UK recruits for clinical trial on cannabis and MS

The MS Society in the UK and Canada publicly supports the therapeutic benefits of cannabis for the disease. Now UK scientists are recruiting for another clinical trial. There are significant indications that derivative materials (cannabinoids) can reduce the severitiy of MS symptoms (pain, muscle stiffness, incontinence) and even slow the progression of the disease for some patients. Pretty dramatic results.

The U.S. has been slow about this because of questions of morality–the “war on drugs” not least among the holdups. But after twenty years, the University of California has gotten the blessing of the National MS Society for a similar clinical trial with cannabinoids and in January, a cannabis-based oral spray for pain (MS, cancer) was approved for clinical trials here.

As with stem cell research, the U.S. scientific community has been somewhat hampered by the current political climate. It seems sad to think of people in serious pain being denied access to soothing treatments that are very likely to help. The first principle of the physicians’ code: First, do no harm. Unfortunately, everybody defines “harm” a little differently.