According to the MS Society, 1 in 5 people with MS have used cannabis to help alleviate their symptoms. also reports that a huge 66% of MS patients use CBD.

With numbers that high, it’s reasonable to believe there might be something to this. But can you really use CBD oil for MS?

Many MS patients are prescribed opioids, anti-depressants, and benzodiazepines to manage the condition, all of which are well known to come with unpleasant side effects. However, a recent study showed that over three-quarters (77%) reduced their use of opioids since they started cannabis. Approximately two-thirds of patients also decreased their use of antianxiety (72%), migraine (67%), and sleep (65%) drugs following medical cannabis use.

Claims that the plant helps to reduce muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain are aligned with the solid scientific research available, which has led to the NHS prescribing cannabinoid-based medication, Sativex, to treat the condition since 2014. But this product, and cannabis, is different to store-bought CBD oil (which, although many people do use it therapeutically, is classed as a food supplement, not a medicine). While over-the-counter CBD oil can only legally contain minute levels of THC (Voyager oils are all THC-free), both Sativex and whole-plant cannabis contains this psychoactive molecule, which has been found to play a key role in managing pain and spasticity.

That being said, there’s a reason Sativex has been formulated to contain a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD – the CBD molecule may have a role to play too!

What Is MS?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a ‘progressive autoimmune-mediated neurodegenerative process of the central nervous system’. The progressive neurodegeneration leads to neuronal dysfunction and neurological symptoms, including:

• spasticity, painful spasms, weakness, fatigue
• ataxia, optic neuritis, dysphagia balance problems, incontinence

Does CBD Help With MS Symptoms

As with all things cannabis (and cannabinoids), the answer to this is very complex. However, one fairly ‘simple’ finding across multiple studies is that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) appears to be involved in the progression of MS, and the potential treatment.

As part of the endocannabinoid system, an enzyme is produced to break down the endocannabinoids once released. You may have seen this mentioned in our other blogs on CBD, as CBD inhibits this enzyme, resulting in higher levels of endocannabinoids in the body. MS studies have shown that the inhibition of this enzyme reduces spasticity, potentially due to elevated levels of endocannabinoid, Anandamide.

When combined with THC, as in Sativex, studies have shown cannabinoids can help reduce neuropathic pains – a common symptom affecting between 17% and 70% of patients with MS. The same study also found that the right blend of cannabinoids reduced spasticity, improving the patient’s quality of life.


Can I Use CBD Oil for MS?

Although many people do use store-bought CBD oil to manage MS symptoms, there’s no evidence to suggest this works, as this is a food supplement. However, there are numerous studies to show the benefit of the CBD molecule, cannabis, and Sativex.

Oral forms of CBD oil, such as CBD drops, can be taken for an overall effect. But to target specific areas, you could try a topical CBD product designed to massage directly into aching muscles and joints, or soak yourself in a bath topped up with CBD salts.

What Is The Difference Between Prescribed CBD and Over-The-Counter CBD?

Many people are confused that CBD can be both prescribed and bought in shops without a prescription. Is there really any difference between the two products?

The main thing to understand is that prescribed CBD is a licensed medicine, whereas over-the-counter CBD is classed as a ‘novel food supplement’and does not need to meet the same requirements in terms of how it’s made and what it contains. That doesn’t mean you can’t get high-quality CBD from a company that chooses to adhere to those same standards, but they don’t have to!

Another key difference is that, when prescribed, you can access CBD oil with added THC. Many people vaporise cannabis flower which is also prescribed, but with an oil, you can start with very low THC and have this titrated up gradually by a clinician to suit your unique needs. In the UK, it is illegal for over-the-counter CBD products to contain more than a trace amount of THC. All Voyager products are THC-free.

In Conclusion

So, can you use CBD oil for MS? Well, plenty of people do but whether or not it will help relieve symptoms is not something we can say! There’s certainly no harm in trying, as 66% of MS patients believe it makes a difference to them, and if you’re interested in trying it out you can trust our expertly crafted Voyager oils.