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Medical Marijuana/Cannabis Used to Treat Multiple Sclerosis Proves Successful: Study

Update Date: Oct 10, 2012 11:05 AM EDT
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Medical Marijuana has proven to help people suffering from anorexia and glaucoma but now a new study proves that Cannabis actually eases joint and muscle pain, making it a suitable medication to alleviate stiffness typical of Multiple Sclerosis, as revealed in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

According to the study, Up to 90 percent of MS patients endure painful muscle stiffness at some point during the course of their disease, which reduces their mobility and interferes with daily routine activities and sleep quality.

While current treatment methods do not completely alleviate the frequency and strength of muscle stiffness, and can at times prove harmful to the patient, Patients who use cannabis were shown to have more positive results then those taking medication or placebo pain relievers.

Researchers studied adult MS patients with stable disease, from 22 different specialist centers across the UK, and who were either randomly assigned to cannabis extract (tetrahydrocannabinol) daily or a dummy pill (placebo) for a period of 12 weeks.

At the end of the study period, the rate of relief from muscle stiffness was twice as high among those given the cannabis extract as those given the placebo. Muscle stiffness was alleviated in just under 30 per cent of those given cannabis compared with just under 16 per cent of those treated with the placebo.

This difference was evident after 4 and 8 weeks, and also extended to pain, muscle spasms and sleep quality, at all time points, the results showed.

Quite obviously, since researchers did not use any traditional MS treatment medication in comparison with the cannabis and instead opted to use a pill that is itself completely useless, their findings are subject to criticism.

However, researchers do add that 40 percent of the patients who experienced the most improvement in pain relief, a decrease in muscle spasms and an increase in sleep quality, were those who were using antispasmodic treatment medicine on top of the cannabis treatment .

Although, add researchers, the rate of side-effects from the antispasmodic drug were higher among the cannabis users than placebo users.

The authors conclude that the results of their trial indicate that cannabis extract could be a useful treatment for the muscle problems typical of MS, and could provide effective pain relief, particularly for those in considerable pain. 

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