More MS news articles for Feb 2002

Patient backs medical cannabis use

Monday, 18 February, 2002, 15:00 GMT

Hundreds of people with multiple sclerosis are using medicinal cannabis to treat their condition under a UK-wide trial.

One of these is Jane Pengelley from Plymouth, who says she hopes if the drug proves useful, it will be made available to those who would benefit.

Since developing multiple sclerosis, she has seen the quality of her life deteriorate and she is unable to walk or use her hands.

She said: "We are not talking about a cure for MS but anything that makes life a little bit more bearable would be hopeful, anything, because we don't have a cure at the moment.

"Anything would be helpful, after going from not being able to give yourself anything that helps you through life, it would just be a huge benefit."

She hopes those in positions of power who argue over whether or not to legalise cannabis, try to see beyond the moral issues and look more closely at the medical benefits.

She said: "A lot of these people who say things are not involved in the way of going through having to fight against anything but they make maybe high-handed decisions about people like myself or people like anybody else who may benefit from such things."

She is optimistic that attitudes might change in the next few years if the health benefits of cannabis are proven.

She said: "I'm just hopeful, but not ever so hopeful.

"It's just a possibility I don't know if it will help me or anyone else and that's what we are trying to find out here, whether it's helpful or not, we just don't know."

The results of the Medical Research Council's trials are expected by the end of the year and will be used by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in carrying out its appraisal of the drugs.