By Groshan Fabiola
According to recently conducted experiments, cannabis can be considered an effective remedy for patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. While at first the symptomatic improvements experienced by patients with multiple sclerosis who have been administered cannabinoid products were thought to be determined solely by psychological factors, later research has revealed that cannabis actually reduces muscular spasms and stiffness characteristic to multiple sclerosis sufferers. The benefic effects of cannabis on patients with multiple sclerosis have been confirmed by short-term and long-term controlled medical studies.
In 2003, a team of researchers from the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, UK have made public the results of a series of short-term and long-term studies on the effects of cannabinoids among patients with multiple sclerosis. The previously conducted studies involved the active participation of around 600 patients with advanced-stage multiple sclerosis. The participants were divided in two distinctive groups: the first group received cannabinoid compounds in equal doses, while the second group received placebo medications over a period of 15 weeks. By the end of the experiment, the majority of patients who were administered cannabinoids experienced considerable symptomatic improvements, having less muscular pain and being confronted with milder muscular spasticity (less pronounced muscular spasm). Unlike the group that received cannabinoid compounds over the entire period of the study, the control group (patients who received placebo medications) experienced no improvements in their overall condition.
In order to confirm the relevancy of the findings and to discard any doubts concerning the efficiency of cannabis in ameliorating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, the study was later repeated. The ulterior study was performed over a period of 12 months, and involved the participation of the same subjects. However, this time the participants were divided into 3 distinctive groups instead of 2 as in the case of the previous experiment. The first group received pills of D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the active component in cannabis, the second group received natural cannabis extracts, while the third group received placebo medications.
At the end of the experiment, patients were carefully evaluated and examined by a team of physiotherapists and neurologists. The best results were obtained among the patients belonging to the first study group, the majority of subjects who have received equal doses of THC experiencing considerable improvements in their symptoms. The patients in the second study group experienced slight improvements in their symptoms, while the patients in the third group felt no changes in their condition.
Despite the fact these studies clearly suggest that cannabis is an efficient remedy for multiple sclerosis, medical scientists aren’t still convinced that cannabinoids can be successfully used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. However, after performing additional studies on the matter and more elaborate research, doctors may consider to introduce cannabinoid compounds in the treatment of multiple sclerosis in the near future.
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