Cannabis Extract Benefits Patients with Multiple Sclerosis
Dr. John Peter Zajicek, PhD, professor and chair of clinical neurology at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom (UK) reports that evidence is mounting on the benefits of cannabinoids (cannabis extract) on relieving symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and that his new study provides the strongest evidence so far.
The results of the Multiple Sclerosis and Extract of Cannabis (MUSEC) study which was recently published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, show that patients who were prescribed an oral cannabis extract experienced relief from muscle stiffness, pains and spasms associated with the disease.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition where the sheaths surrounding nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord are inflamed, resulting in defective communication between these cells. The cause is unclear and there is so far, no known cure for the disease. Symptoms include numbness, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, difficulties in coordination and balance, speech and swallowing, bowel and bladder problems, and more.
The double-blind, multicenter study included 279 patients with MS, ages 18 to 64, who experienced muscle stiffness. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either a oral cannabis extract which contained tetrahydrocannabinol or a placebo capsule. At the end of 12 weeks treatment, patients who took the cannabis extract reported significant positive changes in symptoms such as muscle stiffness, spasms, pain, sleep quality, and discomfort, and their impact in activities of daily living, ability to walk, physical and psychological impact, and social functioning.
However, Dr. Zajicek reports that some patients experienced some side effects such as mild disorientation, confusion, euphoria, and clouding of cognition, causing a few drop-outs. He believes more studies are needed to come up with a cure for MS using tetrahydrocannabinol.
Anderson, P. Oral Cannabis Reduces Muscle Stiffness in Patients with MS. Medscape.