Medical Marijuana and Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Medical Marijuana Offers Mild Relief for Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms and Is Safe—Mostly

A meta-analysis of 17 randomized, placebo-controlled trials found that medical marijuana provided mild relief from such multiple sclerosis symptoms as spasticity, pain, and bladder dysfunction. And overall, cannabinoids were well tolerated. Physicians who treat MS patients said that patients are asking about the drug but the impact on symptoms has been mixed.

A new meta-analysis of 17 randomized, placebo-controlled studies on medical marijuana for multiple sclerosis (MS) found the drug provided mild relief from spasticity, pain, and bladder dysfunction, and overall the drug was well tolerated.

The meta-analysis, published in the October 12 edition of JAMA Network Open, reviewed select trials comprising 3,161 patients, which compared the effect of cannabinoids — taken orally or oromucosally — and identified significant findings for spasticity, pain and bladder dysfunction.

Patients in the trials used a number of different cannabinoid-containing drugs. The clinical trials included assessments of oral cannabis extracts containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol from the cannabis sativa plant; of oromucosal cannabis extracts (nabiximols [Sativex]); and of dronabinol (Marinol) and nabilone (Cesamet), synthetic oral versions of THC.

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