Trial shows no clear benefit from cannabis for patients with MS
- By: Owen Dyer
The three year CAMS (cannabis in multiple sclerosis) trial, involving more than 600 patients in the United Kingdom, has yielded no definitive verdict on whether the drug can ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The study, funded by the Medical Research Council, was published in the Lancet (2003;362:1517-26).
Fifteen weeks' treatment with oral capsules containing either whole cannabis extract or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the drug's principal active ingredient, did not produce a significant improvement in spasticity as measured by the widely used Ashworth scale.
But in face to face interviews, patients assigned to the treatment arm of the double blinded trial were more likely than those receiving placebo to report a subjective improvement in symptoms. The participants reported significant improvements in pain, sleep quality, spasms, and spasticity, though not in irritability, depression, tiredness, tremor, or energy. The researchers found that patients taking the cannabis derivative showed an improvement in the time