More MS news articles for Dec 2001

Illegal drug requires 'urgent' review

Dec 7, 2001
Belfast Telegraph

A LEADING a charity has called for research into the benefits of medicinal cannabis. The Medicinal Cannabis Research Foundation (MCRF), has found from initial research that people with MS who had severe bladder problems and who took non-smoked cannabis medicines have been helped by the drug.

While a number of trials are ongoing, the charity feels that the potential of cannabis to relieve conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis (MS) should not be ignored and that research needs to be urgently carried out.

Commenting on the potential of medicinal cannabis, Lord Rea, Lead Trustee for the MCRF commented:

"It is important to distinguish between the legislation for cannabis for recreational purposes and its legislation as a medicine.

"A large number of people have reported that cannabis helps them manage severe medical conditions, even when prescription medicines have failed. One patient with multiple sclerosis (MS) has told us their "life has changed from awful spasms to complete pain relief" and another patient with cerebral palsy that "the effects have been nothing short of a miracle."

"We believe that scientific research into the medicinal uses of cannabis is urgently needed to hasten an informed decision about making this medicine legally available to people in need."

Support for such a move, has come from South Belfast MP, Rev Martin Smyth:

"As I understand it there is a type of cannabis resin which can be of help to some people. I had been prepared years back, and the government accepted it, to support that if the scientific community confirmed it.

"There does seem to be a tendency with some who could afford it to have been purchasing it themselves and they found it gave some ease. I have not yet got pure scientific evidence how far this will help everyone and it is always the possibility that we raise the hopes of some only to see them dashed."

With the Government relaxing the law towards recreational cannabis, it is hoped that a decision will be made soon on the medicinal use of cannabis as a result of the various trials that are taking place.

2001 Copyright Belfast Telegraph Newspapers Ltd