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Multiple Sclerosis & Marijuana

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease where the immune system injures the myelin sheath that surrounds nerves in the brain and spinal cord. In people with MS, signals can be damaged as they travel between nerves that control muscular movement. The signal damage can result in excessive stimulation, causing release of the neurotransmitter glutamate. Excessive release of glutamate can be toxic to nerve cells. In MS, this can result in symptoms such as muscle spasms and pain, visual impairment, tremors, loss of bladder control and weakness. The endocannabinoid system helps to regulate nerve transmission, so its is thought that the cannabinoids in cannabis can regulate the damaged nerve conduction system. These cannabinoids are also able to limit the progression of these diseases over time, by limiting the excessive glutamate release and reducing the neural damage. In a recent study at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, patients who were already on other medication for MS, were given THC cannabis or a placebo to smoke. The results showed that there was a significant reduction in spasticity in the cannabis group and pain was reduced by an average of 50% among patients. Sublingual cannabis has been seen as more effective than ingestion. There was also an improvement in smoking cannabis as well, as shown by the California Center study.

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