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Cannabis extracts may ease symptoms of multiple sclerosis

December 4, 2009 |  5:21 pm

Marijuana If you've been following the medical marijuana debate, you may be interested in a new review of studies on the effects of cannabis extracts on the spasticity (involuntary muscle contractions) experienced by people with multiple sclerosis.

The studies that were reviewed specifically tested extracts containing two compounds derived from Cannabis sativa, used in combination. One was THC -- the main active ingredient that gives the characteristic "high." The other was cannabidiol, or CBD, which doesn't give the same high and may act to lower levels of THC in the brain. (The reasoning, therefore, is that combining the two would give the anti-spastic effect in muscles while not fogging the brain.)

In an article published in the journal BMC Neurology, Shaheen E. Lakhan and Marie Rowland of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation in Los Angeles examined six randomized, placebo-controlled studies. Though results from individual studies weren't exactly the same, they did show that the extracts were generally well-tolerated, compared with placebo, though doses had sometimes to be adjusted.

The authors also noted a "trend" in spasticity reduction and improvement in mobility -- in objective assessments of spasticity, they did not see statistically significant differences, but in subjective measures -- i.e. what the patient reported -- they did. "More study needed," the authors conclude -- and also urge more study on the anti-inflammatory properties of the compounds.

BMC Neurology is one of those journals that nicely allow free access once the article's been published. So you can read the whole study here.

And because medical marijuana has been much in the news, here are some other articles you might want to look at:

-- A 2008 look at medical marijuana science in the L.A. Times Health section by freelancer Jill U. Adams;

-- Last month, the American Medical Assn. urged the government to reclassify marijuana from that of a dangerous drug with no medical use, by Times writer John Hoeffel;

-- And, of course, the ongoing battle about what constitutes a legal way to sell pot: An article from earlier this week by Hoeffel reports that "a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, concluding that state law does not allow medical marijuana to be sold, proposed an injunction Tuesday that would order an Eagle Rock dispensary to cease selling it."

-- Rosie Mestel

Photo credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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Comments (4)

I have GRAND MAL EPILEPSY!!! I HAVE BEEN SMOKING FOR 15 YEARS!!!!!! You law-makers sure do have SMALL BRAINS!!!!

"The reasoning, therefore, is that combining the two would give the anti-spastic effect in muscles while not fogging the brain.In an article published in the journal BMC Neurology, they did show that the extracts were generally well-tolerated, compared with placebo, though doses had sometimes to be adjusted. The authors also noted a "trend" in spasticity reduction and improvement in mobility -- in objective assessments of spasticity, they did not see statistically significant differences, but in subjective measures -- i.e. what the patient reported -- they did."

DONT FORGET, THE AMA HAS REVERSED ITS VIEW!!!!!!!

Hopefully the patients do not become drug addict after reading this report.

I hugely support the use of natural healing methods and have hd personal experence with a dear friend who self prescribed cannabis to reduce symptoms of her MS, with good results and far less intrusive than chemical options with often unknown side effects. Cannabis can create dependancy too in some people. However there is some concern for psychological effects of long term cannabis use and an even safer and totally legal method would be to try a relaxation course, which is a wonderful way to deeply relax muscles and the mind too, easing pain and bringing peaceful sllep and healing. I would ask anyone interested in natural healing methods to try www.relaxationexercises.com or www.natural-healing-methods.com. If used correctly users should experience a natural high which is similar to that of marijuana. For anyone who is suffering and feeling distressed, please do not give up hope, remember that"everything is possible" and you can get a remission, keep practising and keep positive.

Sounds like the scientific evidence just keeps on coming in.....in favor of cannabis medicine and its efficacy in treating numerous maladies. Why are we a century behind, still living under the fear and threat tactics used to dissuade people away from it ??

Why deny someone in pain the palliative that would alleviate their suffering ???

14 states allow it, a few more will soon....but why not ALL 50 states having an exemption for medical cannabis use ??



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