Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is an incurable disease of the nervous system. There is an indication that the disease results from a malfunction of the immune system, which agitates nerves in the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. This state produces a variety of symptoms which include fatigue, depression, vertigo, blindness and loss of voluntary muscle control, as well as muscle spasticity.
A great majority of MS patients develop spasticity and suffer from muscle stiffness, cramps, or involuntary muscle contractions (spasms) that are excruciatingly painful and debilitating. Most patients with MS experience sporadic bouts of spasticity that become even more disabling as time passes and in worst cases, patients become partially or even completely paralyzed.
The drugs generally prescribed to treat the symptoms of MS can only partially relieve the pain and sometimes they do not at all. They are sedatives that cause drowsiness and their side effects include dry mouth and muscle weakness where the muscles of the patient get weaker as the disease progresses.
Both marijuana and THC have been tested for their ability to relieve spasticity in small but rigorous clinical studies. Although MS patients in these studies experienced relief, researchers felt there was no hard evidence that marijuana relieves spasticity because they felt the marijuana-induced euphoria changed patients perceptions of muscle stiffness or spasticity. In the interest of thousands of MS patients, it is imperative that larger, better designed, clinical trials be conducted to fully discover the benefits for marijuana-based medicines for MS.