From insomnia to arthritis, more and more people are turning to cannabis to help with their medical conditions. Unfortunately, in many cases there hasn’t been enough research to support the actual benefits of cannabis, prove what compounds in cannabis are aiding people, recommend proper dosages, or even discover what ailments cannabis can help.

Following legalization, more people are beginning to research the medical benefits of cannabis. The MS Society of Canada has stepped in and is now taking steps to help provide more research on cannabis and its possible effects for people with multiple sclerosis.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. This means it can affect nerves in the brain, spinal chord, and optic nerve. The damage to the nervous system can range from mild to severe, which affects the symptoms of the disease. According to the MS Society of Canada, “MS is unpredictable and can cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes.”

Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, with 11 Canadians being diagnosed daily. There is currently no known cure for MS. However, research is now being undertaken to see if cannabis could be used for treating the disease.

Cannabis as a Treatment Option

After the legalization of medical marijuana, more people began using cannabis as a way to treat various illnesses. But because cannabis was still largely illegal in other countries or without a prescription, many people and companies were hesitant to help fund or participate in cannabis-related research. As a result, there are still a lot of unknowns about using cannabis as a treatment option.

The main problem with using cannabis as a treatment for medical conditions is that there’s no evidence showing the long-term or even short-term effects on patients. We aren’t aware what the possible health and safety effects are, let alone what the potential behavioural, social, and mental effects could be. Now that cannabis is legal however, more companies are willing to research cannabis as a treatment option for various illnesses.

MS Society of Canada Invests $1.5 Million in Research

The MS Society of Canada announced on March 21stthat they will be putting $1.5 million toward funding research on using cannabis to treat MS as part of an Integrated Cannabis Research Strategy (ICRS). Specifically, they’ll be looking at using cannabis to help treat the symptoms of MS, as well as its overall effect on people affected by the disease. The money will be used over 5 years and will help fund basic science, clinical, health services, and policy research.

Dr. Pamela Valentine, President and CEO of the MS Society of Canada has stated: “The MS Society is pleased to invest in this first-of-its-kind funding opportunity in Canadian MS research. As an organization we have a mandate to provide information that’s rooted in evidence-based research. Cannabis is still a relatively unknown substance from the perspective of evidence-based research, so investing in research on cannabis use is an important first step for determining its applicability and efficacy towards managing MS.”

Other agencies partnering for this research include the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health (ICRH), Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH), Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (IIPH), Institute of Muscoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA), and the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health, and Addiction (INMHA). Also involved are the Arthritis Society, Canadian Cancer Society, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC).

With this research, we can hopefully discover how cannabis helps people suffering from different illnesses and its potential benefits. To learn more about MS and what research the MS Society of Canada is funding, check out their website.