Smoking Medical Marijuana May Decrease MS Symptoms

May 14, 2012

Smok­ing med­ical mar­i­juana could help relieve some symp­toms of mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, a small new study sug­gests. Researchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego, found that peo­ple with MS who smoked cannabis had decreased pain and mus­cle tight­ness, called spas­tic­ity. How­ever, the researchers warned that smok­ing the cannabis also led to prob­lems with focus and atten­tion. The study, pub­lished in the Cana­dian Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion Jour­nal, included 30 peo­ple — 63 per­cent of them women — with an aver­age age of 50. More than half the par­tic­i­pants needed aids for walk­ing, and 20 per­cent of them were in wheel­chairs. Some of the study par­tic­i­pants were ran­domly assigned to have the cannabis, while oth­ers received a placebo. At the end of the study, researchers found that peo­ple who smoked the cannabis had lower num­bers on a spas­tic­ity scale, as well as a 50 per­cent decrease in pain scores. But researchers found that the peo­ple who smoked the cannabis had decreased cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing, in that they scored lower on a test that mea­sured their focus. This effect was only seen for a short term. “Smoked cannabis was supe­rior to placebo in symp­tom and pain reduc­tion in par­tic­i­pants with treatment-resistant spas­tic­ity,” researchers wrote in the study. “Future stud­ies should exam­ine whether dif­fer­ent doses can result in sim­i­lar ben­e­fi­cial effects with less cog­ni­tive impact.” Just last year, a study in the jour­nal Neu­rol­ogy also showed that mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis patients who smoked med­ical mar­i­juana have a dou­bled risk of devel­op­ing cog­ni­tive impair­ments. “What­ever ben­e­fits patients feel they might be get­ting from smok­ing mar­i­juana might come at the cost of fur­ther cog­ni­tive com­pro­mise,” the researcher of that study, Dr. Anthony Fein­stein, M.D., Ph.D., of the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto, told WebMD. Mar­i­juana use is cur­rently legal for med­ical pur­poses in 16 states and Wash­ing­ton, D.C., the New York Times reported. Mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis is an autoim­mune dis­ease of the brain and spinal cord, accord­ing to the National Insti­tutes of Health. It occurs when the myelin sheath, which is respon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing nerve fibers, is dam­aged, caus­ing symp­toms of cog­ni­tive prob­lems, mus­cle weak­ness, dis­turbed vision, strange touch sen­sa­tions and bal­ance and coör­di­na­tion prob­lems. While there’s no cure for the con­di­tion, cur­rent treat­ments for mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis attacks include tak­ing drugs called cor­ti­cos­teroids and under­go­ing plasma exchange (where blood cells and plasma are mechan­i­cally sep­a­rated), accord­ing to the Mayo Clinic. Other drugs and even phys­i­cal ther­apy can help reduce symp­toms or even slow the dis­ease down. Source: Huff­in­g­ton Post (NY) Pub­lished: May 14, 2012 Copy­right: 2012 Huff​in​g​ton​Post​.com, LLC Con­tact: scoop@​huffingtonpost.​com Web­site: http://​www​.huff​in​g​ton​post​.com/

 Smoking Medical Marijuana May Decrease MS Symptoms

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Smok­ing Med­ical Mar­i­juana May Decrease MS Symptoms

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