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Breaking: Clinical Trial Data Yet Again Affirms Cannabis’ Efficacy

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 14, 2012

    Is it any wonder that the US government fights tooth-and-nail to hinder researchers’ attempts to conduct clinical trials assessing the therapeutic utility of cannabis as a medicine? After all, each and every time the federal government begrudgingly allows for such studies they’re faced with credibility-shattering results like this:

    Marijuana relieves muscles tightness, pain of multiple sclerosis: Study
    via the Toronto Star

    Smoking marijuana can relieve muscle tightness, spasticity (contractions) and pain often experienced by those with multiple sclerosis, says research out of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

    The findings, just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, included a controlled trial with 30 participants to understand whether inhaled cannabis would help complicated cases where existing pharmaceuticals are ineffective or trigger adverse side effects.

    MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord.

    The disease attacks the myelin, the protective covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system, and — among other symptoms — can cause loss of balance, impaired speech, extreme fatigue, double vision and paralysis.

    The average age of the research participants was 50 years with 63 per cent of the study population female.

    More than half the participants needed walking aids and 20 per cent used wheelchairs.

    Rather than rely on self-reporting by patients regarding their muscle spasticity — a subjective measure — health professionals rated each patient’s joints on the modified Ashworth scale, a common objective tool to evaluate intensity of muscle tone.

    The researchers found that the individuals in the group that smoked cannabis experienced an almost one-third decrease on the Ashworth scale — 2.74 points from a baseline score of 9.3 — meaning spasticity improved, compared to the placebo group.

    As well, pain scores decreased by about 50 per cent.

    We saw a beneficial effect of smoked cannabis on treatment-resistant spasticity and pain associated with multiple sclerosis among our participants,” says Dr. Jody Corey-Bloom of the university’s department of neuroscience.

    To those familiar with medicinal cannabis research, the results are hardly surprising. After all, Sativex — an oral spray containing plant cannabis extracts — is already legal by prescription to treat MS-related symptoms in over a dozen countries, including Canada, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Spain. Further, long-term assessments of the drug indicate that in addition to symptom management, cannabinoids may also play a role in halting the course of the disease.

    Nevertheless, the National MS Society — like the US government — shares little enthusiasm for cannabis medicine, stating, “Studies completed thus far have not provided convincing evidence that marijuana or its derivatives provide substantiated benefits for symptoms of MS.”

    Patient advocacy organizations, like the MS Society, have a responsibility to represent the interests of their constituents and to advise practitioners regarding best treatment practices. Why then does this responsibility not extend to patients who use cannabis as an alternative treatment therapy or to those that might one day potentially benefit from its use?

    33 Responses to “Breaking: Clinical Trial Data Yet Again Affirms Cannabis’ Efficacy”

    1. jbkorn02 says:

      Second study released today that shows how much the US is trying to stop any medicine even made from marijuana. Even if this one doesn’t get you high. Other than money they are getting from lobbyists to keep it illegal there is absolutly no reason for it. I emailed the whole white house staff about this study like I do when anything comes out but they somehow never write me back.

    2. Patrick says:

      Well surprise, surprise! It’s good to see that Canada is taking such major steps toward marijuana education. Along with the R v. Mernagh case which is still in deliberation after the federal appeal earlier this month, we’re all making progress, moving ever closer to our final goal; legalization. All of this, as well as the various legalization amendments in the US that are to be voted on in november makes legalization seem, at least to me, as a not-so-radical proposition that isn’t too far away. Keep at it everyone. A million soldiers make an army!

      [Paul Armentano responds: To clarify, this study took place at UC San Diego. The results, however, were published in a Canadian journal.

    3. Smokey Joe says:

      This is what happens when “First, do no harm” got replaced by “First, get their billing address”!

    4. Galileo Galilei says:

      To purposefully thwart the advance of medical science is a crime against humanity. Symptom relief is bad enough, but when it comes to ‘halting the course of the disease’, such cruelty is utterly untenable.

    5. russ says:

      Fools. All the studies are the same, its all good green. When will they realize… when!?

    6. seth forbis says:

      ms charities are businesses, they don’t want a cure or they will be out of their administrative fees that they collect as charity executives, whenever a study starts to look promising, they cut the funding and move it to a less productive study…medical research charities are a scam and work hand in hand with big pharma to ensure no “non patentable” treatments for anything get released, as they would cost big pharma profits…

      don’t believe me? cancer has already been cured, but hidden away because the medical industry couldn’t survive without income from the hundreds of billions of dollars invested in chemo equipment and medication. watch the documentary here

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qG_ZWs04es

    7. Cory says:

      WOW! The organization that exists to help MS research and patients along turns a cheek to a beneficial medication for the simple reason that its marijuana? That is an extremely disappointing and inhumane position to take. They should be ashamed. These people are suffering and taking medicines that are running other vital parts of their bodies… What a sad story to read.

    8. Calcula7ed says:

      Indeed and it has potential for so much more. Limitless commodity that any “green thumb” can grow naturally on their own. NORML and everyone else knows where I stand on this issue and it’s purpose as a neuro-protectant. If you do the research you’ll find that inside of every brain, yes even yours prohibs, their are cannabinoid receptors. Now the question is, is why are the powers that be keeping this beneficial commodity from those that need it and those that believe in it’s nature as a positive/plus. I don’t think I have to go into detail. Search within yourselves and you’ll see this whole “madness” as exactly that but its not the “reefer” that causes it, it’s greed and control. I do appreciate those that research and give their expert opinions, you truly are the one’s that will prove once and for all what some have always held to be self-evident. Thank you for all that you do and continue to do. Everyone if we really want this it can happen and in my heart of hearts I firmly believe one day it will be so. Good day and god bless us and our endeavors.

    9. Stephen Daniel says:

      “The more things change the more they stay the same”.

    10. LOL tru dat!

      This is what happens when “First, do no harm” got replaced by “First, get their billing address”!

    11. D says:

      Isn’t it about time to get the human rights groups involved in legalization?

    12. Somedood says:

      You know what. I hate religion with a passion and advocate science with equal passion but if anything was to convince me that there is a Devil. The prohibition on marijuana does.

    13. Alice M says:

      I have a long time friend that has PPMS (Primary Progressive MS)…no remissions, just get progressively worse. She uses marijuana to relive the pain and stiffness, and now is dealing with scoliosis as well. Her life is miserable enough…without putting her in jail for a few ounces of MJ, yet in our state, possession is considered a prison offense. Why can’t they just be fined and let it go. This woman is harming no one, and the marijuana makes her life a bit easier!

    14. [...] Paul Armentano | NORML Rate this: Share this:EmailTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Posted [...]

    15. AndyT says:

      These studies and proof that marijuana is a medical miracle is more proof that the government lies and steals from us everyday. We need to stand up for our rights and fight for our freedoms…

    16. smokinplenty says:

      This is no surprise at all. There are similar results out there for hundreds of studies that have been done. THE U.S. WILL NEVER RISK ITS PROFITS IN THE NAME OF CURING PEOPLE! Get a clue people. Cannabis will never be legal! Profit proft profit, that’s all that matters in this country!

    17. Dave Evans says:

      Folks, the “government” doesn’t make any money by keeping pot illegal, but it does make a lot of money for other people by illegally prosecuting us for a harmless plant.

      All the government does is waste money, our money on marijuana harassment. Hey, isn’t harassment illegal? Not if it is for marijuana prohibition…?

      Makes no sense/cents, no dollars, just an ignorant waste of time and life.

    18. jerry frazee says:

      it is ok to buy alcohol,get falling down puking drunk,but it is not ok to smoke a joint. what is wrong with our government? i have been smoking for 30yrs. it is a very good pain reviler,and stress reducer. our government needs to wake up and give the american people what they want.

    19. [...] Read the full article « Medical Marijuana Supporter Wins Oregon Ag Primary [...]

    20. FrankV says:

      Very well put!!!

    21. It is what we need and want. Govt is being lead around by their noses by abolishners just like during prohibition.

    22. Anne says:

      Using Vitamin B12; Vitamin B-Complex with Supplements and or Food will help MS alot; MMJ helps people take Supplement and Nutrients

    23. Ray DiPasquale says:

      @Smokey Joe has got it right on the money!

    24. Denny says:

      The us gov is just a coven of crooks,cheats and liars.it is fine with all sorts of death as there is big money in death. Big money is all it cares about,no matter what.that the national ms society in this article goes along with the big lie is criminal.if I could afford to,I would vacate this goddamned country,the “good ol’ USA”.fuck it and fuck it’s ignorant,greed-driven death dealing culture.it’s antipathy towards cannabis is just the tip of a great iceberg of evil.
      Ask all the millions dead around the world because of US capitalist imperialism how “exceptional” the USA is!

    25. The United Nations committee on drug policy world-wide declared the “war on drugs” a miserable failure having cost trillions of dollars with no reduction of use. The money could be used to pay public servants who have taken pay cuts and loss of pensions and other benefits. Those brave men and women who risk their lives going into burning buildings, for example, have been bleed dry financially and still continue to dedicate themselves to saving lives and property. Finallly, while politicians fail to see the harm in continuing same policies that don’t work, kids who have inter-net can find recipes for intoxicants they can make at home, I.e. LSD and methamphetimines. Do they need more reasons to end prohibition?

    26. Jim says:

      When a good cause becomes an institution, fully grown, with bureaucracy and pecking order, there is no way that those people would find it in their own interests to ACTUALLY END MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, or endorse medicines that are free by nature, than those supported by money, a human convention, as in, we made up the concept of money.

      Be kind. Live and let live.

    27. It just shows you how SICK the U.S government is halting any medical research that can save lives is just disgusting. Its just going to be a vicious cycle until someone is overthrown!

    28. SmokeScreen says:

      Nevertheless, the National MS Society — like the US government — shares little enthusiasm for cannabis medicine, stating, “Studies completed thus far have not provided convincing evidence that marijuana or its derivatives provide substantiated benefits for symptoms of MS.”

      Then by extension, studies completed thus far have not provided convincing evidence that marijuana does NOT provide substantiated benefits for symptoms of MS. So what’s the problem in letting people use it if they so choose?

    29. blazin84 says:

      I think its ridiculous the US wouldn’t want to benefit from marijuana Taxation over fight Against it/the criminals who traffic it, and the American Citizens who want it legalized. It is becoming too much and if this is the land of the free we are being robbed of that being true.

    30. Lawana Davis says:

      I’ll be 62 yrs. old in 2 mo. & I’m so disappointed that the legalization of marijuana didn’t make the ballot this year. I take numerous pain & other medications & I expect to die early from liver or kidney failure. The legalization could save my life as well as many others on prescription medication! I feel I’m on “legal” hard drugs when I know for a fact marijuana would replace those! Once again the greedy people of this world are taking away my choice!

    31. Lawana Davis says:

      Furthermore; I’m afraid to drive for fear of getting a DUI! I’m on the verge of breaking the law to save my life.

    32. [...] PostScript doesn’t think that’s true — she finds human clinical trials happening in America — but it looks like they have to be through the National Institutes of [...]

    33. [...] PostScript doesn’t think that’s true — she finds human clinical trials happening in America — but it looks like they have to be through the National Institutes of [...]

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