Cannabis has been wildly successful in treating symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis but the “how” and the “why” remain a mystery until uncovered by scientific studies. Enter then, the group of scientists from the University of Manitoba who are looking into the use of medical marijuana to control pain in people living with Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative autoimmune disease affecting the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve, and the symptoms are varied and unique to each patient. The immune system of an MS patient begins to see neurons (the nerve cells of the nervous symptom), as harmful invaders. The body’s immune cells start to attack neurons, which can produce all kinds of chaos internally, like a buildup of scar tissue, and neurons that can no longer communicate by firing signals to the rest of the body. Besides the obvious pain of MS, cannabis could also help with other symptoms associated with MS, including gastrointestinal distress, muscle spasms, and even paralysis.
The neuroimmunology team, led by Dr. Michael Namaka, is watching the usefulness of two types of cannabis oil extracts, provided by CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. They will be providing two CanniMed® Oil products, CanniMed® 10:10 and CanniMed® 1:20. The first one will be used to identify whether THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) together have the greatest impact on MS-related neuropathic pain, or whether CBD alone works (without the psychoactive effects of THC).
Namaka says this is the “first pre-clinical scientific validation to identifying the direct molecular mechanisms of action of herbal medical cannabis oils and their direct potential impact on neuropathic pain for MS patients.” The study will be used to discover information about the cannabis for MS treatment that are currently unknown:
1. The most efficient ratio of THC and CBD
2. Which form of ingestion (smoking or eating, for instance) is best 3. How often people with MS should use cannabis products.
The project is backed by CanniMed Therapeutics Inc., a Canadian licensed producer of medical marijuana, who have invested $80,000 in the University of Manitoba research.