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Marijuana Extracts Greatly Improve Symptoms Associated With MS, Spinal Cord Injury, Study Says

Thursday, 06 March 2003

Oxford, United Kingdom: Marijuana extracts alleviate pain and other neurogenic symptoms unresponsive to standard treatment in patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and spinal cord injury, according to clinical trial data published in the current issue of Clinical Rehabilitation.

Twenty-four patients participated in the Phase II placebo-controlled trial. Volunteers were administered randomized extracts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, and a mixture of both compounds. Patients self-administered the extracts and/or placebo via a sublingual spray.

Authors wrote, "Pain relief associated with both THC and CBD was significantly superior to placebo." In addition, researchers found that "impaired bladder control, muscle spasms and spasticity were improved by CME (cannabis medicinal extracts) in some patients with these symptoms." Unwanted side effects were "predictable and generally well tolerated," the study concluded.

Data from follow up Phase III trails by GW Pharmaceuticals demonstrate similar results, but have yet to be published. The company is now in the process of submitting its regulatory application to Britain's Medicines Control Agency (MCA). Subject to regulatory approval, GW aims to launch its first medicinal marijuana products in the UK by the end of this year.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Abstracts of the Clinical Rehabilitation article, "A preliminary controlled study to determine whether whole-plant cannabis extracts can improve intractable neurogenic symptoms," are available online via the PubMed search engine at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/






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