Pot’s Ingredients Significantly Reduce Pain in MS, Spinal Cord Patients, Study Says

Reno, NV:  Compounds in marijuana can drastically reduce the chronic pain experienced by patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and spinal cord injury, according to clinical trial data unveiled Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Management.

“Given the previously intractable nature of [these patients’] pain, the improvements provided by cannabis-based medicines are all the more remarkable,” explained Dr. William Notcutt of James Paget Hospital, who oversaw the trial.  Of the 34 patients who participated in the study, more than 80 percent experienced significant benefits, including pain relief and sleep enhancement, and elected to continue to a long-term trial.  Each of the volunteers had been previously unresponsive to standard analgesics.

Participants in the study were administered randomized extracts containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound in marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, and a mixture of both compounds.  Patients responding positively in the trial experienced statistically significant benefits from all three products compared to placebo.  A separate analysis of MS-only volunteers also confirmed a statistically significant reduction in symptom scores using the THC/CBD combination extract and THC.  

Only six of the 34 volunteers experienced no clinical benefit from the extracts. 

“The results of this trial offer great hope to patients suffering from chronic pain, especially those unresponsive to standard medications, that they will one day be able to legally arrest their symptoms by using medicinal marijuana,” said Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of The NORML Foundation.

Preliminary results of a separate 660-patient trial of medicinal marijuana extracts sponsored by the British Medical Research Council are expected next month.   Regulators from the nation’s Medicines Control Agency (MCA) have indicated that they may legalize the drug for medicinal purposes as early as next year if it demonstrates safety and efficacy in clinical trials.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.  More detailed results of the marijuana and pain study are available online at: http://www.gwpharm.com/news_pres_30_sep_02.html   For more information on medicinal cannabis extracts, please visit: http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=5286