Cannabis medicine improved MS symptom in small study
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who were treated with nabiximols – which contains compounds of the cannabis plant and is licenced in the UK under the brand name Sativex – saw their spasticity reduced and had improved arm and hand function after four weeks of treatment, a small study has found.
Thirteen adults with MS who had moderate-to-severe spasticity took part in the Italian research, 84.6% had secondary progressive MS, one patient had primary progressive MS, and one had relapsing remitting.
Patients built up to the optimal dose which was 5.6 sprays of the oral oil solution. All patients saw spasticity reduced by at least 20% – the threshold at which clinical efficacy is set.
The treatment was also linked to improved performance in the nine-hole peg test for finger dexterity, and the box and block test for manual skills.
Nabiximols is approved for use for spasticity in people with MS who haven’t responded well enough to other treatments in most European countries and Canada, but not in the US.
These preliminary findings suggest nabiximols may ease spasticity and improve “the overall motor function of upper limb in [people with multiple sclerosis] with moderate to severe spasticity,” the team wrote.