A new study, that was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, says marijuana may relieve some symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego gave 30 participants either marijuana or placebo cigarettes to smoke over a matter of days. Those given marijuana had less pain and reduced muscle stiffness. A few participants who withdrew early from the study reported feeling uncomfortably high, dizzy or fatigue. But researchers say there were no serious negative effects.
Sixty-three percent of study participants were women, and over half required the use of devices to assist in walking, with 20 percent using a wheelchair. The average participant age was 50. “We found that smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in reducing symptoms and pain in patients with treatment-resistant spasticity, or excessive muscle contractions,” Reports said. Patients reported 50 percent less pain while using marijuana, and tests that “graded the intensity of muscle tone by measuring such things as resistance in range of motion and rigidity” showed marked improvements in the cannabis users.
UCSD researchers are calling for a larger, longer term study to confirm their findings and determine whether a lower cannabis dosage can achieve the desired physical benefits without the impact on cognitive function.