London, United Kingdom: Nearly half of British patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) have used cannabis and nearly one in eight are currently using it to alleviate symptoms of the disease, according to survey data that will appear in the forthcoming issue of the journal Multiple Sclerosis.
More than 250 Multiple Sclerosis patients responded to the survey. Among the respondents, 43 percent answered that they had used cannabis — with over half saying that they began using it after being diagnosed with MS.
Twelve percent of respondents said that they were using cannabis at the time of the survey to treat symptoms of the disease. Among these respondents, more than 80 percent reported that cannabis was efficacious in treating MS-associated spasticity, sleep disorders, and dizziness.
Previous surveys of MS patients have reported that between 14 and 16 percent of patients use cannabis therapeutically.
A separate study to appear in Multiple Sclerosis on the long-term use of Sativex reports that the cannabis-based spray alleviates MS-associated pain, spasms, spasticity, and bladder incontinence in MS patients for up to 80 weeks. Volunteers who participated in the extended trial maintained therapeutic relief from the drug without developing tolerance or experiencing intoxication, investigators found.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of both studies, “Cannabis use in patients with multiple sclerosis” and “Long-term use of a cannabis-based medicine in the treatment of spasticity and other symptoms of multiple sclerosis,” will appear in the forthcoming issue of Multiple Sclerosis.