Today, the medical use of cannabis (CBD and THC) for chronic pain and spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis (or MS) is increasing. However, the evidence for the safety of this medical cannabis oil-based treatment is still limited at this time.
Relieving the symptoms of multiple sclerosis with CBD and THC
A recent observational study, available here, set out to analyze the safety of sublingual medical cannabis oils in patients with multiple sclerosis.
To conduct this study, 28 patients subject to multiple sclerosis underwent treatment with medical cannabis oils, which combined a high concentration of CBD and THC.
They were then followed for a period of one month: their first evaluation was held at the beginning of the treatment, and the second at the end of the 4 weeks following the treatment. For each of these visits, the patients underwent numerous examinations: neurological examination, walking tests, blood tests, dexterity tests…
Furthermore, the efficacy of therapeutic cannabis on pain, but also on spasticity and sleep disorders, was evaluated daily by the patients during the whole duration of their treatment.
The cannabis preparations used for this treatment contained 10-25 mg/ml THC.
How do CBD and THC affect MS?
During their second visit, the 28 MS patients were given the opportunity to express themselves on possible side effects related to CBD and THC intake. The most frequently reported side effects were dry mouth, but also drowsiness, dizziness, and mild to moderate nausea.
In this panel, however, two subjects experienced pronounced symptoms of dreaming and excessive sleepiness, which resulted in premature discontinuation of their treatment.
The average doses of THC and CBD administered to these MS patients were 4 mg and 7 mg. In most cases, they were administered only once a day, and rather in the evening.
At the end of the study, the researchers observed that pain decreased from a median NRS score of 7 to 4, that the median NRS score for spasticity decreased from 6 to 2.5, and that sleep disturbance decreased from a median NRS score of 7 to 3. There was no impairment of ambulation or dexterity.
We can therefore conclude that the THC and CBD-based treatment has proven to be safe, and that it has been mostly well tolerated by patients with multiple sclerosis. It has indeed relieved some symptoms specific to the disease, such as severe chronic pain, spasticity, and sleep disorders.