London, United Kingdom: Oral administration of synthetic THC and/or a cannabis oil capsule ameliorates multiple sclerosis (MS) associated pain and improves patients’ mobility compared to placebo, according to clinical trial data published last week in the British medical journal Lancet.
“The study does suggest that for some people, [cannabinoids] may be of benefit, particularly in terms of pain relief and muscle stiffness,” the study’s co-author Alan Thompson of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London said. British regulators are currently considering legalizing the use of medicinal cannabis extracts in the treatment of MS.
More than 600 patients in 33 clinical centers participated in the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial which primarily focused on the drugs’ ability to alleviate MS-associated spasticity. Volunteers were administered synthetic THC (Marinol), oral cannabis oil, and/or placebo over a period of 13 weeks. Authors found that although oral cannabinoids had only a slight impact on spasticity (as measured by the Ashworth scale), they did alleviate MS-associated pain and improve patients’ mobility. Patients also reported subjective improvements in spasticity.
Authors’ of an accompanying commentary on the study wrote, “We now have as much evidence to support the use of these oral cannabinoids as we do for many standard therapies for [MS-associated] spasticity.”
The Lancet study follows clinical trail data published this spring in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation which found that MS patients administered whole-plant marijuana extracts experienced improved pain relief, bladder control, and spasticity.
More recently, animal trial data published in the journal Brain, concluded, “In addition to symptom management, cannabis may also slow down the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability in multiple sclerosis and probably other diseases.”
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-8751. Abstracts of the study, entitled, “Cannabinoids for treatment of spasticity and other symptoms related to multiple sclerosis,” are available online at: