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More MS news articles for March 2003

Marijuana Medicinal Properties Confirmed, Again

Science/UK: Cannabis extracts effective in reducing pain and spasticity

March 3rd, 2003

Medical cannabis received even more confirmation recently. The International Association for Cannabis as Medicine (IACM) in Germany reported on Sunday that cannabis extracts are efficacious reducing "pain and spasticity" in research entitled "A preliminary controlled study to determine whether whole-plant cannabis extracts can improve intractable neurogenic symptoms" [Wade DT, Robson P, House H, Makela P, Aram J. Clin Rehabil 2003;17:18-26] The IACM reported:

A THC rich cannabis extract, a cannabidiol (CBD) rich extract and a cannabis extract with a CBD/THC ratio of 1:1 were effective in symptoms of 24 patients, of whom 18 suffered from multiple sclerosis, four from spinal cord injury, one from brachial plexus damage and one from limb amputation.

The study was conducted as consecutive series of double-blind, placebo-controlled single-patient cross-over trials with two- week treatment protocols at hospitals in Oxford as part of studies by GW Pharmaceuticals. The trials started with an open label period where patients received the CBD/THC extract to get familiar with the procedure and to ensure they could tolerate the extract.

Three patients withdrew from the study due to side effects during the open label period and one patient did not complete all treatment periods. In the 20 patients who completed the study there was a significant improvement of pain with the CBD extract compared to placebo assessed with visual analogue scales, a significant improvement of pain, spasm, spasticity and appetite with the THC extract, and a significant improvement of spasm and sleep with the CBD/THC extract. Impaired bladder control was improved in some patients with this symptom.

Scientists concluded that "cannabis medicinal extracts can improve neurogenic symptoms unresponsive to standard treatments. Unwanted side effects are predictable and generally well tolerated."

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