Multiple Sclerosis Treatment With Marijuana
Can MS be treated with Marijuana?
Clinical data reported in 2006 from an extended open-label study of 167 multiple sclerosis patients found that use of whole plant cannabinoid extracts relieved symptoms of pain, spasticity and bladder incontinence for an extended period of treatment (mean duration of study participants was 434 days) without requiring subjects to increase their dose. Results from a separate two-year open label extension trial in 2007 also reported that the administration of cannabis extracts was associated with long-term reductions in neuropathic pain in select MS patients. On average, patients in the study required fewer daily doses of the drug and reported lower median pain scores the longer they took it. These results would be unlikely in patients suffering from a progressive disease like MS unless the cannabinoid therapy was halting its progression, investigators have suggested.
In recent years, health regulators in Canada, Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom have approved the prescription use of plant cannabis extracts to treat symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Regulatory approval in the European Union and in the United States remains pending.
Multiple Sclerosis is an approved Category 1 Health Canada MMAR Condition
Medical Marijuana is NOT for everyone and is often a last resort for people that have tried a variety of the pharmaceuticals below with little relief or too many side effects. Strong anecdotal evidence exists for the support of medical marijuana in treating MS symptoms but scientific research has been hampered by government legislation. We strongly suggest you discuss the potential benefit of medical marijuana with your doctor or specialist.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a painful, debilitating disorder of the central nervous system. MS is unpredictable, affecting vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility.  There is no cure for MS. Symptoms vary considerably from person to person; however, one frequently noted symptom is spasticity, which causes pain, spasms, and loss of function. MS is an autoimmune disease, the exacerbations experienced with MS appear to be caused by abnormal immune activity that causes inflammation and the destruction of myelin (the protective covering of nerve fibers) in the brain or spinal cord.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Drugs commonly prescribed for muscle spasticity and tremor include Klonopin, Dantrium, Baclofen (Medtronic), Zanaflex, Klonopin (Clonazepam) and Valium (diazepam). These medications come with a list of side effects ranging from feeling lightheaded or drowsy, to slurred speech, blurred vision, changes in sexual drive and performance, gastrointestinal changes, muscle spasms and a fast or pounding heartbeat.
Benefits of Marijuana
Some benefits of medical marijuana that many MS patients have reported include improved:
MS Patients have reported that smoking medical marijuana reduces symptoms such as muscle stiffness and tremors, and allows for greater mobility Many studies of the pharmacology of marijuana have identified effects on motor systems of the central nervous system that have the potential of affecting tremor and spasticity. Moreover, marijuana has demonstrated effects on immune function that also may have the potential of reducing the autoimmune attack that is thought to be the underlying pathogenic process in MS.
Cannabinoids are chemicals that are found naturally in Marijuana. Researchers believe that these naturally found cannabinoids could create immune suppression. Much like steroids, but with fewer side effects, cannabinoids can “switch off” a portion of the immune response and bring down inflammation and hyperactivity of immune cells, possibly preventing or slowing some of the damage caused to the myelin by immune cells. The cannabinoids do this by interacting with the receptors on specific immune cells.
Sativex is a cannabis-based pharmaceutical product developed by GW Pharmaceuticals in 2005 for treating symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. It is composed mainly of two cannabanoids naturally found in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). It comes in the form of a mouth spray. It has been approved as adjunctive treatment for neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.  It has also been shown to help reduce spasticity, muscle spasms and sleep disturbances in MS patients. 
Please take a look at these interesting articles and books for further information on MS and the benefits of medical marijuana.
Wade et al. 2006. Long-term use of a cannabis-based medicine in the treatment of spasticity and other symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis 12: 639-645.
 Rog et al. 2007. Oromucosal delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol for neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis: an uncontrolled, open-label, 2-year extension trial. Clinical Therapeutics 29: 2068-2079.
 William McGuinness. “Marijuana mouth spray Sativex may hit shelves by 2013.” CBS News, January 26, 2012.
•Marijuana Chemical May Slow Multiple Sclerosis May 2009
•Cannabis truly helps multiple sclerosis sufferers September 2004
•Cannabinoids and Multiple Sclerosis August 2002
•Cannabis ‘helps MS sufferers’ March 2000
•Medical Marijuana: Reducing Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis Patients