Different groups of medical cannabis users will often claim that cannabis is particularly effective for their illness. But when it comes to Multiple Sclerosis (‘MS’), many patients feel that cannabis has a particularly valuable role to offer. It’s worth saying that not all MS sufferers are cannabis enthusiasts, but many are. MS patients that use cannabis frequently do so for 2 main reasons: pain reduction and relief from muscle spasms.
MS is a disease where the insulating layer is damaged around the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. This damage makes it more difficult for the nervous system to communicate, which produces a range of symptoms. This can include physical symptoms, but also mental and psychiatric difficulties for the patient. Eyesight and vision can be affected. Muscles can seem weak, movement and coordination can be difficult.
MS can present itself in several slightly different forms. New symptoms can occur in isolated attacks, this is called relapsing MS. Symptoms may also build up over time, this is known as progressive MS. In between the MS attacks, the patient can be completely free of symptoms, but permanent neurological problems may remain as the disease advances.
The specific cause of MS is not yet fully known. The problems are caused by damage to the immune system or the lack of function from the cells which produce the myelin insulating material. Whether this derives from environmental factors or an infection/virus isn't clear. But many MS patients from around the world best for find that cannabis is helpful.
When CBD-rich cannabis seed varieties first emerged, many MS patients reported that CBD-rich cannabis strains were somewhat superior to the traditional THC rich varieties. However, much depends on the individual MS patient. Many MS sufferers grow their own cannabis, especially where medical cannabis isn’t legally available. The main choice is whether to grow cannabis seeds rich in THC or rich in CBD. THC rich varieties often contain around 15% (or more) THC. These have a strong psychoactive effect. CBD rich varieties such as CBD Kush, CBD Skunk Haze or CBD Compassion usually have a 1:1 ratio of THC: CBD. These varieties are slightly less psychoactive than the THC rich varieties. Some MS patients report best results from THC rich varieties. Others report that CBD rich cannabis seed varieties are best for MS. The only way to find out is to sample some of each and compare the results.
Many MS patients prefer to grow their own supply of cannabis rather than rely to expensive dispensaries or unreliable black market sources. Even MS patients that live in countries with legal medical cannabis often prefer to grow their own cannabis seeds at home. This allows them to specify the precise variety which works for them. For some MS patients, an energising sativa does the job.
Others prefer a powerful indica variety with a strong body stone. Some prefer plenty of THC, others need a strong dose of CBD in their buds. Some people prefer to vaporise the buds, other MS patients prefer to make their own oils, oral sprays, and tinctures from their plants. Growing your own cannabis is a great way to make sure you get exactly the right type of medical cannabis for you. For many MS patients, growing their own medical cannabis is also a satisfying and rewarding hobby. Growing your own medical cannabis is also the cheapest way to provide your own medication.
Autoflower seeds are available as CBD rich varieties, such as CBD Auto White Widow or CBD Auto Compassion Lime. These varieties tend to produce buds with at least a 1:1 ratio of THC: CBD, but note that CBD can be present in high levels up to 4:1 CBD: THC. Autoflowering cannabis seeds take around 75 days to grow from seed to harvest with a 20/4 light schedule. This means 20 hours of daily light followed by 4 hours of darkness.
Of course, there are lots of great autoflower seed varieties that are rich in THC such as Auto Night Queen, Auto Cinderella Jack, Auto Orange Bud etc. One of the advantages of growing your own cannabis is the chance to fine tune the specific type of cannabis which works best for you.
As well as autoflower seeds, many Multiple Sclerosis patients grow their own medical cannabis from photoperiod feminized seeds. These cannabis seed varieties need a light schedule of 12/12 (12 hours of daily light followed by 12 hours of darkness) to start blooming. MS patients can choose between THC rich feminized seeds or CBD rich feminized seeds. Growing a mix of cannabis seeds rich in THC and CBD is often a good idea. This allows the patient to make side-by-side comparisons and determine which is the most useful and effective.
One other option for MS patients is to choose a cannabis seed variety which is ‘THC free’, such as CBD Charlotte’s Angel or CBD Auto Charlotte’s Angel. These Dutch Passion varieties contain under 1% THC and around 15% CBD. You can’t get high from these varieties, for some MS patients that are a useful e.g. for daytime consumption.
December 13th 2018
The two most significant benefits of cannabis for MS patients seems to be the ability to make the pain more manageable and the ability to reduce muscle stiffness/soreness. Other MS patients also report that cannabis gives a refreshing and uplifting mental boost. This removes some of the difficulty from the day and replaces it with a relaxed and happy state. And some MS patients feel that cannabis allows them to enjoy better quality sleep, especially if they take some just before bed. Medical cannabis may not suit all MS patients, but for some people, medical cannabis is a great help.