Editor’s note: “Need to Know” is a series inspired by common forum questions and comments from readers. Have a comment or question about MS? Visit our forum. This week’s question is inspired by the forum post “Need advice about CBD oil,” published on Nov. 1, 2018. Share your concerns, questions, or experiences in the comments below or at the original forum entry.
I’ve been doing a lot of garden work this spring, and that means exacerbations of MS symptoms — dizziness, the “MS hug,” and significant cramping and spasms in my fingers (from grasping) and feet (from contractures, a topic for another time).
All the up and down of weeding and planting means I’m usually sitting in bark dust, picking out splinters later while shaking off tunnel vision, balance issues, and dizzy spells. Luckily, the gardening bench I ordered arrived today to take on the problem of dizziness.
What are CBD topicals?
CBD topicals consist of creams, gels, and ointments that feature cannabinoid oil products.
Cannabinoid refers to more than 100 chemical compounds secreted by the flowers of the marijuana plant. The two most prominently identified in connection with pain relief are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
- THC is considered a psychoactive compound thought to increase neurological risk in those with MS.
- CBD is thought to hold “greater therapeutic potential” because it doesn’t cause the sensation of being “high,” though it has its own set of side effects, as Multiple Sclerosis News Today reported.
I’m not interested in ingesting, smoking, or vaping CBD for pain relief. However, I’ve found topicals to be a safe and mostly pleasant delivery system for dealing with MS spasticity. I use topicals on my wrists, fingers, toes, and feet. These combined compounds seem to reduce my neurological pain and spasms without psychoactive side effects.
How do CBD topicals work?
Simply rub a small amount into your skin to alleviate pain from MS cramping and spasticity. The skin absorbs it quickly. According to the National MS Society (NMSS), these CBD compounds then bind to receptors in the skin that respond by dampening neurological pain signals to and from the brain. All of this happens without any effect on psychological function.
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