Primary Progressive MS: How CBD May Help Those Suffering From Multiple Sclerosis

Primary progressive MS (multiple sclerosis) can be a painful and debilitating disease. And while there is no cure, CBD can be used to manage the symptoms associated with it for a better quality of life.

Primary Progressive MS: The Highlights

  • Primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) is one of the rarer forms of MS, with only around 10 percent of MS developing into PPMS.
  • PPMS is characterized by a steady worsening of symptoms over time often without going into remission unlike relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive MS.
  • Spinal cord lesions and sometimes brain lesions are often an indication of PPMS along with immune system proteins in the spinal fluid and/or elevated levels of Immunoglobulin antibodies being present.
  • CBD can help to treat depression, improve cellular health, and alleviate the pain that is associated with PPMS.
  • Dosage varies from between two milliliters to 300 milliliters of CBD usually. Some people may need a higher dose as people respond differently.

What Is Primary Progressive MS?

Primary progressive MS (PPMS) is the type of multiple sclerosis that worsens over time, this can include remitting and relapsing or simply just steady progression. MS is a neurodegenerative autoimmune disease.

The strongest theory is that the body’s immune system goes into overdrive and causes the myelin sheaths that cover, protect, and speed up nerve signals to deteriorate (demyelination). This exposes the nerves and causes damage to nerve cells and the nerve axons.

Diagnosis of PPMS can be difficult.

Symptoms can include trouble walking, balance issues, and feeling stiff. When the disease progresses, symptoms worsen and can include:

  • trouble swallowing
  • bladder and bowel issues
  • problems with the eyes
  • impaired speech
  • fatigue
  • pain

A 2001 study published in the Journal of Neurology showed that PPMS sufferers are more like to suffer from autonomic dysfunction than remitting MS or secondary progressive MS sufferers.

the nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged by one's own immune system

This is due to the propensity for lesions to develop along the cervical spinal cord which accounts for the more severe symptoms developing in areas controlled by the autonomic nervous system (ANS) such as the bowel, bladder, and eyes.

Other forms of MS include:

  • secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS); Which is often progressed to after relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), the most common form
  • progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis (PRMS): This is rare, only around 10 percent of people develop PPMS.

Although MS is more common in women, PPMS affects both sexes equally.

The initial onset of either RRMS or PRMS is around age 30. The onset of PPMS is usually diagnosed between age 35 and 39.

Unlike the other forms of MS, there is very little inflammation involved in PPMS. Rather, spinal cord lesions and sometimes brain lesions (particularly in the corpus callosum where most of the white matter is) can develop.

This can be seen via an MRI scan.

Only around 5% of people with MS will show no abnormalities on the MRI. Along with lesions found on the MRI, the results of an oligoclonal band screen and testing positive for the presence of certain immune proteins will form part of the diagnostic criteria.

When an oligoclonal (IgG) band screen is performed, usually MS is indicated by the absence of two or more oligoclonal bands not being detected in the serum that usually accompanies inflammation of the central nervous system. About 95% of MS sufferers will have these abnormalities.

Disease progression in MS is rated with the EDSS score (Expanded Disability Status Scale).

It takes into account whether the patient can walk without aid or not, how the neurons in the brain are functioning, and the presence or absence of symptoms and their severity. It ranges from zero to ten ascending in severity.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD Oil formula over marijuana plants

CBD oil is CBD extract in oil form. CBD is short for cannabidiol oil which is a compound (or cannabinoid) in the cannabis sativa plant.

Many studies are showing that CBD has quite a few health benefits and may be helpful in treating inflammation-driven diseases, stress, anxiety, and oxidative stress which causes damage to cells.

Does CBD Oil Get You High?

CBD oil will not get you high. While it may have traces of the psychoactive THC, at most 0.3%, it is not enough to get a user high.

CBD oils that are full spectrum will have traces of the THC while CBD isolate will have no traces of THC. Either way, CBD oil will not get you high as long as it falls under the federal guidelines of having at most 0.3% THC.

The Endocannabinoid System And CBD

We all have an endocannabinoid system. Your body makes cannabinoids on its own and it has cannabinoid receptors all over.

CBD is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and interact with these receptors. Scientists have theorized that a lack of endocannabinoids may be why CBD is so beneficial. It may be helping to correct the deficiency in these helpful compounds.

How CBD Oil Can Help With PPMS

There are a couple of ways that CBD can help for PPMS, both the symptoms and even in some cases the cause of the symptoms.

But because CBD may interact with steroids, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), blood thinners, antidepressants, and antipsychotics due to the effect it has on the enzymes that process these drugs, it’s best to check with your doctor before stopping your medication or taking CBD while on any medication.

Pain Relief

Pain is very common in all MS sufferers during flare-ups. And with PPMS which is a progressive disease, the pain can get worse and worse over time.

A cross-sectional study showed that CBD may help to reduce pain either in combination with THC or by itself with or without the use of additional painkillers.

Alleviates Depression

Depression often goes hand in hand with PPMS, not just because of damage in the nerves, but also because chronic illness and pain have been associated with depression. CBD has been shown to have antidepressant properties in rats and mice, but results are promising for humans.

In human studies, CBD reduces anxiety and stress which are also common in those with MS and can lead to depression in the long term.

Improves Cellular Health

CBD has neuroprotective properties which are why some people with neurodegenerative diseases such as MS and Alzheimer’s Disease find CBD to be helpful.

Due to its high antioxidant content which combats oxidative stress, CBD is able to improve cellular health.

How To Use CBD Oil For PPMS

CBD Oil products

There are a wide variety of CBD products on the market to use for PPMS.

Finding The Right Delivery

When it comes to the method of delivery, there are differences in the time it takes for the CBD to work due to how the body processes it.

  • Inhalation: Vape products work almost immediately. The only downside to this is that it doesn’t stay in your system as long so it can wear off sooner than the other methods.
  • Sublingually: Taking CBD oil under your tongue will also work quite quickly, usually between five and 20 minutes, but you do need to keep the CBD oil under your tongue for at least 30 seconds to a minute for it to work properly.
  • Capsules and Edibles: CBD capsules and edibles (juice, biscuits, lozenges, gummies, etc) can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to take effect, but the effects will also last longer. Just watch out for the sugar content.
  • Topically: CBD lotions and creams can be rubbed into the affected area and take 30 minutes to two hours to work.

CBD Dosage For MS

Because people respond differently, you may need to adjust the dosage until you find what works with you. In some people, doses of two or three milliliters will work well, but others may need doses of 200 to 300 milliliters.

Start at a low dose and work your way up slowly if need be. Increasing the dosage too quickly can increase the risk of side effects. These are usually mild but can include nausea, fatigue, appetite changes, and anxiety.

There has never been an overdose reported in any of the studies or anecdotal evidence.

The Advantages Of Using CBD Oil For Primary Progressive MS

Finding out that you have MS can be frightening and life-altering. When it progresses from remitting MS to primary progressive MS, it’s even worse. But there is a natural way to manage symptoms with little to no adverse events.

Clinical trials have shown that CBD oil is safe, well tolerated, and has been proven scientifically and anecdotally to help reduce pain, depression, combat oxidative stress, and have neuroprotective properties.

[wp-post-author title=””]
Cheanne Lombard
 

Cheanné is a freelance writer and blogger. She writes primarily about nutrition, fitness, and mental health. She has diplomas in Personal Nutrition and Weight Loss from Shaw Academy and an Introductory Certificate in Exercise Science from the Health and Fitness Professionals Academy (HFPA). She is also a qualified group fitness instructor. When not writing, she enjoys jamming on her guitar, reading, eating good food, trips to the beach, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.