Using Medical Cannabis to Reduce Prescriptions
Last updated: March 2021
A while back, I spoke about how I went from being a skeptic to a true believer in the benefits of medical marijuana when it comes to multiple sclerosis. It’s been some five years since I first wrote about it and after reading the results on a new study, I thought it was time to broach the subject again!
A study about cannabis use among MS patients
This study, conducted on MS patients in the Connecticut Medical Marijuana Program, echoes the benefits I brought up years ago. Namely, that while not a cure, medical cannabis has proven to be extremely helpful in alleviating a number of MS symptoms.1 While helping with symptoms is fantastic, one of the best benefits is that it allows patients to come off many medications that they take for those symptoms.
Cannabis is NOT a cure
While some people espouse the use of medical cannabis as a cure, I am not one of them. I think the folks that push that actually do a grave disservice to the benefits that come from cannabis. If it were really a cure, trust me, you would know. There is no independent reviewed study that shows that it cures MS. If you are like me, anytime someone uses the “C” word, you immediately stop listening and relegate them to the group of people proclaiming everything from fad diets to bee sting therapy as cures. Unproven tactics that only have occasional anecdotal evidence and that almost certainly line someone’s pockets. Sometimes with book sales.
We do have studies though, like the one I am discussing here, that indicate that it is extremely beneficial in fighting some of the worst symptoms of MS. Patients in this study reported cannabis helping to alleviate mood disorders, insomnia, sensory symptoms (like pain), cramps, and spasms. Those are all areas where I have seen benefit from it as well, particularly with pain and spasms. While it doesn’t eliminate those issues for me, it makes them much more bearable.
Reducing the number of prescription medications
To me the key takeaway from this study, isn’t only the way it helps with symptoms, it’s that it helps enough to allow people to stop taking a lot of prescription medications. As mentioned in the study, “A significant proportion of respondents had stopped or reduced prescription medications (86% vs. 55%) as a function of finding cannabis more effective than prescription medications. These included opioids, benzodiazepines, muscle relaxers, and other pain medications.”1 Not only is that beneficial as far as costs go, but think of all the adverse reactions that can occur from some of those medications. All the possible side effects that can be eliminated. All of those potential pitfalls only increase as we mix medications together, too, so being able to reduce or even eliminate some of them is extremely valuable.
A few final words on medical marijuana
The use of cannabis is finally becoming more mainstream, lessening costs and making availability greater. As I have mentioned in the past, not all strains and delivery methods are the same. If you’ve tried it before and didn’t have a good experience, then you may simply need to try a new strain. If you don’t like smoking it, not to worry, there are many other delivery methods, from under the tongue tinctures to edibles. Bottom line, when it comes to medical marijuana, it’s important to leave any misconceptions you have at the door. Forget what you thought you knew, because the world of cannabis is ever-evolving. That’s a good thing for those with MS.
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