Marijuana use is a contentious subject and arguments still abound when it comes to whether it should be allowed for use as a medication to help relieve symptoms of certain diseases and conditions.
According to a release published by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), "certain forms of medical marijuana can help treat some symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), but do not appear to be helpful in treating drug-induced (levodopa) movements in Parkinson's disease. Not enough evidence was was found to show if medical marijuana is helpful in treating motor problems in Huntington's disease, tics in Tourette syndrome, cervical dystonia, and seizures in epilepsy."
The "certain forms of medical marijuana" means via oral spray or in pill form.
According to the journal article, people with MS who use marijuana may get relief from pain caused by muscle spasms, as well as relief from burning and numb sensations. Marijuana may also help relieve the discomfort of an overactive bladder - another problem associated with MS.
In 2012, a study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, found that cannabis extract (tetrahydrocannabinol) helped relieve the stiffness associated with MS. The small study (144 patients with MS and 135 controls - healthy people who did not have MS) found that those who took the extract experienced relief from the muscle stiffness. A study published earlier in the year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported similar findings.
The newest AAN review also looked at Parkinson's disease, but did not find that marijuana helped ease the extra movements that can be caused by levadopa, the medication often given to treat Parkinson's.
As always, there are the standard warnings about the side effects of marijuana use, which include:
- Increased weakness
- Behavioral or mood changes
- Suicidal thoughts or hallucinations
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Feelings of intoxication
Why is marijuana still being kept from people who need it? Why are we still debating this issue? What do you think?