MMJ: National MS Society Takes Half-Step Toward Recognizing Therapeutic Uses

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The National MS Society has released an expert opinion paper that marijuana has the potential to treat MS symptoms and limit the progression of the disease, but stopped short of recommending that MS patients use the drug.

“Although it is clear that cannabinoids have potential both for the management of MS symptoms such as pain and spasticity, as well as for neuroprotection, the Society cannot at this time recommend that medical marijuana be made widely available to people with MS for symptom management,” the society concluded. “This situation might change, should better data become available that clearly demonstrate benefit.”

The society called for future clinical trials on methods of administration that rapidly deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream, such as vaporization. It also called for clinical trials to study medical marijuana’s potential to slow the progression of the disease. It cited “anecdotal reports from patients…that cannabis reduces the frequency of their MS attacks.”

With clinical data already reported showing that whole plant cannabinoid extracts relieved pain, spasticity, and incontentinence, more clinical studies ongoing, and countless anecdotal accounts from patients, some suggest the society is being overly cautious.

“The MS Society’s recommendations are a positive step, but they don’t go far enough. Surveys indicate that as many as one out of two MS patients use cannabis therapeutically, yet this report does nothing to challenge these patients’ legal status as criminals,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, in a statement responding to the expert opinion.

Still, it is progress for the MS Society. It was only two years ago that the society, finally heeding the pleas of the people it is supposed to serve, first funded medical marijuana clinical trials. Before that, the MS Society had been indifferent, if not hostile, to medical marijuana. One half-step at a time.

News Hawk: PFlynn – http://www.420magazine.com/
Source: StoptheDrugWar.org
Copyright: 2008 StoptheDrugWar.org
Contact: mailto:drcnet@drcnet.org
Website: Medical Marijuana: National MS Society Takes Half-Step Toward Recognizing Therapeutic Uses | Stop the Drug War (DRCNet)