Medicinal marijuana is considered a drug that relieves temporary pains, but there is research suggesting that it can also be used for treating major diseases, including multiple sclerosis. This type of painful muscle stiffness can affect patients’ ability to perform daily routines, and will become a recurring problem for the rest of their lives. Doctors will often tell patients diagnosed with MS that it’s not the end of the world—that there is still treatment. One of the most promising forms of treatment is in medicinal marijuana.
What the Research Shows
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine discovered that smoking marijuana can help relieve pain and the “spasticity” symptoms that MS patients feel. The study on medicinal marijuana, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, stated that “smoked cannabis…was generally well-tolerated by participants, and accompanied by acute cognitive effects.”
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, an objective authority on the subject, states that the cannabis could be used for symptom management. The Society stated that THC has helped some MS patients to feel less spasticity, albeit for only a few hours at a time. THC’s effect on tremors, in a small controlled study, showed eight disabled people suffering from “tremors and ataxia.” Two reported tremor reduction, as did three others, but only the first two patients’ statements were verified by a doctor. The Society went on to state that more study would be required, and that THC’s physical healing effects could be exaggerated because of the psychoactive properties of the drug.
It remains to be seen what these strong and influential organizations will say on the matter. The MS Society is currently funding a controlled study on different forms of medicinal marijuana and how they affect MS-related spasticity. The world waits as legislature finally negotiates with science and medicine, eager to seek a solution to crippling diseases.