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Disease DescriptionMultiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to be an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). The disease...
In a study of 112 MS patients self-medicating with cannabis in the US and UK, Consroe et al reported that 70% of more respondents reported...MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to be an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). The disease attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin. Myelin is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres. If damage to myelin is slight, nerve impulses travel with minor interruptions; however, if damage is heavy and if scar tissue replaces the myelin, nerve impulses may be completely disrupted, and the nerve fibres themselves can be damaged.
MS can cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes. 
Disease onset usually occurs in young adults, and it is more common in females. It has a prevalence that ranges between 2 and 150 per 100,000.
Current Treatment Options
No one knows what causes multiple sclerosis and there is no cure, but treatment can manage and relieve symptoms. Treatments attempt to return function after an attack, prevent new attacks, and prevent disability.
Evidence for Cannabinoids
Sativex, an oromucosal spray formulated from both THC and CBD has been approved by many regulatory agencies around the world for the treatment of MS spasticity.
A phase III clinical trial4 investigating the effects of Sativex in over 500 people showed that 48% of participants had 20% or more improvement in their spasticity. Amongst those who responded, about three quarters had an improvement of greater than 30% in their spasticity score within four weeks when compared with those taking a placebo. Combined analysis of three clinical trials confirmed the effectiveness of Sativex5.
Proposed mechanism of Cannabinoid Therapies
The exact mecahnism is unknown but is likely the action of the Cannabinoids on the CB1 and CB2 receptors spread throughout the brain and peripheral body.
1) Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
3) Multiple Sclerosis Trust