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Patients With MS Are Using Cannabis To Treat Ongoing Symptoms

· Nov 2, 2021
Researchers suggest that the new data below taken from the recent study highlights the patterns and increase of cannabis use after the many law changes surrounding recreational and medical cann ...

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Now that we’re starting to unveil the many healing properties of cannabis, we’re also seeing countless studies that highlight the impact of the plant on specific conditions. More recently, the Longitudinal North American Research Committee on Multiple Scleriors Registry conducted a survey to examine how patients with MS are using cannabis to treat MS-related spasticity.

Researchers suggest that the new data below taken from the recent study highlights the patterns and increase of cannabis use after the many law changes surrounding recreational and medical cannabis and the excess of information about the plant’s healing properties.

“Interest in the use of cannabis for managing MS symptoms continues to increase as more data become available and access becomes easier,” said co-investigator Amber Salter, Ph.D., Washington University, at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Center’s 2021 Annual Meeting.

Within the 6934 registered participants who were invited to engage in the study, only 3249 (47%) partook. Most of these respondents (79%) were women, and the average age was around 61. 63% of these participants were currently being treated with disease-modifying therapies, while 31% reported using cannabis to treat their MS symptoms.

In terms of the percentages as to why these participants used cannabis, 80% said that spasticity was their main reason. In comparison, 69% used it for pain, 61% for sleep/insomnia, 36% for anxiety, 24% for depression, 18% for overactive bladder, 17% for nausea or gastrointestinal problems, 16% for migraine or headaches, 14% for tremors, and 6% for other purposes. Out of these cannabis users, 33% smoked it, 20% ate edibles, 12% used vapes, and 11% used concentrate tinctures.

To comment on the study and its relevance was Laura T. Safar, MD, vice-chair of Psychiatry at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She explained that the study’s findings are a pure reflection of what she sees within MS patients using cannabis in her practice.

“This is consistent with my general experience: A high percentage of my patients with MS are using cannabis with the goal of addressing their MS symptoms that way,” said Safar to Medscape Medical News.

“What seems new is a certain level of specificity in the information patients state, regardless of its accuracy. There is more technical information widely available about cannabis online and in the dispensaries. A lot of that information may not have been tested scientifically, but it is presented with an aura of truth,” she concluded.