While marijuana has been shown to relieve symptoms of multiple sclerosis, scientists are finding that it may even protect the nervous system from further damage.
In a new study, researchers from Israel’s Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science found that CBD and THC helped reverse MS-like diseases in mice by preventing inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Their results were published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.
Study co-author Dr. Ewa Kozela explained how inflammation affects MS in a recent press release.
Inflammation is part of the body’s natural immune response, but in cases like MS it gets out of hand. Our study looks at how compounds isolated from marijuana can be used to regulate inflammation to protect the nervous system and its functions.
The researchers conducted experiments on immune cells isolated from paralyzed mice and found that CBD and THC could inhibit inflammatory responses by acting directly on immune cells. Scientists in the U.S. have achieved similar results using synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana.
In many countries, marijuana-based treatments, such as Sativex, are already been prescribed to manage symptoms like pain and spasticity (muscle stiffness). However, recent studies seem to indicate that cannabis may even slow the disorder itself.
Though more research needs to be done in humans, Dr. Kozela believes cannabis has significant promise.
When used wisely, cannabis has huge potential. We’re just beginning to understand how it works.
Israel is one of a growing number of countries that have legalized medical marijuana and has conducted extensive research on the medicine. Approximately 12,000 patients have a license to use medical marijuana in the country.