Study: Cannabis Extracts Mitigate Muscle Stiffness In Multiple Sclerosis Patients

[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

The oral administration of cannabis extracts significantly reduces muscle stiffness in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to just published clinical trial data published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Investigators at the University of Plymouth, Clinical Neurology Research Group, in the United Kingdom assessed the use of cannabinoids versus placebo in 279 subjects with MS over a twelve-week period. Cannabis extracts in the study contained standardized doses of THC and cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive constituent in cannabis, contained in a soft, gelatin capsule.

Investigators reported that oral cannabis extracts were “superior” over placebo in the treatment of MS-associated muscle stiffness and pain.

Authors concluded: “Treatment with standardized oral extract of cannabis sativa relieved muscle stiffness. The proportion of participants experiencing relief was almost twice as large in the cannabis extract group as in the placebo group. … Effective pain relief is also achieved by cannabis extracts, especially in patients with a high baseline pain score. Our findings suggest that standardized cannabis extracts can be clinically useful in treating the highly complex phenomenon of spasticity in MS.”

In May, clinical trial data published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association reported that cannabis inhalation significantly mitigates spasticity and pain in patients with treatment-resistant multiple sclerosis.

Separate clinical trials assessing the administration of oral cannabis extracts on patients with MS have indicated that cannabinoids can alleviate symptoms of the disease long-term and may also act in ways to mitigate MS progression. Sativex, an oral spray containing plant cannabis extracts, is presently legal by prescription to treat MS-related symptoms in over a dozen countries, including Canada, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Spain. Nonetheless, the National MS Society of the United States shares little enthusiasm for cannabis as a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis, stating, “Studies completed thus far have not provided convincing evidence that marijuana or its derivatives provide substantiated benefits for symptoms of MS.”

Full text of the study, “Multiple Sclerosis and Extract of Cannabis: results of the MUSEC trial,” appears in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

37 thoughts

  1. …but studies completed thus far HAVE provided convincing evidence that marijuana or its derivatives MAY provide substantiated benefits for symptoms of MS. Seems like it would at least be worth looking into…

  2. “Quote”
    ” the National MS Society of the United States shares little enthusiasm for cannabis as a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis, stating, “Studies completed thus far have not provided convincing evidence that marijuana or its derivatives provide substantiated benefits for symptoms of MS.”
    I Know WHY!,
    #1. The U.S. Gvt only allows research in an attempt to prove “Dangers” NOT “Uses” and ANY Research done, Is done “Illegally” according to the D.E.A. Thus ultimately “Unreliable” as it was done by “Activists” That is how they try to dismiss the results.
    #2.The Pharmaceutical Companies cannot have an “Exclusive” Market called a “Monopoly” because people can cheaply grow their own, If it`s Legal – Who is going to stop them? AND the Government Itself has a Patent!
    U.S. Patent # 6630507 (Memorize It!)
    In 2003, the U.S. Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services filed for, and was awarded a patent on cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.
    Looks Obvious to me that they CONFIRMED Medical Use in 2003!
    It`s ALL about “Money” AND “Power” now, The people have spoken, The Medical Evidence IS there and they are STILL NOT listening!
    Time to replace some MORE Legislators this fall.

  3. Don,
    No offense, but you know nothing about the issuance of patents… while, conceptually, the argument is compelling, once you learn the process of patent application review and understand how the law dictates patent application approval, your argument would hold no water…

  4. Alcohol is the worst drug we have. Not only is it addicting and deadly but it numbs the user to life. Tobacco’s not that great and not that much less damaging. Cannabis is’nt even damaging at all. It actually improves things holistically and medically. Plus the GOOD feelings we feel that we call being high are desirable- is feeling good such a crime, really?

  5. The cruel delay of research into the use of our noble weed against multiple sclerosis and the agony of chemotherapy may be the most monstrous sin against humanity to occur in my lifetime.

  6. The sativex train is coming!
    And the US has been falling behind
    In all education compared with other countries, so I’m not surprised with the idiotic MS society findings.

  7. Don,

    Relax. This study was done in the U.K. The DEA has no jurisdiction there.

    Research can be done legally in the US. It just requires a lot of legal red tape with a scheduled drug. There is a thc pill, which is approved by the FDA.

    One can’t necessarily tell from an abstract like this if this is going anywhere. Notice that their tested tincture was twice as effective as the placibo. That’s not particularly very good.

  8. It sounds like, Romney will have no compassion to anyone seeking Marijuana as a medicine .
    After a quick question on immigration,Reporter, Boyd then asked Romney whether marijuana should be legalized for medical use and taxed.

    A visibly agitated Romney cut the reporter off: “Aren’t there issues of significance that you’d like to talk about?”

    “This is a significant issue in Colorado,” Boyd replied.

    “The economy, the economy, the economy. The growth of jobs. The need to put people back to work. The challenges of Iran,” Romney scolded her. “We’ve got enormous issues that we face, but you want talk about, go ahead, you want to talk about marijuana?”

    Well, Mr. Romney….the economy is about creating jobs and creating jobs is about marijuana legalization .

  9. As an MS patient, I’m convinced that the National MS Society of the United States wouldn’t acknowledge it if it had been proven that cannabis safely CURED MS!

  10. Our disease societies, like cancer, MS, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s… appear to function primarily as advertising agencies for big pharma. All of them diss cannabis. This is a shame for those suffering the consequences of those diseases. Sick folks have enough to deal with without having to contend with the ubiquitous missinformation provided by these psuedo patient care orginzations.

  11. And if cannabis ACTUALLY caused lung cancer; and had no medicinal value whatsoever…it’d be legal already-I know : worked @ a big drug company building cancer research labs+ have close relative whose cfo of a major pharm. corp.They have no interest in curing ANY disease since you profit much more form “managing” a disease-their dream is t turn things like cancer into diabetes-increasing life span while still having to undergo therapies and treatments to the tune of billions.It’s oh so corrupt-if y’all actually knew. That’s why I tell u.

  12. Charles,

    You stated the following:
    ” Notice that their tested tincture was twice as effective as the placibo. That’s not particularly very good.”

    I disagree. A drug that tests twice as effective as the placebo is outstanding.

  13. I know it works, I have MS. This medicine does work for me. I am living proof as are all the others who use cannabis for medicine.

  14. Some people who have never used it think that nothing good could possibly come from it. Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups. We can’t describe it, though. Like try to describe what love feels like? You can’t – Oh wait, it’s “good.”

  15. It also works for me. I have a genetic disease called Ehler’s Danlos type III and it actually helps decrease my pain levels, so that I take less narcotics. But, unfortunately it’s not event talked about in my state.

  16. The fight for legalization reminds me a lot of heliocentrism: Giordano Bruno, philosopher and scientist, was burnt at the stake, Galileo was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

    When the powers that be are challenged after their mind has been made up; they don’t take it well. They kill, imprison, and repress all who say otherwise…it took an amendment to the constitution to remove prohibition on alcohol.

    The government saying what anyone can and cannot put in their bodies comes from moral ground, why else do they demand certain business to operate outside of certain distances of churches and schools; this is a flagrant disregard to the constitutional separation of church and state.

    Morals are a belief structure founded by religion. Strong values; is a buzz phrase politicians use, to show their support for the prohibitionist morals based state.

    But this is merely a red herring excuse, for the profiteers that make an excessive unfair profit, by keeping things illegal in a black market. They profit on both sides of the fence. With legality, the corrupt only profit on one side of the fence. Their paid off cronies that profit like the FDA, drug companies and things like the National MS Society, Cancer society etc. are all in their pockets.

    So undoing all of that takes a real political fight and protest by states and citizens. Thankfully, we are in the midst of the revolution it takes; so don’t give up now.

    We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender!

  17. Quote taken from it just shows you :

    In 2008, investigators at the University of California at San Diego reported inhaled cannabis significantly reduced objective measures of pain intensity and spasticity in patients with MS in a placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Investigators concluded that “smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in reducing spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and provided some benefit beyond currently prescribed treatment.”

    It shows that people are benefitting from medcial marijuana prescription medications are straight killers!

  18. I have to wonder (and hope) that it would do something similar for fibromyalgia pain and stiffness. Don’t want to have to smoke it though.. we need the derivative!!

  19. I wonder where the local chapter of The Native American church is here in Pennsylvania. They’re allowed to take Peyote. Sounds like a good religion, especially in USA. And Peyote has more dangers?… Somethings not right and it’s greed. Down with greed.

  20. why are people attacking the argument over the US govt patent on cannabidiol for anti-inflammatory properties… and who actually dares to say research is allowed but there is red tape… if by red tape you mean only one authorized university in the south, than yea… if you mean its just complicated so people dont try…. who are these shills on the norml site…

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