Study Reinforces Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Multiple Sclerosis
Tim Timmons holds a glass pipe filled with marijuana at his Garland home. Timmons smokes marijuana at night to ease pain caused by multiple sclerosis. Courtney Perry/Dallas Morning News.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a serious inflammatory disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, affects almost 2.5 million people worldwide and has no cure.
A recent study published by Neurology Journal shows that cannabis may work to alleviate symptoms without the harsh, damaging side effects often associated with pharmaceutical treatments for MS.
The study shows cannabis is effective in curtailing spasms associated with MS, along with other symptoms such as pain from spasms or lesions. Participants were given cannabis in a throat spray or pill form and some smoked it as well.
There was some fear that the use of cannabis would increase depression, but Dr. Barbara Koppel, Professor of Neurology at New York Medical College and the main author of the research analysis, stated that they could not find a link between cannabis use and increased depression.
Additionally Koppel pointed out that people with this disease “already have higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation than the general public.” Therefore, she said any claims of increased depression based on this study cannot be credible.
“The [symptoms of MS] that were helped the most were pain, spasticity, which is tightness of the muscles, difficulty walking, which is usually related to spasticity,” Koppel told CBS New York.
Some common widespread treatments are not ideal or necessarily effective for patients and tend to have very harsh side effects; MS is a condition regularly included within the regulatory framework for state medical marijuana programs. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society openly supports the safe access of cannabis medicines to patients in states where it is legal.
Do you or someone you know suffer from MS and treat it with cannabis? Tell us in the comments below!