April 29th, 2014
10:00 AM ET

Treating brain diseases with marijuana

Multiple sclerosis sufferers may benefit from taking medical marijuana, according to a new study in the journal Neurology.

MS patients who used marijuana either as a pill or as an oral spray found relief from a number of symptoms, according to the study. The findings were released Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

"Medical marijuana can be considered to relieve particular symptoms of MS, including spasticity, pain related to spasms, or central pain from MS lesions," says Dr. Barbara Koppel, main author of the research analysis.

Koppel, a neurologist at New York Medical College in New York, says medical marijuana did not help MS patients who had tremors, nor did it relieve abnormal involuntary movements in late-stage Parkinson's disease. Researchers also didn't find enough evidence to recommend the treatment for other conditions they looked at, including epilepsy, she says.

Researchers looked at whether use of medical marijuana was safe and effective for other neurological diseases like motor symptoms in Huntington's disease, tics in Tourette's syndrome and cervical dystonia or abnormal neck movements. They decided there was not enough information to make a determination.

"Expected side effects such as fatigue, dizziness and nausea were found in the studies but rarely led to (people) dropping out of the study," says Koppel.

MS is an autoimmune disease affecting the brain and spinal cord. It's caused when the protective covering around the nerve cells is damaged by inflammation.  There is no single test for MS, nor is there a cure. There are several medications that can help slow down and control symptoms. The disease is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 and more women are diagnosed than men.

Researchers looked at 34 different studies involving approximately 2,000 patients - the bulk of them in England and Germany. European regulators approved the cannabis spray Sativex for the treatment of MS spasticity in 2010, and it's now available in 25 countries worldwide. The drug is not available in the United States.

Less than 1% of trial participants taking cannabis pills or spray had serious side effects like hallucinations and seizures. In two of the studies analyzed, patients actually smoked marijuana, but there was not enough information available to determine if that was effective.

According to Koppel, medical marijuana can worsen cognitive function and memory. Her concern is that MS patients may already experience some of these issues as a result of the disease.

People with some of these diseases "already have higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation than the general public," Koppel says. "If you have a brain disease like MS, for example, you may already have some depression or cognitive impairment, so we were careful to see if cannabis made this worse."

While the studies did not find a direct link to depression, Koppel says it still suggests this is something patients and physicians should be aware of.

Dr. Timothy Coetzee, chief advocacy, services and research officer at the National MS Society, says his organization supports the rights of MS patients to work with their doctors to get access to medical marijuana in states where medical use has been legalized.

“The society supports the need for more research to better understand the benefits and potential risks of marijuana and its derivatives as a treatment for MS," Coetzee says. "We intend to work towards removing barriers impeding such research into the use of marijuana for medical purposes. As with any MS therapy, along with its potential benefits come potential side effects that also need to be evaluated.”

Koppel says more research is needed with more formulations of cannabis, not only in the diseases already looked at, but also in other neurologic conditions.

soundoff (763 Responses)
  1. eyeglasses near me


    June 13, 2021 at 09:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. sandwiches near me

    Can I simply say what a relief to discover someone that really knows what they're talking about on the net. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular given that you most certainly have the gift.


    June 13, 2021 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. flower shops near me


    June 13, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. auto repair near me

    I was excited to find this great site. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this wonderful read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you book-marked to look at new information in your blog.


    June 13, 2021 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. powder coating near me

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality websites online. I most certainly will recommend this web site!


    June 13, 2021 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. panera bread near me


    June 13, 2021 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. thai restaurants near me


    June 14, 2021 at 00:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. money order near me

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and the rest of the website is also really good.


    June 14, 2021 at 03:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. sheetz near me


    June 14, 2021 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. moneygram near me


    June 14, 2021 at 05:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. tj maxx near me

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Cheers!


    June 14, 2021 at 05:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. bar near me


    June 14, 2021 at 06:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. bicycle shops near me

    I blog often and I genuinely thank you for your content. This article has really peaked my interest. I will book mark your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.


    June 14, 2021 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. fabric stores near me


    June 14, 2021 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. pcr covid test near me

    I want to to thank you for this fantastic read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book-marked to look at new things you postÖ


    June 14, 2021 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. part time jobs near me


    June 14, 2021 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. near me


    June 14, 2021 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. dmv near me


    June 14, 2021 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. best buy near me


    June 14, 2021 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Nearest RV Repair

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Many thanks!


    June 14, 2021 at 22:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. bóng dáng một ngôi trường

    Links Xem Trực Tiếp Soccer Futsal Việt Nam Vs Lebanon Vòng Chủng Loại World Cupu22 việt nam vs u22 philippinesĐây có lẽ là trường hợp “của đi thay cho nhân viên" khá như mong muốn đối cùng với Ben McLemore. Thiếu chút nữa tay ném của Los Angeles Lakers đã có thể gặp hiểm họa nghiêm trọng. Cập nhật kết trái trận Việt Nam vs Lebanon nằm trong play-off vòng chủng loại Futsal World Cup 2021.


    June 14, 2021 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Sprinter Repair Near Me


    June 14, 2021 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa


    June 15, 2021 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Nearby RV Repairs


    June 15, 2021 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    Very good article. I definitely appreciate this website. Thanks!


    June 15, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Lynn Giacomelli

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs


    June 15, 2021 at 04:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repair Huntington Beach


    June 15, 2021 at 04:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Repair California

    Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the issues. It was truly informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!


    June 15, 2021 at 05:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    Good post. I will be going through many of these issues as well..


    June 15, 2021 at 06:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Repair Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Repair Places Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repairs Near My Location

    After exploring a few of the articles on your blog, I truly appreciate your way of writing a blog. I book-marked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my website too and let me know what you think.


    June 15, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RV Repair Shop


    June 15, 2021 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 15, 2021 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and the rest of the site is really good.


    June 15, 2021 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Repair Santa Ana

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering issues with your RSS. I donít understand why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 15, 2021 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair Orange County

    Great article. I'm dealing with some of these issues as well..


    June 15, 2021 at 22:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. lady sonia

    May I simply say what a relief to find someone that
    really knows what they're talking about on the net.
    You actually understand how to bring an issue
    to light and make it important. A lot more people need to
    check this out and understand this side of your story.

    I was surprised you're not more popular because you certainly possess the gift.

    June 16, 2021 at 04:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Fountain Valley

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Kudos!


    June 16, 2021 at 07:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. pizza places near me

    Having read this I believed it was very enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 16, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. shoe store near me

    I absolutely love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you create this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím planning to create my own personal website and would like to find out where you got this from or what the theme is named. Thanks!


    June 16, 2021 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. tacos near me

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not fail me just as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, however I genuinely believed you would probably have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.


    June 16, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Jamesbuc

    i can't get a date because I am a single father

    HomeNewsReal LifeLove and romanceThis reader is frustrated at will certainly find a dateSign up to FREE email alerts from Daily Record dailySubscribeWe will use your email address to send you newsletters. Please see ourPrivacy Noticefor more here is how we use your data and your data protection rights.

    we appreciate your subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeDear Coleen I AM a 41 year old single man, mentioning my 12 year old son alone. I have cared for him since he was born after his mother left.

    In choosing to tend him, I gave up my job to work part-time so I could be at home more.

    But it has cost me friends and family relationships, To the point where, Seven issue, I chose not to think about either and just to live my life continuing to look after my son and make him the happiest child he could be.

    I've been told I am a great man with a heart of gold and that not many men would have done what I did.

    They also tell me I've also done a fantastic job bringing up my son to be such a happy, well intentioned and polite child.

    My son's now at the age were he has his own social life (compatible with mine, i'd personally add) And is nagging me for a nice woman.

    But within the last two years, I've tried various online dating sites hoping to find someone to make me happy, Rather than being just content with life.

    But I most likely hit a barrier because I'm 100 per cent honest about my situation. I send countless messages every week and I'm either completely ignored or told "bad, I wouldn't like to date a single parent, It's so depressing and depressing. It has also cost me more than 200 so far and I haven't had a single date out of it.

    I don't have tons of friends so I don't go out much so therefore struggle to meet women. I'm a very talkative person and not to bad this time looking, But I just cannot seem to get that bit of luck. Most women say that they would love a nice guy like me but then choose one other.

    What can I do to change my luck?

    Coleen says in the first instance, It strikes me that you're using the wrong sites. as an example, there are numerous dating websites just for single parents like yourself, Which immediately eliminate those women who aren't inquisitive about a man with a child. Do a brief Google search.

    If you tailor it to your position, You'll have an even better http://www.plentyoffish.com chance.

    second, Don't eliminate. I actually know a great deal of single parents who met the love of their life. I think you've perhaps become too enclosed in finding someone now you've realised that's what you want.

    You've made the positive decision to try and it's wonderful you will find the support of your son, But don't let it take over.

    Don't let it become a chore or a burden dating is can be fun.

    I'd also recommend you get out in the real world as well, Rebuild your happen to be and cultivate new ones.

    Friendships often grow into something more and that's a great foundation for a romantic relationship.

    June 16, 2021 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair California

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the finest blogs on the internet. I most certainly will recommend this site!


    June 16, 2021 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. nurseries near me


    June 17, 2021 at 04:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 17, 2021 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. John Deere Technical

    Hiya! Quick question that's totally off topic. Do
    you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My weblog looks weird when viewing from my iphone.

    I'm trying to find a template or plugin that might be
    able to fix this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share.


    June 17, 2021 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.