A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that medical marijuana helps relieve some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The study found that marijuana helped reduce muscle pain and spasticity. From the Canadian Medical Association Journal:
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, conducted a randomized, double-blinded controlled trial with 30 participants to understand whether smoked cannabis can have an effect on muscle spasticity in people whose spasticity does not respond well to existing treatment. The average age of participants was 50 years, and 63% were female. More than half of the participants needed walking aids, and 20% used wheelchairs.
Most trials have focused on the effect of oral cannabis rather than smoked cannabis.
Rather than rely on self-reporting by patients regarding their muscle spasticity — a subjective measure — health professionals rated the spasticity of each participant’s joints on the modified Ashworth scale, a common objective tool to evaluate intensity of muscle tone. The researchers found that participants in the smoked cannabis group experienced an almost one-third decrease on the Ashworth scale — 2.74 points — from a baseline score of 9.3, meaning spasticity improved, compared with the placebo group. As well, pain scores decreased by about 50%.
The study is just more confirmation about the medical potential of cannabis, and the results aren’t in any way surprising. It has long been known that medical marijuana can help individuals suffering from sclerosis. In fact Sativex, which is just a combination of cannabis extracts, has been approved for the treatment of MS in the United Kingdom and Spain.
Yet despite the large and growing body of research proving the medical benefits of cannabis, the United States federal government still classifies it as schedule I, which means it has no legally accepted medical use.