Cannabis can reduce spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. A systematic review, published in the open access journal BMC Neurology, found that five out six randomized controlled trials reported a reduction in spasticity and an improvement in mobility.
Shaheen Lakhan and Marie Rowland from the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, Los Angeles, USA, searched for trials evaluating the cannabis extracts delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). According to Lakhan, "We found evidence that combined THC and CBD extracts may provide therapeutic benefit for MS spasticity symptoms".
Spasticity, involuntary muscle tension or contraction, is a common symptom of MS. Many existing therapies for this symptom are ineffective, difficult to obtain, or associated with intolerable side effects. In this study, reported incidence of side effects from cannabis, such as intoxication, varied greatly depending on the amount of cannabis needed to effectively limit spasticity, but the researchers note that side effects were also seen in the placebo groups. They add, "Considering the distress and limitations spasticity brings to individuals with MS, it is important to carefully weigh the potential for side effects with the potential for symptom relief ".
Lakhan concludes, "The therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in MS is comprehensive and should be given considerable attention".
Notes to Editors:
1. Whole plant cannabis extracts in the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis: a systematic review
Shaheen E Lakhan and Marie Rowland
BMC Neurology (in press)
During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/2170402582848932_article.pdf?random=150676
After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcneurol/
Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.
Article citation and URL available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org on the day of publication
2. BMC Neurology is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of the prevention, diagnosis and management of neurological disorders, as well as related molecular genetics, pathophysiology, and epidemiology. BMC Neurology (ISSN 1471-2377) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, CAS, EMBASE, Scopus, PsycINFO, Current Contents, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.
3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.