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World's Biggest MS Trial Shows Benefits Of Cannabis

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#1 Guest_joey_*

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 07:43 PM

Despite spin that these results are 'mixed', this is an important study to cite and applaud in your lobbying efforts, showing that marijuana is effective in helping a significant majority of MS patients with pain alleviation and increased mobility.

Pubdate: Fri, 07 Nov 2003
Source: Independent (UK)
Copyright: 2003 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Contact: [email protected]
Author: Maxine Frith, Social Affairs Correspondent


Results from the world's largest study into the medical effects of cannabis
have shown that the drug can reduce pain and improve the lives of people
with multiple sclerosis. Scientists concluded that patients for whom other
treatments have failed should be given tablets made from cannabis derivatives.

The three-year study, published in the medical journal The Lancet today, is
the first clinical appraisal of whether cannabis-derived drugs can help
treat MS.

Mike O'Donovan, chief executive of the Multiple Sclerosis Society said:
"These improvements to quality of life can make a significant difference to
people with MS. On the evidence now available, the MS Society believes
those who might benefit should be able to have treatment prescribed on the

Patients say that smoking the drug reduces symptoms such as muscle
stiffness and tremors, and gives them greater mobility. Pharmaceutical
companies are working urgently to develop drugs using cannabinoids, the
natural chemicals found in cannabis which appear to soothe pain and
alleviate muscle stiffness.

About 85,000 people suffer from MS in Britain, and it is the most common
neurological disease affecting young adults in the Western world.

Researchers from the University of Plymouth tested more than 600 patients
with MS, giving some of them cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the
others a placebo. The groups were not told whether they were taking THC or
the placebo.

When the researchers used standard clinical tests, they found little
evidence that THC reduced muscle stiffness. But in interviews, 60 per cent
of the THC patients said they had less muscle stiffness, compared with 46
per cent of the placebo group. Fifty-four per cent of the THC group said
their pain was reduced, compared with 37 per cent of those taking the
placebo. Twelve per cent of those on THC found it easier to walk a short
distance, compared with 4 per cent of the other group.

Dr John Zajicek, the lead researcher, said: "Our findings provide some
evidence that cannabinoids could be clinically useful in treatment of
symptoms related to multiple sclerosis, but more work is necessary."

Professor Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council
which funded the study, said: "This work underlines the importance of
funding large-scale clinical trials of possible treatments so the evidence
can be weighed up."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said:"It is important to try to evaluate
the claims on a proper scientific basis ... If the benefits of a
cannabis-based medicine were to be scientifically demonstrated, the
Government would be willing to amend the misuse of drugs controls to allow
the prescribing of such a medicine."

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#2 natura



  • Expired Member
  • 106 posts

Posted 07 November 2003 - 08:45 PM

Anybody tried Betaseron® (Interferon beta-1b) ???

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