Multiple Sclerosis

Based on the studies to date, it is the opinion of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Medical Advisory Board that there are currently insufficient data to recommend marijuana or its derivatives as a treatment for MS. Long-term use of marijuana may be associated with significant serious side effects. In addition, other well-tested, FDA-approved drugs are available, such as baclofen and tizanidine, to reduce spasticity in MS.  The MS Information Sourcebook, produced by the National MS Society. Last updated October 2005

A team of scientists reports that marijuana does not improve the often painful symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Their study found that a synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, and a plant extract were no better at relieving severe spasticity or muscle contraction compared with an inactive placebo. Both THC and plant-extract treatment worsened the participants’ global impression. Neurology 2002;58:1404-14O7, “Safety, tolerability, and efficacy of orally administered cannabinoids in MS,” J. Killestein, MD, E. L.J. Hoogervorst, MD, M. Reif, PhD, N. F. Kalkers, MD, A.  C. van Loenen, PhD, P. G.M. Staats, MA, R. W. Gorter, MD PhD, B. M.J. Uitdehaag, MD PhD and C. H. Polman, MD PhD