Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is found in both hemp and cannabis, and has many purported health benefits. Generally, those who use CBD do so in order to alleviate a variety of symptoms and improve their sense of well-being. However, while there are many areas where CBD could potentially help, there is much to CBD that has yet to be thoroughly examined. Therefore, if you were looking to use cannabidiol products to assist with symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), you probably have questions about the efficacy of it.
Know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve of CBD use for MS, but there are ongoing studies that show how CBD may be effective in the future.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that research is still trying to figure out . What is currently known is that the disease is aggressive, as the immune system begins attacking the central nervous system (CNS). The protective layers around the nerves in the CNS become scarred, leading to issues in communication between the body and brain. Scientists have yet to decide how MS is caused, but the general consensus is that environmental and genetic triggers are to blame.
Presently, around 2.3 million Americans have multiple sclerosis, with the majority of them between their 20s and 50s. These people suffer from a variety of symptoms that include involuntary muscle cramps, severe pain, vision issues, fatigue, and poor memory. Such MS go left untreated, it can result in paralysis.
What is CBD?
CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid, or organic compound, that is extracted from cannabis or hemp. Unlike THC, the psychoactive compound present in cannabis, CBD does not produce a high. In the body, CBD acts much like a neurotransmitter and binds with receptors throughout the endocannabinoid system. Upon binding, the CBD may inhibit certain reactions, such as those related to pain or anxiety.
On the market today, there are three distinct types of CBD available: CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD available. Other cannabinoids are removed. If you plan on purchasing CBD isolate, make sure the company has their certificate of analysis (COA) on their site. This ensures that the formula has been tested for any contaminants left behind from CBD extraction.
Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD have more than cannabidiol. If you want more cannabinoids without THC, opt for broad-spectrum. Full spectrum has a very small percentage of THC to assist with the “entourage effect,” or the potential of increased efficacy from the synergistic actions of THC and CBD. These products are usually legal in most states, but it is best to double check before making a purchase.
There is no telling yet whether the entourage effect exists or if it is beneficial for multiple sclerosis. Some studies suggest that the entourage effect is better for pain relief without side effects, but the results are still inconclusive .
What Does Research Say About CBD For Multiple Sclerosis?
Research is currently optimistic about the results of studies concerning CBD and multiple sclerosis. For many years now, scientists have been searching for ways to lessen the severity of MS symptoms for patients throughout the world. A 2009 study, for example, looked at MS patients utilizing medical cannabis for their symptoms . They wanted to see if it was CBD or THC responsible for the reduced spasticity. What the researchers found was that a combination of THC and CBD had a positive effect on the patients’ symptoms.
Studies on Sativex
Later, in 2014, a summary of literature was published on the oromucosal spray named Sativex was conducted to decide if it could assist with MS-related pain . The literature said that Sativex was a possible option for pain, urinary infrequency, and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.
Researchers continued looking at Sativex in 2016. Patients with MS utilized Sativex for one year and reported the results to the scientists . Since the data was self-reported, it may not be entirely accurate. However, participants saw improvement in muscle spasticity. About 28% of the patients had a 30% reduction in spasticity.
Another 39% of the participants had no noticeable results.
Sativex studies continued. Another study from 2018 found that Sativex improved the driving ability of people suffering from MS . This is thought to be influenced by a reduction of muscle spasticity. The research would have to be replicated with a larger group to see if this is indeed true. It has yet to be done.
Most Current Findings
Lastly, a second study from 2018 looked into past research to see if CBD had any effect on MS mobility . What the researchers concluded was that a 1:1 CBD to THC ratio may reduce inflammation and muscle spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, they hypothesized that less inflammation meant less fatigue, thereby improving mobility.
Although no more notable research has been published recently, there are two animal studies worth discussing. In 2021, two medical reviews using animal models found that CBD may regulate the immune system and reduce the response of autoimmune diseases, including MS . In other words, CBD may one day be used to impede the progression of severe autoimmune diseases like MS as well as alleviating symptoms. More studies have to be done to see if CBD is usable, but the potential seems to be there.
Are There Any Side Effects of Using CBD for Multiple Sclerosis?
With the possibility of CBD relieving aches and pains and reducing muscle spasms, it is no wonder that at least 20% of MS patients are currently using some form of CBD . For most purposes, CBD is considered safe, because it does not contain the same psychoactive properties as THC. It is recommended that you speak with a medical professional before beginning CBD, however, as there are some prescription medications known to interact with cannabidiol.
Additionally, remember that the FDA does not regulate CBD supplements of any kind. Be sure to procure CBD from a reputable source.
What is the Best CBD Product to Use for MS?
Being that CBD is unregulated by the FDA, you must look for three things in a CBD company: quality, transparency, and safety. The best products will:
- Be made with US-grown hemp
- Undergo third-party testing in an ISO 17025-compliant lab 
- Contain no more than 0.3% THC
- Pass analyses for heavy metals, molds, and pesticides
Furthermore, you can choose between oils and tinctures, capsules, edibles (and drinkables), lotions, and creams. Since MS often comes with muscle aches and pain, topical lotions and creams may be useful for soothing inflammation. For whole-body issues, edibles, oils, and tinctures may provide benefits. Edibles take longer to work than oils and tinctures, while oils and tinctures contain larger doses of CBD per serving.
CBD and MS: The Bottom Line
When it comes to CBD being used for multiple sclerosis, there is still much that is not yet known. Yet, studies continue to reveal the potential benefits of cannabidiol for symptoms of MS. Although more research is needed to prove the effectiveness of CBD, you can certainly try it for yourself. If you decide to use CBD to aid with multiple sclerosis symptoms, be sure to choose a reputable source, such as Sugar Bottom Hemp. Our products are organic, minimally processed, and tested in a third-party lab. We have a broad range of CBD products for people and pets.
Interested? Get in touch with us today to learn more about what we offer.
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