Cannabis Spray Beats MS Spasms


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People with MS can get significant relief from spasms and stiffness using a cannabis based medicine, claim researchers.

A new study shows Sativex - the first cannabis-based medicine permitted for use in Britain - works for as many as four out of five multiple sclerosis sufferers.

There was a 30 per cent improvement in symptoms for two out of five patients, according to a report in the European Journal Of Neurology.

Professor Christine Collin, of the Royal Berkshire And Battle NHS Trust, Reading, said spasticity, which causes spasms, is one of the most difficult MS symptoms to treat.

In the six-week study of 189 patients, half were prescribed Sativex and half given a placebo, or dummy treatment, while also taking their normal medication.

Sativex was significantly better than the placebo at relieving spasticity and uncontrollable muscle contractions.

The cannabis-based mouth spray was developed by British-based GW Pharmaceuticals after some MS sufferers broke the law to use the illegal drug, but is not yet licensed as a medicine in Britain.

However, patients can get Sativex if their doctor agrees to prescribe it on a 'named patient' basis, in which they take personal responsibility for using an unlicensed drug.

For several years, many of Britain's 85,000 MS sufferers have campaigned to be allowed to use cannabis to ease spasticity and pain.

'Effective relief of spasticity is extremely important to people with MS,' says Christine Jones, chief executive of the MS Trust.

'It is not only distressing and painful, but can have a negative impact on the quality of life. The results of this study add to the growing body of evidence that cannabis based medicines can be effective in helping to relieve this common symptom of MS.' GW is the only company legally to develop and produce cannabis-derived treatments.

The company grows 40,000 plants a year at a secret site in the British countryside.

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Copyright: 2007 Daily Mail; London (UK)
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