Review article examines cannabis as a treatment for multiple sclerosis

The authors of this review article are representatives from the Saint James School of Medicine in Illinois and the School of Natural Sciences at Kean University in New Jersey. Their review article, “Neurological Benefits, Clinical Challenges, and Neuropathologic Promise of Medical Marijuana: A Systematic Review of Cannabinoid Effects in Multiple Sclerosis and Experimental Models of Demyelination,” was published in the journal Biomedicines on February 24 and analyzes 28 different studies related to multiple sclerosis. These final studies were chosen from a pool of 119 eligible articles for consideration in this review.

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis often include fatigue, impaired mobility, impaired speech, chronic neuropathic pain, anxiety, depression, and a range of other effects. In their review, the researchers state that patients are dissatisfied with the current treatments available for their condition, which motivates researchers “to seek complementary remedies in hopes of preventing relapses and worsening disability.”

Fourteen of the 28 studies involved the use of animal models while exploring the effects of cannabis. Overall, the study authors determined that “the combined experimental results adequately demonstrate that cannabinoid treatments are effective” in decreasing a variety of symptoms. The authors determined that the studies were promising but cannot replace testing in human subjects. “While internal validity was very good in preclinical studies because the experiments were well designed and well controlled, external validity in animal studies is less certain due to differences in cannabinoid systems between species that can affect safety, dose-response, tolerability and homeostasis.”

The researchers also assessed 14 human studies, which used Sativex®, which is a cannabis-based oral spray approved for multiple sclerosis in the EU, UK and Canada, but not yet in the US. -United. “The growing body of moderate-quality evidence on the safety and efficacy of cannabinoid treatment using 1:1 THC/CBD mixtures has led to its approval in some countries for the management of spasticity, pain and bladder dysfunction in MS,” the authors. wrote. “Our assessments are consistent with others, finding that the magnitude of effects on short-term neurological outcomes in MS patients is small, limited, or moderate, and that benefits are more easily detected by subjective measures rather than ‘goals.’

Nine of the studies analyzed the effectiveness of cannabis on muscle spasms, five assessed cannabis and pain, three examined lower urinary tract function, and three explored sleep quality.

The authors of this review conclude that, as with most other research initiatives involving cannabis, although there is promising evidence that cannabis can help treat multiple sclerosis and a variety of symptoms, other studies are necessary. “Future studies are recommended to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of cannabinoid effects on MS lesions and to assess whether medical marijuana can accelerate remyelination and delay the accumulation of long-term disability.”

The National MS Society states that there are 2.3 million people who suffer from multiple sclerosis worldwide and more than one million people suffer from the disease in the United States. The organisation’s position on medical cannabis is supportive and also calls for more research to strengthen the evidence for cannabis as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. “The [National MS] The company supports the rights of people with MS to work with their healthcare provider to access cannabis for medical purposes in accordance with legal regulations in states where such use has been approved. Additionally, the Society supports the need for more research to better understand the potential benefits and risks of cannabis and its derivatives as a treatment for MS and its symptoms.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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