by Lisa Keilhofer

Marijuana for your Microbiome

Is Marijuana healthy?
Is Marijuana healthy? © - 1STunningART

End of December 2019, the journal „Psychology Today” published an >>> article on marijuana in therapies for patients of MS by PhD Gary L. Wenk: Wenk is especially highlighting the interplay of the two cannabinoids THC and CBC during the treatment.

Is Marijuana healthy? EAE tests help find results

The positive effects of marijuana and cannabinoids in therapies are not new. As early as 20 years ago, we knew about the relieving effects on typical symptoms that go with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), such as tremors, spasticity, and paralysis. In animal testing, the so-called experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis or EAE should reveal further insight into the topic. EAE mimics the typical MS symptoms and effective therapies and treatments are searched for. The relieving effects after the gavage of cannabinoids has been reported back then by patients.

Smoking weed against MS?

A joint a day keeps the doctor away? Numerous affected persons – not only by MS, but also those suffering from other mental or neuronal illnesses, are claiming those substances for their therapies and demand a legalization in regards to their positive effects. In his essay, Wenk is referring to a testing on mice with the combination of the two cannabinoids THC (Wikipedia) and CBD ( that showed very successful outcomes. The scientists participating in the study emphasize that this particular interplay of substances used in the underlying study is responsible for the extremely positive results.

What does marijuana do?

The reason for this outcome is, according to the leading scientists, the way the substances influence the gut microbiome. The microbiome of MS patients is impaired, showing an abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila. The gavage of the described combination of cannabinoids is regulating this abundance and has therefore a positive effect on the symptoms. Furthermore, positive side-effects, like increased levels of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, are described. This also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the patient’s system.

The usual therapy of MS patients is focusing on suppressing the immune response – a treatment that is only successful with as little as 20-30% of all patients. The pharmaceutical usage of marijuana might therefore be a reasonable medication and should be examined further.

And up to then? Is smoking weed helpful with MS? The authors of the study keep a low profile on explicit advice like that and stress that only that particular combination of THC and CBD showed that particularly positive effect. Using cannabinoids as medication brings the same risk of incorrect dosing that goes with all chemical (and also most natural) substances. The effect is linked to many factors such as age, weight, height, gender and adaptation. A self-medication without medication supervision should therefore be refrained from. However, marijuana turns out to be an interesting substance that MS patients can put their hope on for future medication.

Lisa Keilhofer
Lisa Keilhofer

Lisa Keilhofer studied at the University of Regensburg. She works in internationalization and as a freelance editor.

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