A new study, conducted at Tel Aviv University and published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, offers encouraging news for multiple sclerosis patients. Researchers found that cannabis compounds THC or CBD – non-psychoactive cannabidiol – inhibit immune cells from producing inflammatory molecules while also restraining those molecules from impairing the brain and spinal cord in mice.
MS is an inflammatory disease thought to be caused by the immune system, which damages the insulating covers of nerve cells, leading to a variety of painful and often incapacitating symptoms.
Lead researcher Dr. Ewa Kozela explained: "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."
Dr. Kozela's research team isolated paralyzed immune cells in mice and injected them with either THC or CBD. Both cannabinoids successfully lessened inflammatory molecules produced by those immune cells, including the particularly harmful molecule Interleukin 17. Further research must be conducted to determine the efficacy of these cannabis compounds on human MS patients, but the anecdotal evidence is already abundant that medical marijuana helps MS sufferers live with less pain.
Dr. Kozela summed it up succinctly: "When used wisely, cannabis has huge potential. We're just beginning to understand how it works."