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Condition Report: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) & Spinal Cord Injury

September 16, 2019

OVERVIEW

In 2017, the National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine released a comprehensive report, “The Health Effects of Cannabis & Cannabinoids”, based on the research that had been done to date. Following that valuable report, we’ve been providing weekly Condition Reports on 2018 research for each of the conditions cited in that report, such as chronic pain, cancer, anorexia, and more – these reports seek to provide evidence for both medical benefits and risks for each condition.

Because prohibitive cannabis regulations have, for years, limited the amount of available information, we believe it is important to educate the public about up-to-date research. Although medical cannabis usage is still both controversial and inconclusive, the World Health Organization has urged for nations to remove cannabis from Schedule IV from their list of drug scheduling, which would allow the protection for researchers to conduct more comprehensive studies.

Canneconomy.com and its affiliates aim to provide general information about cannabis consumption in the hopes for policymakers, users, researchers, and the general public to make informed decisions about cannabis and its derived products. In order to do this properly, we must seek and report the best available research for a better understanding of cannabis as it takes on the medical field.

 

THERAPEUTIC FINDINGS: MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS & SPINAL CORD INJURY

Spasticity is a chronic Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptom that deepens with disease progression and dramatically worsens the quality of life of the patient. It is also associated with pain, impaired sleep, dysfunction of the bladder, and is strongly associated with anxiety and depression development. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) controls neuronal function and inflammation, with receptors CB1 and CB2 mediating synaptic plasticity in the central nervous system demonstrating early proof of the importance of the ECS in neuronal injury (Berliner, Collins and Coker, 2018).

A recently conducted double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial compared cannabis and placebo patient groups for MS treatment-resistant muscle spasticity (Markova et al., 2018). Marijuana used as add-on therapy, more specifically the use of Sativex, resulted in more than doubling the number of patients with MS who responded positively to treatment and significantly decreased spasticity by the second week of treatment (Markova et al., 2018). It also improved spasticity-related measures, including pain reduction and less disruption of sleep.

Markova et al. (2018) argue that it remains unknown whether cannabis alone can alleviate MS symptoms, but either way, the study strongly supports the clinical integration of cannabis-based treatment strategies for improvement of MS symptoms.

Hawley et al. (2018) published a systematic review that examined randomized controlled trials related to MS symptoms with the most substantial evidence base. Hawley et al. confirmed that patients taking cannabinoids were more likely to achieve pain reduction of at least 30%, whereas Frenchin (2018) examined MS patients using CBD nasal spray to treat MS symptoms. The study (Frenchin, 2018) included a 16-point survey, which evaluated the development in the daily activities of MS patients receiving CBD spray and concluded that this type of medication resulted in a significant spasticity improvement, number of spasms daily, pain, sleep disorders and bladder dysfunction. In total, 96.9% of patients reported positive feedback with CBD spray, and 78.1% of patients were positive regarding its overall tolerability (Frenchin, 2018).