The main difference between CBD from hemp and medical marijuana is the aforementioned THC content.
However, some areas where CBD could potentially help, are yet to be thoroughly examined.
If you’re considering trying CBD oil for your MS symptoms, it is available in the form of oil drops, tinctures, sprays, capsules, and edibles, which can be ingested, as well as vape products and creams for topical use.
CBD oil from hemp is legal in all 50 states. You can find it in cannabis dispensaries, head shops, and online stores. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription to try CBD oil for multiple sclerosis.
A less common form of MS, primary-progressive multiple sclerosis affects about 10% of all MS patients.
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.
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.
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. As of late 2019 it’s not yet available in Scotland or Northern Ireland but we hope it soon will be.
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.
Some people with MS use cannabis in a variety of ways to help ease their symptoms.
✔️ If you start the diary a week or two before trying CBD oil, this will give you a baseline.
If you’re interested to see whether CBD oil may help alleviate your MS symptoms, it is available in the form of tinctures, sprays and gummy sweets, which can be ingested, as well as e-liquid for vape pens and creams for topical application. However, before trying, it’s important to consult your doctor.
‘It would be sensible to discuss your decision to try CBD oil with your GP, MS nurse or neurologist,’ advises Sykes. ‘As for where to purchase, we’re not aware of any independent guide to the quality or otherwise of the CBD oil products that are available, although there are plenty of anecdotal reports of benefits and websites selling a wide range of products. A number of CBD oil producers are members of the Cannabis Trades Association UK.’
CBD oil and side effects
✔️ If it shows improvements, and cost and availability issues are not prohibitive, then you may choose to continue.
However, when it comes to MS, only cannabis products that contain both CBD and THC have been subjected to clinical studies, and only cannabis with a 1:1 ratio of CBD:THC (or greater) has been shown to reduce muscle spasticity and pain in people with MS.
Other studies have investigated different preparations of medicinal cannabis containing both CBD and THC, and have found that it may help to treat other symptoms of MS as well as spasticity, including reduced central pain and frequent urination.
CBD oil may also interact with common prescription medications, so it’s important you always seek the advice of your GP before giving it a go.