UK Trial Results On Value Of Cannabis For MS

UK Trial Results On Value Of Cannabis For MS
Posted by CN Staff on November 07, 2003 at 14:23:46 PT
News Story
Source: Science Daily 
Researchers funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) have found mixed evidence about the value of cannabis-derived treatments for people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) but conclude that such treatments may be of benefit for some patients.The researchers found little objective evidence that cannabis benefits people with MS but, subjectively, a majority of patients felt cannabis improved some of their symptoms.
The results of the world's largest study to assess the medicinal potential of cannabinoids to treat MS patients are published in this week's edition of The Lancet. The research team based at the Peninsula Medical School and the University of Plymouth was led by Dr. John Zajicek, Consultant Neurologist and Associate Medical Director of Research and Development at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. The other principal investigator was Professor Alan Thompson, Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University College Hospitals, London. The trial that involved 33 neurology and rehabilitation centres across the UK was funded by the MRC and supported by the MS Society. The three year trial of more than 600 patients from across the UK set out to look at whether cannabinoids can reduce muscle stiffness, known as spasticity, in the arms and legs of MS patients and to assess their general wellbeing in relation to other symptoms. Participants in the trial were randomly assigned to oral capsules containing either cannabis extract, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, - an active compound found in cannabis), or a placebo and treated for 15 weeks. No patient was left without medication to manage their illness. The trial treatments were administered in addition to participants' own standard MS medication. The patients were not told which treatment they were taking. The researchers found that when spasticity was assessed clinically using a well-established measure known as the Ashworth scale1 there was no overall detectable change in spasticity in the patients. Four secondary measures were also used in the study: time to walk ten metres for mobile patients; a range of scales to assess disability and well-being; some measures of specific symptoms; and finally face-to face questions about the value of medication at the end of the study. In face-to-face interviews, 576 patients provided answers to the end of study questions. Around two thirds of patients on the cannabis-based treatments said they felt their spasticity had improved, as did almost half of the patients taking a placebo, or dummy pill. A benefit of cannabis-based medicine was also seen in results from the walking time. There was no benefit seen in any of the scales measuring general disability or wellbeing. Patients were also asked to complete self assessment questionnaires about a range of symptoms associated with MS including irritability, depression, tiredness, spasticity, shake/tremor, pain, sleeplessness, spasms and lack of energy. Just over half the patients who completed the questionnaires on the cannabis-based treatments said spasticity had improved, but just over a quarter of these patients said they felt their symptoms had got worse. Overall, more patients taking active treatment said they experienced improvement in spasticity, pain, spasms and sleep compared to those taking placebo. The researchers said that the results needed to be interpreted with caution as around three-quarters of patients in the active treatment group correctly guessed that they were taking active medication, compared to around half of the placebo group, who guessed they were not.Dr. Zajicek said: "The results of this study present an interesting and complex picture of the value of cannabis-derived medicines for treating MS. The primary aim of the trial was to measure, as objectively as possible, the actual physical changes in limb spasticity in MS patients, and we found no evidence of this. "Although we based the study around spasticity, we also wanted to capture any treatment effects among the other important symptoms described by people with MS. When patients were asked to describe how they felt their symptoms, including spasticity, had been affected, the picture was very different. They felt some of the impact of their painful and distressing symptoms had been eased. "We did see a high 'placebo effect' in this trial and it may be indicative of how much patients gain by taking part in clinical trials, irrespective of the treatment they are given. "Patients experienced very few side-effects from the treatments and, given that how a patient feels is an important part of improving health, cannabis-based treatments may be of benefit to some patients." Professor Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, said: "Science isn't always black and white and this work underlines the importance of funding large-scale clinical trials of possible treatments so the evidence can be weighed up. "Clinical research is at the heart of the MRC's aim to improve health and we will continue to use clinical trials to put treatment theories to the test, across all areas of health." NOTES TO EDITORS: 1. The Ashworth scale is a score of spasticity. It is an assessment of biological impairment, rather than disability or handicap and is dependent upon the estimation of the physician or physiotherapist. 2. Patients' guesses were not confirmed to them. It was important to keep the trial 'blinded' to retain the integrity of the data, so for the duration of the trial patients were not told what treatments they were receiving. 3. The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a national organisation funded by the UK tax-payer. Its business is medical research aimed at improving human health; everyone stands to benefit from the outputs. The research it supports and the scientists it trains meet the needs of the health services, the pharmaceutical and other health-related industries and the academic world Web site at: The MRC grant for the CAMS (Cannabinoids in MS) trial was awarded in December 1999. 5. Cannabinoids are natural chemicals found in cannabis, that all have a similar chemical structure and which have been shown to act on specific targets found in the body. The cannabis extract contains 60 different cannabinoids. THC is commonly believed to be the most active compound in cannabis. 6. It is estimated that around 85, 000 people in the UK have multiple sclerosis, the most common disabling neurological disease affecting young adults in the Western world. 7. The Lancet is an international general medical journal - Medical Research Council Media ReleaseThis story has been adapted from a news release issued by Medical Research Council.Complete Title: UK Trial Results On Value Of Cannabis For Multiple Sclerosis PatientsSource: Science Daily Published: November 07, 2003Copyright: 2003 ScienceDaily MagazineContact: : editor sciencedaily.comWebsite: Articles:Marijuana May Help MS Patients Major Study of MMJ Indicates It Helps in MS Large Study of Cannabis for MS Shows Benefit
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on November 08, 2003 at 05:59:26 PT
Pain relief found to reduce demyelinationary painA study published in the May 2003 issue of the journal Pain showed that the synthetic cannabinoid WIN55 reduced pain experienced by mice with tumors by about 50%.A separate study in the April 2003 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience showed that cannabinoids reduce the amount of pain caused by demyelination  the loss of myelin, a substance that insulates nerve endings. Multiple sclerosis is one of many demyelinating diseases, which can result in severe pain and sensitivity to touch. All of this information was compiled and edited from the excellent email newsletter of the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine (IACM) in Germany. email info; web
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on November 07, 2003 at 18:03:07 PT
News release?
Paul Wylie
paul hempconspiracy.comMarc Deeley
marc hempconspiracy.coThe War on Drugs is Exposed for What it is
   Glasgow, UK November 7, 2003 -- Hemp Conspiracy details the creation of a legal industrial hemp venture in Nicaragua in 1997/98, as allowed under both Nicaraguan and international law. Following successful implementation and with the 80 ha research crop surviving even Hurricane Mitch, it is destroyed by the DEA and arrest warrants are issued for Canadian based company shareholders. Canadian national and Hemp-Agro SA technical director, Paul Wylie is arrested in Nicaragua.  Sentenced for an indefinite period in "La Modela" prison - arguably the worst on the continent - without any legal defense presented on his behalf. Literally kept alive by his girlfriend's selflessness and courage, his own faith and mental strength tested to the limit, Paul Wylie rides an emotional roller coaster of false hopes and broken promises - in an environment few westerners could survive in their worst nightmares.  The appeal court orders his release after 12 months incarceration, but he has to flee the country - leaving behind his love and the woman that saved him. Exonerated in 2000, Wylie continues a legal battle to establish justice and one of the most exciting industrial projects the World has ever seen - in Nicaragua.  This book is an important part of the real Green Revolution. Carrying with it several implications for international law, politics and international relations in the 21st century - including the required steps we must take to implement the Kyoto Treaty. About Hemp Conspiracy contains free access to ALL the evidence, industrial research and legal issues and law. Both an international petition and one directed to USA government are provided to enable people to engage with this important 21st Century issue and much more.Please click here to go to the Sample Chapter Download Page at Hemp Conpriracy.comPlease click here to go to the Buy the Book Download Page at Hemp"Hemp Conspiracy: A True Story of State Corruption and Individual Consequence"============================================================You've received this email because you are a Hemp Report subscriber. If you have been forwarded this email and want to become a subscriber, or if you want to subscribe at a different address, email:  hempreport-subscribe topica.comor go to: unsubscribe send an email to:  hempreport-unsubscribe topica.comFor other subscriber services go to: Subscriber Area login ID and password are:  login: hemp
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 07, 2003 at 17:42:15 PT
Sam It's That Old Expression
If it makes you feel bad it's good for you..Feeling good is a big taboo! Feeling good has nothing to do with our health they say even though anxiety, depression, out of control anger will kill a person as sure as anything will.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on November 07, 2003 at 17:31:50 PT
The more I read this report, the more it seems like the study was propaganda-ized. Since when are patient interviews rated as "subjective" data?  Studies for nausea medications must therefore be based entirely on "subjective" evidence.  I'm curious, what "objective" evidence did Big Pharm use to prove the efficacy of its addictive and poisonous pain meds and anti-inflammatories? What, did they measure the grimace on some poor bastard's face to see if it decreased on OxyContin?Why is Western medicine so obsessed with measuring and dosing and scientific proof upon proof?  They can't see the forest for the trees. The patient results are the goal here guys! You're done! Go home! Look how warped the "modern" system has become. Making the patients feel better is now merely a sidebar to "scientific" glory.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 07, 2003 at 15:12:14 PT
News Brief from 
Actor Details Battle Against Multiple SclerosisLander Spreads Word About Devastating DiseaseNovember 7, 2003INDIANAPOLIS -- A popular actor has taken on a new role that's much more serious and personal than anything he's done on screen. David Lander -- who played Squiggy on the 1970s sitcom "Laverne and Shirley" -- is visiting Indianapolis this weekend to talk about his battle with multiple sclerosis. Nearly 8,000 Hoosiers suffer from the disease, Staying Healthy's Stacia Matthews reported.  Lander was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after the last taping of "Laverne and Shirley." At first he tried to hide it, now he's an ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "I'm doing pretty good. Today is a very good day," Lander said. Ironically, Lander's second visit to Indianapolis coincides with the findings of a new study. The first large trial to test whether marijuana helps treat the symptoms the disease drew mixed results, Matthews reported. "Well I don't do it anymore, but if I was to do it, it depends on the quality of the dope. Some is very strong, some is not so strong and it depends how much of it you smoke," Lander said. Lander wants Hoosiers living with MS to know about an exciting experimental drug called Anagren, but the drug is still two years away from hitting the market. "I know all of us with MS go, 'Two years, that's a lifetime.' But what the heck, we've waited long enough. I don't know if anything is a cure. I'm not gonna mess with that word," Lander said. Lander believes a vaccine is more realistic. "If you use Anovex, which is the drug I'm taking, and you give it to someone who has had only one attack, then you can ... stop the progression, and that's almost like a vaccine, and I see that as very promising," Lander said. Lander will share more about multiple sclerosis and his own personal experience with the disease Saturday at the Indianapolis Marriott North. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and is free to the public. Copyright 2003 by
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 07, 2003 at 14:42:42 PT
Press Release from Business Wire
Experts Available To Discuss Treating Multiple Sclerosis with Marijuana November 07, 2003  TOPIC: British researchers obtained mixed results in a study on how marijuana affects multiple sclerosis patients' symptoms, according to an article by The Associated Press. The study, published in The Lancet medical journal, consisted of 630 multiple sclerosis patients who were split into three groups and were given either a pill containing cannabis oil, synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol or a placebo. Fifty-seven percent of patients receiving cannabis oil reported their pain had eased, 50 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol recipients claimed pain relief, as did 37 percent who received the placebo. Although patients did report pain relief, major improvements were not detected in the doctor's tests.  EXPERTS: ExpertSource can offer several highly qualified experts to comment on this story: Aristo Vojdani Ph.D., M.T. serves as CEO of ImmunoSciences Lab. Inc., one of the pioneering labs in the field of molecular medicine, which has the most intensive testing of complex diseases that directly involve the human immune system. ISL is dedicated to the research and development of new biomarkers that offer detection and prevention of complex illnesses at the earliest possible stages. He can discuss the role infectious and toxic chemicals play in development of neuroimmune disorders including multiple sclerosis. His article "For First Time Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis Can Be Confirmed - Also Aid in Treatment" was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine October 2003 issue 310-657-1077 -- immunsci Professor Bruce J. Diamond, of William Paterson University/Kessler Medical, has expertise regarding clinical neuropsychological assessment and treatment with a particular emphasis on organic or acquired brain syndromes such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and multiple sclerosis. 973-720-3400 Robert M. Herndon, M.D. is professor of neurology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and is the director of the MS Center at the Jackson VA Medical Center. Dr. Herndon is Editor of the "International Journal of Multiple Sclerosis Care", a past president of the CMSC and a member of the medical advisory board of the International Federation of MS Societies. He has been involved in the clinical care of MS patients and in basic and clinical research in MS for more than 30 years. He is a former director of the Johns Hopkins MS clinic, the RAMS clinic in Rochester NY and the MS clinic at Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland Oregon. 601-984-5500 ExpertSource cannot guarantee the immediate availability of these experts or their familiarity with this specific issue. ExpertSource provides academic and industry experts to the media at no charge. Journalists are encouraged to submit queries to ExpertSource when seeking experts on specific subjects. An online registration form is available at:
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