Mary Webber & Her Journey to

A Better Life!

 
 

Treating Multiple Sclerosis With Medical Marijuana

Local Sparks resident, Mary Webber, writes an inspirational blog called "A Better Life," regarding her journey to wellness and her experiences treating her Multiple Sclerosis with Medical Marijuana. Having been diagnosed over 8 years ago, she has only recently come to feel the difference between standing on a carpet and a hardwood floor, feeling the skin between her fingers and toes, or, when putting her hair up, feeling her own ears. All of this, thanks to medical marijuana.

Approximately 350,000 Americans are currently living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a chronic, debilitating, degenerative and sometimes fatal disease, in which the body's own immune cells attack the central nervous system, resulting in a host of symptoms, including pain, muscular weakness and spasms, fatigue, tremor, incontinence and loss of motor coordination, as well as unstable mood and depression. According to the U.S. National Multiple Sclerosis Society, about 200 people are diagnosed with MS every week. It typically appears between the ages of 20 and 40, and is the most common neurological disease of young people, affecting both women and veterans at a higher incidence than the general population.

Current treatment for MS largely focuses only on treating symptoms of the disease as they appear, with combinations of medications that can often cause adverse or unwanted side effects. Frustrated patients often turn to alternative and holistic treatments, seeking a more natural and cost-effective remedy. There are numerous indications that Cannabinoids, one of the active ingredients in Medical Marijuana, may be a successful means of therapy for the many symptoms of MS and a promising treatment for controlling the diseases progression, as well.

Despite the myth that little research has been done on medical marijuana, numerous case studies, double-blind studies, and surveys have been done in the UK and Canada to determine the efficacy of cannabis in treating MS. A 2003 survey published in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences reported that 96 percent of MS patients state cannabis is therapeutically useful for treating their disease. A 2005 UK Survey of MS patients found that 43% already used Marijuana to treat their disease. Of those patients, the majority reported their chronic pain, spasms and depression were effectively mitigated.

Another study published in the Lancet journal compared results of 630 multiple sclerosis patients after approximately 4 months of treatment. The 57% of patients using a whole plant cannabis extract said their symptoms had eased.

By studying mice, researchers have discovered the role of CB1 and CB2, our cannabinoid receptors, in regulating CNS autoimmune inflammation and other factors that contribute to MS symptoms. Studies suggest that cannabis may slow the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability for MS patients. In 2012, Spanish researchers documented that "the treatment of EAE mice with the cannabinoid agonist WIN55,512-2 reduced their neurological disability and the progression of the disease."

These studies of both animal models and patients have greatly expanded our understanding of MS and cannbinoid biology. Current and emerging research suggests that Medical Marijuana has the potential to effectively treat MS symptoms and may alos slow the progression of the disease.

So what does this mean to patients today? The bottom line is that the treatment of MS with Medical Marijuana is still new, largely trail-and-error, and requires patience and the help of cannabis experts. The good news is that it is now available to those who have decided, in consult with a physician, that it is a good option for them.

Mary Webber spent over seven years gradually losing 70% of the feeling in her feet, hands and other areas of her body, and temporarily losing much of the sight from her right eye. She was dealing with heavy medication, a weekly epidural regimen, and spasticity that was severely impeding her way of life. At the end of her rope, with traditional medicine helping very little she, through trail and error with help form Sierra Wellness Connection, found a strain of Medical Marijuana that addressed her symptom significantly. In the days following, as she continued to use that strain, her feet woke up even more. After about two months her numbness has been significantly reduced, she can walk and move better with less pain, and she's been able to stop the epidurals, as well as most other prescribe medications, which she credits for her being able to think clearly again. Her blog, bright smile, and positive attitude are an inspiration to others, and she is now a patient advocate for cannabis therapy.

Medical Marijuana has given Mary the ability to achieve something we all strive for and deserve, the pursuit of happiness and "A Better Life!"

 

REFERENCES

  1. Wallin M, et al. (2012) The Gulf War era multiple sclerosis cohort: age and incidence rates by race, sex and service. Brain 135 (6): 1778-1785.
  2. Chong MS et al (2006). Cannabis use in patients with multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler Sept 2006 vol. 12 no. 5 646-651.
  3. Page SA et al (2003). Cannabis use as described by people with multiple sclerosis. Can J Neurol. Sci.; 30: 201-205
  4. Killestein J, Polman CH. (2003). Cannabis Use in Multiple Sclerosis: Excited Interest. Can. J. Neurol. Sci.; 181-182
  5. Zajicek J et al (2003). Cannabinoids for treatment of spasticity and other symptoms related to multiple sclerosis (CAMS study): multicentre randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet, Nov 8;362(9395):1517-26.
  6. Achiron A et al (2000). Dexanabinol (HU-211) effect on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis: implications for the treatment of acute relapses of multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 102:26-31.
  7. Pryce G et al (2003). Cannabinoids inhibit neurodegeneration in models of multiple sclerosis. Brain, Jul 22.

Please see a full list of references for this article online at www.hbmag.com