Is Medical Marijuana Really Effective? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/6/03

Is Medical Marijuana Really Effective?

News that talk show host Montel Williams was found in possession of medical Marijuana has sparked some interest in whether that drug could improve the life of patients like Montel, who have Multiple Sclerosis.

Apparently, the therapy has been used by some patients to relieve the muscle stiffness and spastic movements caused by the neurological disorder.

But now, a British study of more than 600 people finds that overall, medical Marijuana did not improve those symptoms any more than a placebo, but the therapy did show some relief in patients reporting fewer muscle aches.

The study tested an oral form of Cannabis as well as a synthetic form of the drug called THC. Researchers say it's too early to come to a conclusion about the drug because the therapy was not compared to other treatments, and they note that Marijuana cigarettes were not part of the study.

The researchers say until more studies are done, medical Marijuana should be considered only when other treatments fail. Multiple Sclerosis is thought to be an auto immune disease that affects the central nervous system. MS can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, fatigue, memory problems, and even blindness. These symptoms can be permanent or may come and go.

Approximately 400,000 Americans are living with MS, and every week about 200 people are diagnosed. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Plymouth, UK and is published in the British journal Lancet.

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