THC can help control the pain without significant psychoactive effects.
When it comes to managing spasticity, cannabis strains with a higher ratio of THC are sometimes recommended to better manage symptoms. For the most part, when it comes to pain, especially for in the evening and nighttime, strains that lean toward broad-leaf indica are more advantageous for their sedative effects (as opposed to sativa). Someone without prior experience of THC should use caution and titrate slowly up from a micro dose to test for sensitivity, before consuming higher doses. The standard to macro dose is typically the level utilized in the management of multiple sclerosis symptoms.
When it comes to immediate relief, smoking or vaporizing is the general go-to, because the effect is instant and lasts one to three hours. Whereas, in the case of ingestible products, these can take thirty to sixty minutes before taking effect, and last six to eight hours. Vaporizers using a CO2 concentrate are very valuable, and are available in various ratios of CBD to THC. Herbal vaporizers that use the whole plant are another great delivery method. Tinctures or sublingual sprays consumed as liquid drops act faster and last longer than inhaled products.
The Cannabis Health Index is a scoring system based on the best available evidence in the medical literature. Cannabis rates in the likely-probable of efficacy for the treatment of MS.
In a study from 1997, completed in the United Kingdom, researchers found that 30 percent of MS sufferers reported relief from symptoms such as chronic pain, spasticity, and memory loss.
GW Pharmaceuticals, responsible for developing the 1:1 THC to CBD pharmaceutical called Sativex, have completed several human clinical trials, which found the product to be effective,   and it has subsequently been approved for the treatment of MS symptoms in many countries including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and at least thirty more. 
CBD is found to be effective in all diseases involving basal ganglia and mitochondrial portions of the brain and has a neuroprotective effect that can increase neuron cell survival. But it’s not just CBD that can assist with ALS, other cannabinoids such as the anticonvulsant cannabinol (CBN), antiinflammatory and analgesic (pain killing) cannabichromene (CBC) that promotes brain growth, anti-inflammatory tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), and the analgesic cannabicyclol (CBL) can all be of value. For references and more information, read our article on ALS here.
If you managed to find this article of value, see our previous post on Multiple Sclerosis for more.
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