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  • Post Time POSTED APRIL 05, 2019
In April 2015, Brooke Robinson1 got bad news: she was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis). Three months later, she stumbled down the front steps of her Toronto home and broke her collarbone. The 31-year-old consultant was soon walking with a cane, and the MS increased her crippling incontinence.

But in the ugly chaos the MS brought to her life, she found relief in cannabis. When she tasted her first edible, a warm calmness wrapped over her. The spasticity endured by her muscles soon relaxed, thanks to the cannabis. “I also experienced nerve pain and the typical ibuprofen wasn’t strong enough for the kind of pain I got,” Robinson explains in an interview. “Cannabis definitely helped with the pain too.”2

Part of the pain relief was required during those weeks when her bones were actually growing. Robinson says she took part in a stem-cell procedure that worked to reboot her malfunctioning immune system. In the first phase, doctors gave her a drug called Neupogen for two weeks that excited stem-cell growth in her bones. These young, healthy cells were then collected and their hallmark trait was that they had no knowledge of the MS damaging her body.

In phase two, doctors administered 10 days of chemotherapy to wipe out her old immune system. Robinson’s stem cells were then given back to her to begin their building process.

Because the stem-cell stimulants all start in the bone, Robinson endured heavy bone pain, which cannabis helped ease.

Patient Profile: Brooke Robinson Uses Cannabis in Her Battle Against MS
Robinson favours indica strains over sativas because, “I also have depression and anxiety from being disabled, and indicas have helped me there, I’ve found.”

Her daily cannabis use has given her comfort and real results: every day she is gaining more muscle mass and experiencing less pain.

In 2013, if not earlier, cannabis was seen as a potential treatment option for those with MS. According to an overview presented at the Fifth Cooperative Meeting of the Consortium of MS Centers and the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in MS, cannabis was deemed “a safe and effective therapy for pain and spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis.”3 A 2018 study found that MS patients “taking cannabinoids were more likely to achieve pain reduction of at least 30%.”4

But what’s holding back widespread cannabis adoption? The answer is two-fold: A survey found that 50–90% of MS patients would “consider [cannabis] usage if it were legal and more scientific evidence was available.”5

Even with mounting evidence, physicians have been hesitant to suggest cannabis as an MS treatment, Robinson has found. “Too many patients are at the mercy of doctors who prefer prescribing opiates over cannabis, and I’d love to see that change,” she adds. 

References:
  1. "Brooke Robinson Solutions." https://www.brookerobinson.ca/
  2. Via interview conducted Dec. 11, 2018.
  3. "Cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis: Prescriber's Perspective." https://www.neurologyadvisor.com/multiple-sclerosis-advisor/medical-marijuana-cannabis-use-for-multiple-sclerosis-symptoms/article/782211/
  4. "How Effective is Marijuana for MS." https://www.mdedge.com/neurologyreviews/article/77919/multiple-sclerosis/how-effective-marijuana-ms
  5. "Cannabis and Multiple Sclerosis - The Way Forward." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5481305/

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