Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system. This condition often affects the brain and spinal cord. In people with Multiple Sclerosis, the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers, thereby causing communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. As time goes on, this disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
The signs and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis vary depending on the severity of nerve damage as well as the nerves that are affected. This explains why some people with severe Multiple Sclerosis could lose their ability to walk independently or totally, while other patients could experience long periods of remission without new symptoms.
The most common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis include numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, tremor, lack of coordination and unsteady gait, electric shock sensations that occur with certain movements, vision problems, slurred speech, fatigue, problems with sexual, bowel and bladder functions, as well as tingling or pain in parts of the body.
The cause of Multiple Sclerosis is unknown, even though it is considered to be an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. In cases of Multiple Sclerosis, the immune system malfunctions, thereby destroying the fatty substance that coats and protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord (myelin). It is not also clear why Multiple Sclerosis develops in some people and not others, but researchers have opined that a combination of genetic and environmental factors are responsible for that.
The risk factors of Multiple Sclerosis include being a woman, having a family history of MS, being white, living in areas of temperate climate, smoking, low levels of Vitamin D, as well as certain autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease.
There is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis, but treatment can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms. That said, the treatment for Multiple Sclerosis attacks include plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) and corticosteroids. Oral treatments, medications as well as physical therapy can also go a long way to alleviate the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.
Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychoactive component of cannabis is known to be effective in the treatment of nervous conditions like Multiple Sclerosis. The findings from a new research from the Department of Pathology at the University Of South Carolina School Of Medicine, Columbia, revealed that CBD could inhibit Multiple Sclerosis like symptoms. It should be noted that this study was carried out on mice who were treated with either CBD or a control vehicle once the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis were observed. The progression of disease was tracked using clinical scores associated with different symptom expressions. The findings from this study made the researchers to conclude that CBD indeed has a clear effect on Multiple Sclerosis.
The authors of this study from the University Of South Carolina School Of Medicine, however, identified two previously unknown mechanisms through which CBD can act to curb the clinical effects of MS and MS-like conditions. The first is a direct positive influence on the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines and a similar negative influence on pro-inflammatory cytokines, whereas the second is through an indirect manipulation of anti-inflammatory myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) which inhibit the T cell induction that normally occurs in autoimmune disease.
Even though there is a need for further studies on humans, this particular study has suggested that CBD may constitute an excellent candidate for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.
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