The study, “Cannabis use in people with multiple sclerosis and spasticity: A cross-sectional analysis,” was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
A previous review study that examined the therapy’s use in neurological disorders suggested that there was sufficient evidence showing that cannabis — and cannabinoids, derived from the cannabis plant — is an effective treatment for spasticity in MS patients. Spasticity refers to a symptom experienced by more than 80% of people with MS, in which muscles stiffen, making movement painful and difficult.
Cannabis legalization remains a complex issue in the United States. It is considered a Schedule I substance by the federal government under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it is illegal and considered to have no accepted medical use. Despite this, 33 states have passed legislation that legalizes cannabis for medicinal use.
To better understand the relationship between spasticity and cannabis use, a team of researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University (OSHU) – Portland VA Health Care System surveyed 91 adults with MS regarding their use of the therapy and its effects.
The survey was conducted in the state of Oregon, where cannabis was legalized for medicinal use in 1998, and for recreational use in 2014.
Among the 91 individuals surveyed, 49 reported that they had used cannabis in the past, and 33 reported that they were currently using it.
The team asked patients about the method by which they used the drug. They found that 26 used multiple routes, while 18 used topical solutions, 17 used edible cannabis, 16 used tinctures, 14 smoked it, and 10 vaped it. The researchers speculated that topical solutions were the most popular because spasticity in MS patients is experienced in specific musculoskeletal regions of the body.
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