Smoking Marijuana Reduces Some MS Symptoms

A study by researchers from the University of California have suggested that smoking an opiate like marijuana may be able to help treat spasticity, a common symptom that affects patients with MS. Researchers from the UC San Diego School of Medicine conducted a placebo controlled trial which indicated that smoking pot may help MS patients reduce muscle spasms as well as the patient’s perception of pain. The study findings will be published in the May 14 edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The study involved researchers randomly assign participants to the group which smoked pot once daily for 3 days or the group which smoked identical placebo cigarettes daily for also 3 days. After an eleven day interval, the groups changed places. The findings showed that those who smoked marijuana experienced a reduction of symptoms and pain associated with MS. According to principal investigator Jody Corey-Bloom, MD, PhD and professor of neurosciences and director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at UC San Diego, “We found that smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in reducing symptoms and pain in patients with treatment-resistant spasticity, or excessive muscle contractions.”

Previous studies have indicated that certain active compounds in medical marijuana were effective in treating certain neurologic conditions. But such studies were focused on administering the compounds orally.

The study made use of a more objective measurement in determining the effects of smoking marijuana. The researchers used a modified Ashford scale which grades the intensity of muscle tone by measuring by measuring such things as resistance in rigidity as well as range in motion. Pain was measured using a visual analogue scale. The researchers also looked into the level of physical performance as well as cognitive function.

Despite the beneficial effects of marijuana and being well tolerated, they also have mild effects on the patient’s attention span and concentration. The researchers also advised that larger and long-term studies are needed to further confirm the findings and whether lower doses of the marijuana may also have beneficial effects but with less cognitive impact.

Source: University of California, San Diego Health Sciences (2012, May 14). Smoked cannabis reduces some symptoms of multiple sclerosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 15, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­/releases/2012/05/120514122607.htm

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