Cannabis May Have Long-Term Benefit for MS Sufferers

Multiple Sclerosis a disease in which immune system cellsdestroy the myelin sheath that protects the nerve cells in thebrain and spinal cord, affects about 1 million peopleworldwide.  A study conducted by the Peninsula Medical Schoolin England found that cannabis- based treatments have longer- termbenefits for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Some tactics currently used are bone marrowtransplant and cannabinoids, which have been used in medicine forthousand of years.  Before, there was no scientific evidencethat marijuana aided patients that suffered from Multiple Sclerosisbut now this recent study proves that marijuana relievesspasticity, an increase in the muscle tone due to hyperexcitability of thestretch reflex.

“Controlled studies show that many MS patientsare convinced that marijuana relieves their spasticity andpain.  One survey reported that 97 percent of MS patientsreported using marijuana to relieve one or more of their MSsymptoms, but it is important to note that the target population ofthis survey was marijuana users.”  Marijuana is also used forpatients with spinal cord injuries as well.

Bone marrow transplants is also a tactic usedfor patients with MS. Multiple Sclerosis Current Status andStrategies for the Future, a text written by Janet E. Joy andRichard B. Johnson, Jr. states that bone marrow transplants areinfluenced by many patients and disease- related factors such asage, disease stage and prior treatment.  However many diseasestreated with transplantation are uncommon.

Recent laws have banned the medicinal use ofmarijuana, which has prevented some Americans suffering with MSfrom getting the advanced treatment that may help relieve theirsuffering.  Dr. John Zajicek of the Peninsula Medical Schoolat the Universities of Exeter and Southwestern England states that”In the short term study there was some evidence of cannabinoidsalleviating symptoms of multiple sclerosis; in the longer termthere is a suggestion of a more useful beneficial effect, which wasnot clear at the initial stage.”

Last year the Netherlands became the world’sfirst country to make cannabis available as a prescription drug forcancer, HIV, and MS patients.  In the United States, it isused to treat weight loss in AIDS patients and nausea and vomitingin cancer sufferers.  Cannabis may have long- term benefit forMS patients.