As we know, medical marijuana has been used to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) for quite some time. In fact, GW Pharmaceuticals’ drug Sativex, which contains a 1:1 ratio oftetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), is being used to treat the condition in countries throughout Europe.
That being said, cannabinoid treatments have not traditionally been considered a standalone form of therapy for MS. A group of researchers from Neurological Rehabilitation Center Quellenhof in Germany published a study last week in the journal European Neurology that counters this position.
Research Suggests Cannabis May Inhibit Spasticity In MS Patients
Estimated to affect more than 2.3 million people worldwide, mupltiple sclerosis (MS) is an auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system. Specifically, the disease causes an attack on the protective casing of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord.
No cure exists for MS, but treatment is generally focused on managing symptoms to improve each patient’s quality of life. With this in mind, the disease manifests itself differently in each individual and no two cases are exactly alike.
“74.6% of the 276 patients observed showed improvement after one month of treatment.”
With that said, the German research team investigated the effectiveness of cannabinoid treatments as a standalone therapy for multiple sclerorosis (MS) in humans.
They conducted an observational study of MS patients being treated with Sativex with a follow-up period of 3-4 months. According to their results, 74.6% of the 276 patients observed showed improvement after one month of treatment. 55.3% of patients observed had maintained treatment through three months, with as much as a 25% decrease in spasticity.
In conclusion, Dr. Peter Flachenecker, the study’s lead author, says the following: “Real-life data confirm nabiximols (Sativex) as an effective and well-tolerated treatment option for resistant multiple sclerosis spasticity in clinical practice.”
It should be noted, however, that 17% of patients reported “adverse effects” to Sativex during the experiment. This was not thoroughly discussed, but it begs the question whether whole-plant cannabis extracts may prove to be and even more effective treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS).