Article by Tyler Koslow, Merry Jane
Medical cannabis has proven useful in treating a wide range of medical conditions, especially those that come paired with chronic pain and muscle spasticity, such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
Currently, around 400,000 Americans live with this physically detrimental autoimmune disease, which is caused by immune cells attacking a fatty substance called myelin that coats the axons of nerves and aids in the body’s electrical signaling. MS commonly causes symptoms that can include balance disorders, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, pain, and muscle spasticity.
While most traditional therapies fail to relieve these symptoms, cannabis has become a go-to medical alternative for those dealing with MS. According to the Rocky Mountain MS Center, one in 550 people living in Colorado suffers from multiple sclerosis, the highest proportion of MS patients in the US.
Although cannabis has proven itself to be a viable treatment for MS, all of the supporting evidence is strictly anecdotal. In order to learn more about medical marijuana’s impact on the autoimmune disease, the Integrative Neurophysiology Laboratory at Colorado State University has been studying MS patients who are already using cannabis as a treatment.
The ultimate goal of this research is to determine whether or not cannabis can safely and effectively treat the symptoms of MS. Unfortunately, due to federal regulations, the lab is only legally permitted to conduct observational studies, meaning that only patients who are already using cannabis can be studied.