cannabisnews.com: Marijuana Use Among MS Patients Raises Risk 





Marijuana Use Among MS Patients Raises Risk 
Posted by CN Staff on February 13, 2008 at 13:47:38 PT
News Story
Source: Forbes.com
HealthDay News -- Multiple sclerosis patients who smoke marijuana in search of symptom relief are more likely to suffer cognitive shortfalls and mood disorders, new Canadian research suggests. A slowing down in the ability to process and remember information is one significant side effect, as is a rise in the rate of depression and anxiety.
"This is a small study, so our findings are preliminary, but the bottom line is that multiple sclerosis patients who smoke cannabis appear to be at an increased risk for cognitive issues, particularly with respect to the speed of their thinking," said study author Dr. Anthony Feinstein, a professor of psychiatry with the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre's department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.Feinstein's observations are published in the Feb. 13 online edition of Neurology and are focused exclusively on the impact of smoking marijuana illegally obtained by patients themselves. Medically prescribed marijuana was not studied.The authors noted that a "significant minority" of multiple sclerosis patients smoke marijuana to combat the tingling, numbness, blindness and paralysis that can accompany the progressive and often disabling nervous system disease.However, Feinstein's team stressed that scientists have yet to definitively prove that the psychoactive substance -- long linked to psychosis, anxiety and delirium among healthy users -- provides a measurable benefit to the more than 400,000 Americans and 2.5 million people worldwide who suffer from the disease.The researchers therefore assessed the experience of 140 Toronto-based MS outpatients, 10 of whom had smoked the drug at least once in the previous month and were considered regular marijuana users.All the patients -- three-quarters of them women -- underwent cognitive and mental health exams by a neurologist and a neuro-psychiatrist. Interviews were also conducted to assess disease severity and course, medications being used, and current disability.Feinstein and his team observed that while pot smokers were younger, there were no differences between marijuana users and nonusers in terms of gender, education, or MS disease course or duration.However, MS patients who used marijuana were found to perform 50 percent slower on tests tracking information-processing speed and were more likely than nonusers to have a mental disability of some kind.Marijuana use was also associated with a greater risk for being depressed or experiencing anxiety. However, the authors were not able to determine whether the drug had triggered such conditions, or if patients had sought out marijuana to help deal with a preexisting emotional issue.They nonetheless cautioned that smoking marijuana might further raise the risk for experiencing the kind of neuro-psychological impairment that typically occurs among 40 percent to 65 percent of all MS patients.Feinstein said that he next hopes to gather a much larger pool of patients, while exploring possible differences in the health impact of street-purchased marijuana versus prescribed cannabis.Meanwhile, Dr. Marshall Keilson, director of neurology at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., said he thinks it best to proceed on a case-by-case basis."There are some MS patients who are emotionally disabled from their disease, and if we can use cannabis to help them feel better about the world or life, we should," he said. "We need to always err on the side of doing what's best for our patients. And I don't necessarily believe there is a permanent damage to the brain, based on occasional marijuana use. If they're smoking 10 times a day, yes, there will be damage done. But this goes for excessive alcohol use, too. So, I think we're going to end up somewhere in the middle with this."More information: For more on multiple sclerosis, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.Complete Title: Marijuana Use Among MS Patients Raises Risk for Cognitive, Mood ProblemsSource: Forbes Magazine (US)Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2008Copyright: 2008 Forbes Inc.Contact: readers forbes.comWebsite: http://www.forbes.com/Related Articles:Cannabis Truly Helps Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread19477.shtmlCannabis May Have Long-Term Benefit for MS http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread19469.shtmlCannabis Study Encouraging for MShttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread19467.shtml
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Comment #24 posted by RevRayGreen on February 14, 2008 at 15:36:01 PT
much love back to the CN
fam'.........every day I get home and hope for a new sun in our tomorrow with the latest news........thanks.then I take my medicine and relax.........
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Comment #23 posted by dongenero on February 14, 2008 at 09:30:28 PT
baseless article
However, Feinstein's team stressed that scientists have yet to definitively prove that the psychoactive substance -- long linked to psychosis, anxiety and delirium among healthy users -- provides a measurable benefit to the more than 400,000 Americans and 2.5 million people worldwide who suffer from the disease.Or one might say:............However, dongenero stressed that scientists have yet to definitively prove that the psychoactive substance -- long linked to measurable benefit to the more than 400,000 Americans and 2.5 million people worldwide who suffer from the disease,-- poses a threat of psychosis, anxiety or delirium among healthy users.Junk, meaningless statements that lead nowhere. What is the point of this article but to disparage medical cannabis with baseless conjecture?They could just do an article that says, "Well, we don't know." and leave it at that. It would certainly be more honest.
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Comment #22 posted by dongenero on February 14, 2008 at 09:23:22 PT
comment #7
Sam, I did a google search with the doctor's name and I think pharmaceutical as another keyword.It was disclosed as part of a panel or committee he was on.
It was a pretty sure bet for a psychiatrist to be in bed with big pharma. It certainly raises the question of conflict of interest.They make no mention of who funded this biased guesswork, I mean,"research".
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on February 14, 2008 at 08:44:20 PT
Hope
You're welcome. I think, that as hard as it might seem to believe, that some people in government really don't know much about cannabis and if it's good or if it's bad. I often look at the age of the politician to see if they were coming of age in the late 60s. I believe Party affiliation and their age can mean a lot. 
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on February 14, 2008 at 08:24:27 PT
Thank you, FoM
For your answer about meanness. I've been wondering about the people in our government and other people. To think they think they are so "Right"... and yet they seem to think meanness and cruelty are right and ok for them... the one's that call themselves "The good guys". Charmed Quark. I think I understand. I didn't mean slow down to the point of disability. I meant like the griping and lies about cannabis. Not like the medicines that can make it where you can't function. Cannabis doesn't make you "drunken"... like so many prescriptions can.
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Comment #19 posted by BGreen on February 14, 2008 at 05:32:25 PT
Charmed Quark re: post # 13
The obvious problem here is that cannabis ISN'T all the same. Different strains have a different cannabinoid profile, and there might be unwanted or unnecessary cannabinoids in a particular strain that might not be desirable for certain patients.The obvious answer is to keep switching strains until the ideal cannabinoid profile is found. Now, nobody in law enforcement or the chemical/pharmaceutical-based western medicine will admit this or even want to understand what I'm talking about, but I've seen it first-hand in the Netherlands.Most of the medical cannabis patients in the Netherlands have shunned the two types of "medical cannabis" available in Dutch pharmacies, preferring instead to choose between twenty or more different strains available in each of the hundreds of coffeeshops. Each coffeeshop will have something different to offer so that increases the likelihood that a suitable strain will be found.Colin Davies, a British gentleman who tried to start the first cannabis compassion club in Britain before serving jail time for trying, was telling me about a certain strain that none of the patients found effective in alleviating their particular medical condition. He said there was one lady who found that particular strain was the ONLY thing, cannabis or pharmaceutical, that would alleviate her pain.One strain called "White Rhino" completely alleviated all of the lower back pain that I've suffered since my freshman year of high school. Every doctor with their pills and therapy, and every chiropractor that I ever saw in the US failed miserably in helping me. One particular strain of cannabis was my saving grace. Unfortunately, here in the prison states, I can't have my White Rhino, so I just suffer because I won't take pills that don't work and make me feel dopey like a junkie.That, my loving CNews.com family, is why medical cannabis is so special.Cannabis is almost as unique and varied as the human race. It's as ridiculous to paint the entire cannabis species with one brush as it is to accept one stereotype to describe the entire human race.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #18 posted by Had Enough on February 14, 2008 at 04:06:46 PT
RayGreen #2
Stuck in the middle with u.Iíve always loved that tune.Here is another version, check out the guitar player.Jeff Healey playing Stuck in the middle with you.I like Stealers Wheel better but this is cool too.Good luck with your health, you too charmed quark.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MKVo7Ixjt4&feature=related
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Comment #17 posted by John Tyler on February 13, 2008 at 19:46:01 PT
Shame on Forbes mag.
This is just a junk science article to try to discredit cannabis therapy for MS.
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Comment #16 posted by ekim on February 13, 2008 at 19:34:43 PT
 "significant minority" 
and that is the way they want it--cq glad you have been helped.
you have been a great poster for a long time.
i have no idea of how many of the "significant minority" read here or are in the least bit active such as yourself but i have to gess that not many of the others find it in there guts to speak out.
which alone puts you into a minority your self. you have over come the depression of being supressed and told that the med you use is against the law. 
and that you and yours are theres.Richard Cowan at www.marijuananews.com has good peice on the arrest figures for cannabis use.
over 800.000 and counting.as far as remembering i hope others will remark on that.this ACLU ad could be done with a remake of Hemp For Victory showing all the products and places in the US that have and could make good money growing this great plant.for anyone interested in the Texas town where the nose-cone fell it was --Hemphill Tx
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on February 13, 2008 at 19:00:59 PT
Hope
It is never right to be cruel to another and that includes those who hate us in my opinion.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on February 13, 2008 at 18:57:40 PT
RevRayGreen
Please don't lose hope. If we look at the big picture we have come a long way since Prop 215. Marijuana is a common name anymore. We will win. Sometimes we seem to spin in circles but it won't be forever. Take good care of your health.
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Comment #13 posted by charmed quark on February 13, 2008 at 18:14:50 PT
Hope, I have to disagree
My progressive disease has already forced me to slow down quite a bit. I don't want to take medications that make this worst to the point of total disability. And with MS, a significant fraction develop cognitive declines that can be as disabling as the physical symptoms. I doubt they want to take a medication that makes it worst.A lot of the medications I've taken in the past have caused very significant physical and/or cognitive problems. One set of medications had me so I could barely get out of bed and couldn't think well enough to safely leave the house.Why would anybody want to take medications with those side effects?Luckily, as far as I can tell, cannabis and cannabinoids, in typical medicinal amounts, don't cause significant problems with physical or mental functions.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on February 13, 2008 at 17:11:27 PT
Comment 9
ignore that "to" in the comment title. Distraction and wandering thought. Someone spoke to me and I didn't catch it. Sorry.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on February 13, 2008 at 17:08:01 PT
The already wounded and lamed
should be encouraged to slow down and take extra care and caution, sometimes, to protect them from avoidable injuries. Barely avoidable sometimes... but avoidable, quite often, if they'd just taken a second more time.Take it from someone who has been stumbling, falling, tripping, stepping in stuff, and on stuff, and running into stuff all my life. 
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on February 13, 2008 at 17:01:00 PT
A person could think another person
deserved meanness or cruelty, because, perhaps, they were mean or cruel. Merciless retribution and all that. But, is it "Right"? Ever? For humans to be cruel, especially to each other?
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on February 13, 2008 at 16:57:01 PT
Is it ever "Right" to be "Mean" to 
I'm serious.Is it ever "Right" to be "Cruel" to another?Ever?
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Comment #8 posted by charmed quark on February 13, 2008 at 16:38:17 PT
Cognitive decline
I use cannabinoids for symptoms similar to the MS symptoms - painful neuropathy and spasms. It would definitely disturb me if I performed 50% slower than non-users. That's mentally disabling. I would quit using cannabinoids immediately. I'd rather risk total physical disability.However, I've never seen any study indicating anything but very small cognitive differences between heavy users and non users. Most differences were in the statistical uncertainty.A 50% difference is HUGE. Incredibly large. The sort of thing associated with major brain injury.I suppose there could be some sort of MS/cannabis interaction that could cause this. But it is EXTREMELY unlikely such a huge change would have gone unnoticed until now.Even 10 cases showing such a huge difference would be quite noteworthy. But this is just junk science. Amazing that Forbes publishes such trash.
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on February 13, 2008 at 16:03:19 PT
pharma
dg how did you find out about the "honoraria". That is so funny. Talk about being snooty. how about *cash*!! that's what it is. It's too bad no one in this study is mentioning the numerous studies that have shown cannabis actually keeps MS and other nervous system diseases from damaging people.
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Comment #6 posted by RevRayGreen on February 13, 2008 at 14:58:11 PT
for real
I'm that MS patient who advocates medical marijuana but I can still walk........so people say...."I'd never know" when I mention I have MS...so I'm like "I manage my health by staying home most evernight and minimizing stress in my life"......they know I'm not right, health wise, if you look into my eyes(bags under them)...........and I'm also that guy who is starting to lose faith that the laws will not change anytime soon with junk-science being constantly released in the news.
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on February 13, 2008 at 14:48:31 PT
lots of conjecture in this article
In fact, all conjecture.What is the point of this? (we all know the answer)....Anthony Feinstein, M.D. discloses he has received honoraria from Avanir Pharmaceuticals, EMD Serono Canada and Teva Neuroscience.If you're going to guess, I prefer to guess in favor of the substantial conjecture as well as solid research which supports medical cannabis.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 13, 2008 at 14:45:09 PT
RevRayGreen 
You made perfect sense to me.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on February 13, 2008 at 14:43:13 PT
Sam. That's so sad and so true.
Ten patients experience or talking is "anecdotal"... unless the powers that be want them to be something more."I know a guy with MS who's doctor told him he'd go dumb if he used cannabis - even though the patient was telling him repeatedly that cannabis worked better on his symptoms - better than the 4 prescription drugs the doctor was giving him!" Apparently he was already "dumb" in the deaf and dumb sense. The doctor couldn't hear him talking and couldn't, wouldn't, understand what he was saying. Of course, I think the doctor was deaf to him... as they often are. How "dumb" is that?
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Comment #2 posted by RevRayGreen on February 13, 2008 at 14:26:39 PT
I'm stuck in the middle here as well
"There are some MS patients who are emotionally disabled from their disease, and if we can use cannabis to help them feel better about the world or life, we should," he said. "We need to always err on the side of doing what's best for our patients. And I don't necessarily believe there is a permanent damage to the brain, based on occasional marijuana use. If they're smoking 10 times a day, yes, there will be damage done. But this goes for excessive alcohol use, too. So, I think we're going to end up somewhere in the middle with this."the one thing not mentioned is that MS patients suffer cognitive shortfalls and mood disorders without cannabis...it's a double-edged sword.....cue up Stealers Wheel.......
stuck in the middle with u 
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on February 13, 2008 at 14:26:09 PT
Garbage
Totally biased junk science.Where is the causation?  Isn't it likely that the worst and most desperate of the MS patients would seek out illegal cannabis to treat themselves?  MS is a disease with a huge amplitude of severity, some victims are confined to wheelchairs, some lead totally normal lives like Mitt Romney's wife.Also - even if cannabis did somehow dumb you down 50% (absurd), SO WHAT!!!! Would you prefer that the MS victims think totally clearly as they go blind and become paralyzed to the neck?  Has anyone checked to see if the prescription meds dumb them down, or have other toxic effects? Has anyone compared the toxicity of cannabis to current MS prescription meds? What cruel, sadistic men we have for some of the doctors in western medicine. You have to realize that doctors start off with their own egotistical & elitist opinions & then go off to do studies based on that. I know a guy with MS who's doctor told him he'd go dumb if he used cannabis - even though the patient was telling him repeatedly that cannabis worked better on his symptoms - better than the 4 prescription drugs the doctor was giving him!The doctor told his family he'd turn literally turn into a drooling, unthinking vegetable if he continued to use cannabis (he was breaking the law to have this conversation with the guy's family, btw). You really have to get out there and talk to real patients to understand what is going on out there in Western medicine and the mindset of some of these doctors.  Primitive and barbaric. It's as if some of them grew up in caves and totally missed feminism, the civil rights reform era, etc.  Many people become doctors because they lust after the status and the ability to lord over everyone else. A lot of these people have far-flung right-wing views.
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