Science News

Hope For Dope ?

Sun, 9th Nov 2003

Part of the show The Safety of Genetically Modified Plants

The results of the first large-scale trial to investigate the benefits of cannabis extracts in multiple sclerosis are out this week. Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a crippling disease which attacks the nervous system, leading to muscle pain and spasms. Researchers at Plymouth University tested the effects of pills containing extracts from cannabis plants known as cannabinoids against a pill containing no drug. They found that the cannabis pills didn’t help with the muscle spasms but were useful for controlling pain and improving walking, as well as making the patients feel their other symptoms were a lot better. However, it’s hard to do a really accurate study as the side-effects of the drugs are fairly easy to spot and patients soon guess what they’re taking. It is hoped that these trials will spark more interest in cannabinoids as medical therapy but that means more debate over legalising them even in a tablet form.

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