EVERYTHING MEDICAL & MORE
Welcome to our mini-section devoted wholly to medicinal strains, news, uses, developments, activism, politics everything and anything, really, that is medically related to marijuana. This is your Cannabis Clinic!
Benefits of Marijuana for MS Patients Evident
Not that we didn’t already know this, but recent news regarding cannabis use in the treatment of multiple sclerosis has begun to be extensively discussed in the medical community. Science has already shown that cancer patients, glaucoma patients and others can benefit from medical marijuana, and now a new analysis shows that it can help treat MS as well, with patients finding relief from the muscle spasms that are a hallmark of the debilitating autoimmune disease.
"The therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in MS appears to be comprehensive and should be given considerable attention,” said lead researcher Dr. Shaheen Lakhan, executive director of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation. This is particularly important because, as the researchers noted in their review: "Spasticity, an involuntary increase in muscle tone or rapid muscle contractions, is one of the more common and distressing symptoms of MS."
For their review, Dr. Lakhan and his colleague, Marie Rowland, examined the results of six studies in which marijuana was used by MS patients. Five of the trials showed that marijuana reduced their spasms and improved mobility, according to a report published in the online journal BMC Neurology.
"Pharmaceutical treatment may reduce spasticity, but may also be ineffective, difficult to obtain or associated with intolerable side effects," the researchers said. "We found evidence that cannabis-plant extracts may provide therapeutic benefit for MS spasticity symptoms."
Specifically, the studies under review evaluated the cannabis extracts delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and found that both extracts may provide significant relief for MS patients. "There is also evidence that cannabinoids may provide neuro-protective and anti-inflammatory benefits as well for MS patients," the report continued, adding that the careful monitoring of both symptom relief and side effects is crucial in determining an individual’s optimal dose: "Considering the distress and limitations spasticity brings to individuals with MS, it would be important to carefully weigh the potential for side effects with the potential for symptom relief, especially in view of the relief reported in subjective assessment."
The Obama administration announced last fall that it would no longer prosecute medical-marijuana users or suppliers, provided they obey the laws of their state when using the drug for medicinal purposes.
For more information on multiple sclerosis, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at www.nationalmssociety.org.
More Families Using Pot to Treat Autistic Children
Last fall (Oct. '09 HT), we wrote about a New England woman who had obtained medical approval to treat her nine-year-old autistic son with pot food. Now the trend is continuing on the other side of the country.
California mother Mieko Hester-Perez says that her son Joey was malnourished and out of control before she began feeding him marijuana brownies. “He was 68 pounds and 10 years old,” HesterPerez said in an interview. “You could see all his bones. He had extremely aggressive behavior. He was running out of our home. He was unstable.”
While the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the use of marijuana to treat children with autism, saying that it has not been tested and could be dangerous, many doctors believe that the benign substance really can help.
Hester-Perez cited anecdotal evidence that she found on Internet discussion forums and elsewhere, which she used to convince Joey’s psychiatrist to write him a prescription for the drug, which is legal for medical use in California.
"I don't think my son was going to die—I know my son was going to die,” she said. "I heard about this treatment and made sure it was a choice I was comfortable with and his doctor was comfortable with.” Hester-Perez added that her son’s condition has greatly improved since the cannabis treatment began.*
Got medical questions? Pass 'em over to Nico at nicofdhightimes.com.