“I have found the side effect profile of these products to be less than some of the prescription medications,” he added. “CBD/THC products tend to be far less sedating than Baclofen or Tizanidine, which are [muscle relaxants] traditionally used for spasticity,” he added.
Researchers also concluded that THC/CBD solutions are well tolerated by patients and that the experienced side effects didn’t always stem from using cannabis alone.
“Many of our MS patients have used hemp-based CBD products with 0.3 percent THC or less (…) For the management of spasticity/spasms or burning pain (central neuropathic pain), I have found that most patients need higher THC concentrations.”
What Are the Side Effects of Using CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis?
Each of the analyzed papers focused on testing THC and CBD in capsules and oral sprays. These products generally involved more THC than CBD, which resulted in a trend of reduced spasticity.
CBD is a cannabinoid — a naturally occurring phytochemical — and the second-most recognized active ingredient of cannabis.
The main difference between CBD from hemp and medical marijuana is the aforementioned THC content.
Most often, taking too much CBD oil results in a dry mouth, lowered blood pressure, and dizziness. In very rare cases, high doses of CBD oil can trigger diarrhea.
There’s a medically approved cannabis-based treatment called Sativex, but it doesn’t work for everyone. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland it’s approved for use on the NHS for ‘moderate’ to ‘severe’ spasticity (muscle spasms and stiffness). But you can have it only if other treatments haven’t worked. It’s not yet approved in Scotland but we hope it soon will be.
In November 2018, the UK government legalised cannabis for medicinal use, but also put a strict criteria in place for who could access it. Only specialist doctors are allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis, and so far only a handful of people have benefited from the change in law.
Cannabis is made up of compounds called cannabinoids. The main ones studied for their therapeutic effect are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gets you ‘high’, and cannabidiol (CBD), which doesn’t.
One in five people with multiple sclerosis (MS) surveyed in 2014 told us they’d used cannabis to help with their symptoms. They said it can help with muscle spasms or stiffness (spasticity) and pain.
Some people with MS use cannabis in a variety of ways to help ease their symptoms.
MS Trust: “Sativex (nabiximols).”
Harvard Medical School: “Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t.”
Possible side effects may include:
What to Watch For
National Institute on Drug Abuse: “What is marijuana?”
CBD oil is a common way to take it. You can put it under your tongue or add it to your food or drinks. You can also put it on your skin. Some research found sprays you put under your tongue might be best for MS.
CBD is considered a dietary supplement. The FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, so there’s no way to know if what you’re getting is safe and effective. Studies show many CBD products aren’t as pure as the label says. Some have less CBD. Others may have some THC in them.
Frontiers in Neurology: “Cannabidiol to Improve Mobility in People with Multiple Sclerosis.”