More MS news articles for Oct 2001

Cannabis helps MS bladder control

Friday, 28 September, 2001, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK

Patients with advanced multiple sclerosis (MS) often suffer bladder problems - and cannabis may be able to help.

Early results of a clinical trial at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery suggest that the cannabis improves bladder complaints.

All the patients taking part were wheelchair users and no previous treatments had been able to improve their bladder problems.

Professor Clare Fowler, who is leading the trial, said: "Bladder dysfunction is a significant problem for many sufferers of advanced MS.

"The results show this is an effective treatment, which could improve quality of life, but further research is needed."

Tongue spray

The cannabis was provided in an under the tongue spray, and patients were able to take as much or as little as they liked, up to a maximum dose.

Paulene Winn, a patient taking part in the trial, said: "My bladder functioning is vastly improved.

"Previously I needed to empty my bladder 17 to 20 times every 24 hours.

"I was plagued with urgency, frequency and incontinence. Now I feel much more confident about going out and my bladder doesn't seem to rule my life."

The study was funded by the Medicinal Cannabis Research Foundation and the MS Research Trust.

This is just one of several trials testing extracts of cannabis against both other symptoms of MS, and other problems like cancer and post-operative pain.

Patients have reported that cannabis -often obtained illegally - can offer relief to symptoms such as muscle stiffness.