Is Cannabis a Treatment for MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease of the central nervous system that can lead to issues with vision, gait and balance, muscle control, and other basic body functions. More than 400,000 people in the United States have MS, and about 200 new cases are diagnosed every week.  MS has no cure, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved several disease-modifying medications to treat relapse or slow disease progression. Many of these drugs have significant side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, and heart issues. As they look for alternative treatments, more people with MS are turning to medical cannabis as a natural solution. In states where medical cannabis is legal, MS is recognized universally as a qualifying condition. While clinical studies are made difficult due to cannabis’ classification as a Schedule 1 drug, observational studies and anecdotal reports demonstrate cannabis’ success at reducing MS symptoms. In fact, the American Association of Neurology reports that there is strong evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for the pain and spasticity caused by MS. Cannabis also has shown promise in helping patients with MS control bladder issues. As researchers continue efforts to better understand the scientific benefits of cannabis as it relates to MS, it is imperative that people with MS have access to the drug in accordance with state law.