A systematic review conducted by The Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation found that five of six controlled trials reported a reduction in spasticity and an improvement in mobility amongst multiple sclerosis patients using cannabis extracts. The two researchers, Shaheen Lakhan and Marie Rowland from the Los Angeles-based foundation, searched for trials evaluating cannabis extracts. Specifically, they were looking for extracts known as delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Their study was published in the December 2009 issue of BMC Neurology.
What they were trying to correlate were the benefits of these two extracts for treating one of multiple sclerosis’ most hard to treat symptoms: spasticity. Spasticity is the involuntary tension or contraction of muscles and is one of the most common and tell-tale symptoms of MS. Most of the current therapies and medications for this symptom are hard to obtain, have a poor track record, or come with intolerable side effects. Of course, the introduction of THC and CBD into patient groups came with some side effects, most notably intoxication.
The level depended on the treatment dose and, interestingly, was also reported in the placebo groups of the studies as well. The studies considered included those only with THC and CBD combinations used for the therapies and only for the specific treatment of spasticity in MS patients. Each study had varying outcomes, but the overall trend between them showed a reduced spasticity in treated patients and an improvement in general symptom reduction.
The adverse events reported with these studies were generally considered well-tolerated by the patient and relatively mild. The medical benefits of cannabis have been long known to various people around the world, but only recently have been accepted by modern science. The American College of Physicians only just endorsed medical marijuana in 20082and the use of hemp, a member of the cannabis family, for health has been a staple of the natural health movement.3 This latest study from the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation shows that the benefits of using cannabis in multiple sclerosis therapies far outweigh the light side effects they have. In many areas, sufferers from MS have often turned to marijuana to relieve their symptoms, usually without a doctor’s knowledge or consent.