Short-Term Effects of Cannabis Therapy on Spasticity in MS

INVESTIGATOR: Jody Corey-Bloom, M.D., Ph.D.

STUDY LOCATION: University of California, San Diego

PROJECT TITLE: Short-Term Effects of Cannabis Therapy on Spasticity in MS

PROJECT TYPE: Clinical Study

STATUS: COMPLETE

RESULTS:

Thirty-seven participants were randomized at the start of the study, 30 of whom completed the trial. Treatment with smoked cannabis resulted in a significant reduction in spasticity using an objective clinician-rated measure. The placebo-controlled trial also resulted in reduced perception of pain, although participants also reported short-term, adverse cognitive effects and increased fatigue. No serious adverse events occurred during the trial.

The full results of this study have been published in CMAJ.

ABSTRACT:

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common debilitating neurologic disease of young people, affecting at least 250,000 persons in the US, often between the ages of 20 and 40. Symptom manifestation varies considerably from person to person; however, one frequently noted concomitant is spasticity, which causes pain, spasms, loss of function and difficulties in nursing care. The present application is designed to explore the short-term effectiveness and safety of medicinal cannabis on spasticity in patients with MS. There has been significant public discussion on the potential therapeutic uses of cannabis for various neurologic conditions, including MS; however, evidence that cannabis relieves spasticity produced by MS is largely anecdotal. Large-scale trials or controlled studies to compare cannabis or THC with currently available therapies for spasticity have not been performed. There is no published evidence that cannabinoids are superior or equivalent to available anti-spasticity therapies and potential side effects of cannabis need to be clarified. This proposed two-year project aims to examine spasticity and global functioning in 30 MS patients before and after treatment with smoked cannabis in a placebo-controlled, randomized, cross-over design. It is expected that MS subjects will demonstrate improvement in spasticity but impairment on cognitive measures of attention, concentration, and memory assessed before and after medicinal cannabis treatment. Patients will be measured at baseline and for three days after each treatment initiation using sensitive measures of spasticity, cognition, neuropsychiatric features, treatment-emergent effects, and global measures of functioning. Thus, the application's primary goal is to obtain objective assays of short-term efficacy and safety in MS patients treated for spasticity with medicinal cannabis.

PUBLICATIONS:

Type:

Title:

Journal Article Corey-Bloom J, Wolfson T, Gamst A, Jin S, Marcotte T, Bentley H, Gouaux B. (2012). Smoked cannabis for spasticity in multiple sclerosis: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. CMAJ. 2012 Jul 10;184(10):1143-50. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.110837. Epub 2012 May 14.
Meeting Abstract Corey-Bloom J, Wolfson T, Gamst A, Jin S, Marcotte T, Bentley H, Gouaux B. Short-Term Effects of Medicinal Cannabis on Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis. Poster presented at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (Chicago, IL). 2008.

San Diego schools look to take mystery and misinformation out of medical marijuana

Jared Aarons, ABC 10News San Diego, September 10, 2019

Starting this fall, the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine is offering the first-ever certificate program specializing in medical marijuana.

The three-semester class promises to teach health care professionals the basics of medical cannabis, so they can begin to use it in their practice.

"We thought it was important for health care professionals to have objective information about medical marijuana," says school President Jack Miller.

Miller says part of the program's purpose is to help dispel some of the myths surrounding medical marijuana.

Read the rest of the story here


CMCR announces $3M in new research grants to California investigators

The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at UC San Diego has been a leader in medical marijuana research since 2000. In the past CMCR has allocated funds to investigators in California to conduct some of the first proof of principle clinical trials of cannabis in neuropathic pain and multiple sclerosis.

With the recent allocation of new funding to CMCR as part of Proposition 64, the CMCR has launched a new wave of grant applications aimed at examining both the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabinoids. CMCR issued a call for applications to investigators in California in April 2019, received 66 letters of intent from 19 California institutions, and invited 26 applications for primary and pilot studies. Based on external peer review, advice of the CMCR’s National Advisory Council, and rating of attentiveness to CMCR priorities, the Center has selected 5 studies for funding this year. The studies to be funded are listed in the table below.

Study title Principal Investigator
Full funding amount
Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) versus Placebo as an Adjunct to Treatment in Early Psychosis: Understanding the Mechanism and Mediators of Action Kristin Cadenhead, MD (UC San Diego)  $825,000 
Therapeutic Response of Cannabidiol in Rheumatoid Arthritis Veena Ranganath, MD (UCLA)  $825,000
Cannabidiol for Sedative/Hypnotic-sparing Management of Insomnia in Adults Mariana Cherner, PhD (UC San Diego)  $825,000
Cannabidiol as a Strategy to Treat Alcohol Dependence Giordano de Guglielmo, PhD (UC San Diego)  $300,000
The Role of Cannabidiol (CBD) in Regulating Meal Time Anxiety in Anorexia Nervosa: Safety, Tolerability and Pharmacokinetics Emily Gray, MD (UC San Diego)  $300,000

CMCR anticipates issuing a new call for applications in 2020.

Congratulations to the new CMCR Investigators!

- Igor Grant, MD, Director


The CBD Expert Series: Q&A with a National Leader in Cannabis Research

Nick Musica, CBD Oil Review, August 21, 2019

Recently, Nick Musica of CBD Oil Review had the privilege of speaking with one of the most influential figures in cannabis research, Dr. Igor Grant. Dr. Grant is the Director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychiatry.

Current CMCR studies are examining the effects of cannabis, and cannabidiol (CBD) specifically, on conditions like autism, psychosis, bipolar disorder, and pain, to name a few.

There is, quite possibly, no one who understands the benefits and effects of CBD better than Dr. Grant. Meet the researcher behind the research.

Read the article here


More News

Click here to access the CMCR news archives.

Igor Grant, MD

Marijuana as Medicine: Can We See Past the Smoke?
North American Cannabis Summit presentation January 2019 (PDF)


Igor Grant, MD

Introduction/Overview
CMCR Symposium, June 2018


Daniele Piomelli, MD, PhD, PharmD

The health impact of cannabis
CMCR Symposium, June 2018


Ziva Cooper, PhD

Therapeutic potential of cannabis for pain alone and as an adjunct to opioids
CMCR Symposium, June 2018


Iain McGregor, PhD

Medicinal cannabis research down under: Introducing the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics
CMCR Symposium, June 2018


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