3 posts tagged “MS symptoms”

Marijuana and MS: Get the scoop

Posted October 23rd, 2017 by

From legality to availability, recreational use and potential use as treatment, marijuana is a hot topic. In the MS forum, members are talking about marijuana and its potential to relieve symptoms of MS like pain, tremor and spasticity. We wanted to know more, so we asked our Health Data Integrity team to take a look at this topic. So, what is marijuana and how can it impact health and MS? Take a look.

First, a quick refresher: What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a mixture of dried flowers from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plants. The marijuana plant contains over 85 cannabinoids that are found in the leaves and buds of the female plant. Cannabinoids are classified as:

  • Phytocannabinoids: found in leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds of the plant.
  • Endogenous: made by the human body.
  • Purified: naturally occurring and purified from plant sources.
  • Synthetic: synthesized in a lab.

Cannabinoids create different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. These chemical compounds are responsible for marijuana’s effects on the body with the most common being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Different strains with different combinations and levels of the various cannabinoids along with different methods of consumption give users varied effects.

How does marijuana impact MS?

Despite currently available FDA-approved treatments, many patients with MS still have symptoms. Recent studies suggest treatment with smoked cannabis and oral cannabis extract may improve patient perception of pain and spasticity.

The American Academy of Neurology, conducted a literature review and released a guideline on the use of marijuana in MS patients. This guideline reviews a number of studies where marijuana is used for MS and the findings of this review include:

  • Oral cannabis extract and synthetic THC may be effective for reducing patient-reported symptoms of spasticity and pain, but not bladder symptoms and neuropathic pain.
  • Nabiximols (Sativex®), an oromucosal spray, may be effective in reducing patient-reported spasticity, pain, and urinary frequency, but not urinary incontinence, anxiety symptoms, sleep problems, cognitive symptoms, or fatigue. However, it is important to note that this agent is not currently approved for use in the US.
  • There isn’t enough evidence to fully determine the safety or effectiveness of smoked marijuana in treating any MS symptoms.

If you are interested in reading more studies involving the use of marijuana in MS patients, check out these resources:

  • Long term effects of Sativex® on cognition (click here for more information)
  • Smoked cannabis for spasticity (click here for more information)
  • Dronabinol and pain (click here for more information)

So, what is the takeaway?

While preliminary research shows that marijuana may improve symptoms in patients with MS, more extensive clinical trials are in progress to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and dose of cannabis for patients with MS.

One of these studies is currently recruiting participants to investigate the effects of medical marijuana usage on physical functions on MS patients. To find out if you qualify and the location of the study, click here for more information.

Long-term safety of marijuana use for symptom management for patients with MS is not fully known. So, patients should be aware of the pros and cons of this treatment option and discuss the use of medical marijuana with their healthcare provider. While there are benefits that marijuana may provide for patients, there are many side effects that may limit the use of this therapy.

Most common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory disturbance
  • Changes in mood

Source: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana

Want to know more?

Sources:

https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/http://www.neurology.org/content/82/12/1083.full.pdf+htmlhttps://www.leafly.com/news/health/how-marijuana-affects-the-brainhttps://www.nationalmssociety.org/Treating-MS/Complementary-Alternative-Medicines/Marijuanahttps://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana/nih-research-marijuana-cannabinoids

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What Do You Know About Multiple Sclerosis?

Posted March 1st, 2012 by

The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Has Been Sponsoring MS Education and Awareness Month Since 2003

March is National MS Education and Awareness Month (NMEAM), an initiative of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (MSF) to raise awareness for this chronic neurological disease affecting the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

This year’s theme is “At Your Best with MS,” encouraging the more than 2.5 million people with MS worldwide to seek the best quality of life possible.  This means different things to different people as MS varies widely in severity, with approximately 15% of those diagnosed becoming severely disabled.  It could include adhering to a treatment regimen, eating healthy, keeping fit, developing a support network and/or maintaining good emotional health.

It could also refer to nurturing hobbies and interests.  That’s why the MSF has launched the “Show Us Your Best” contest, which calls for creative submissions (such as poems, essays, photo collages, videos, songs and more) demonstrating how people are raising awareness of MS.  The deadline for entry is March 31st, and the grand prize winner will win a cruise for two on MSF’s 2013 “Cruise for a Cause” to Alaska.

A Snapshot of the MS Community at PatientsLikeMe - and Its Age/Gender Breakdowns

With 26,000+ members, the MS community at PatientsLikeMe is one of our largest.  Approximately 80% of the MS community is female (reflecting the fact that MS is at least 2-3 times more common in women than men), and slightly more than half have the relapsing-remitting form of the disease (RRMS).  We also have 1,400+ patients with primary progressive MS (PPMS), 2,200+ with secondary progressive MS (SPMS) and 580+ with progressive relapsing MS (PRMS).

Some of the most commonly reported MS symptoms in our community include bladder problems, brain fog, excessive daytime sleepiness and stiffness/spasticity.  What are our members taking for these issues – as well as for MS itself?  From disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) like Copaxone, Avonex and Tysabri to steroids like Prednisone to symptom-specific medications like Baclofen and Modafinil, our members have submitted hundreds of evaluations for nearly all available treatment options.  (Click on each drug name above to find out how they rate the effectiveness, side effects, cost and more.)

A Snapshot of Some of the Most Commonly Reported MS Symptoms - and Their Severity - at PatientsLikeMe

Our members are not only sharing their experiences with treatments and symptoms on their PatientsLikeMe profiles – they’re also chatting about them.  A lot.  To date, the MS forum room has over 786,000 posts! Some of the most frequently used forum tags are CCSVI (“The Liberation Procedure”), Low Dose Naltexone (LDN), SSDI (Disability Insurance), Fatigue, “LimboLand” and Research.  (Click on each category to see what patients are saying about the topic.)

Piqued by all the knowledge found in our MS community?  This is just the the tip of the iceberg – and the kickoff of our MS coverage this month.  Stay tuned for more about what our MS members are sharing and learning during MS Awareness Week (March 10-17th), organized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS).