The Growth Op reports
“There are a variety of symptom management medications and non-medical interventions that can manage symptoms, including cannabis for medical purposes and the Health Canada-approved, cannabis-derived drug Sativex,” the MS Society of Canada notes. In a 2016 study conducted by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canadians with MS most commonly used cannabis to address sleep problems (86 percent of reported users), pain (75 percent), anxiety (73 percent) and spasticity (68 percent).
Additionally, a review of cannabis use in people with MS and Parkinson’s disease, released in August 2017, found the following: cannabis users reported lower levels of neurological dysfunction; cannabis was reported to have beneficial effects on mood, memory and fatigue; and users report reducing the amount of prescription medications they are taking. That said, the study also found that cannabis may negatively affect balance in people with MS.
“There is good science to show cannabis is effective in controlling pain and spasticity in MS patients,” says Dr. Michael Verbora, chief medical officer for Aleafia Health Inc., which operates a network of medical clinics across the country, as well as cannabis cultivation and distribution facilities. “It may also offer slight improvements in functioning or mobility, and because many patients experience depression and anxiety, cannabis can help with mood, Dr. Verbora told The GrowthOp.
Sativex is a sub-lingual spray and, while effective, can be expensive, he notes. The effects of alternative cannabis oils and capsule-based products, which are swallowed, are also long-lasting and provide pain relief through the day. If needed, cannabis vaporizers can be used to counter pain flares.
“Unfortunately, none of these options have been proven yet to reduce the number of flare-ups or change the progression of the disease,” Dr. Verbora reports.
A survey last year of MS patients across North America, results of which appeared in Neurology Clinical Practice, show many are turning to cannabis or cannabis-based pharmaceuticals to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Of the 5,400 respondents, 42 percent have or are currently using marijuana (in some form) for their MS, 47 percent are considering it, and 20 percent have spoken with their healthcare provider about its use.
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