multiple sclerosis and cannabis

Multiple Sclerosis and Cannabis

Involuntary muscle contractions that create spasms and stiff movements is the definition for spasticity. When a person suffers from symptoms such as these, it is usually a clear indication of brain trauma or possibly a neurological disorder affecting the brain’s myelin sheaths. Spasticity is one of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and one of great predominance.
There are ways of improving the condition., by implementing improved nutrition, exercise and medication, symptoms can be minimised. The intensity of the symptoms are variable per person, and the underlying causes dictate how well medication and life changes will work.

Research shows that cannabis is effective in controlling spasticity

A clinical crossover study published in May 2012, discovered that cannabis was a much better treatment as opposed to the placebo for reducing pain and spasticity associated with MS.

Researchers brought together a group of MS sufferers to partake in a trial. They were asked to consume either cannabis or a placebo over the course of 3 days. Scientists compared the results at the end of the trial period and noticed those patients when treated with cannabis, had a considerably greater reduction in spasticity than with the placebo.

Also, the San Diego science team researched how those suffering from MS typically perceive pain and fatigue. With this information in hand, further research discovered how cannabis can influence this perception of pain. Due to the analgesic properties of cannabis, researchers were able to reduce pain considerably. In conclusion, the researchers discussed the need for future studies to address different doses of cannabis and their effects on Multiple Sclerosis Treatment.

Cannabinoids found in medical cannabis are proposed to have additional neuroprotective properties.

May 2012, another study was carried out at the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, UK.  Scientists discovered the active compounds in cannabis were unable to stop the progression of MS, yet it did relieve some of the symptoms. Moreover, pharmaceutical drugs that contain natural cannabis extracts which are free from psychoactive ingredients have few to no side-effects. Natural cannabis extracts, therefore, appear to be a viable alternative to synthetic drugs, which tend to cause more long-term damage.

Cannabinoids may have additional neuroprotective properties

Currently, there are a minimal number of treatments available for degenerative neurological conditions. What is available typically focuses on treatment of symptoms but not addressing the underlying causes. The Professor, who conducted the UK study explained that medical science needs to refocus, discovering substances that have the ability to slow the progression of degenerative diseases and how to protect brain cells.  In spite of the current research results, there are other in vitro studies which suggest cannabinoids ability to be neuroprotective.

“If we spent more money on these trials then we’d have answers and treatments for these degenerative diseases that we haven’t got at the moment,” Zajicek concluded.

Sources for this article include:

(1) www.cmaj.ca
(2) www.bbc.co.uk
(3) abcnews.go.com
(4) www.reuters.com