Article

Cannabis use in patients with multiple sclerosis

Department of Neurology, Kings College Hospital NHS Trust, London, UK.
Multiple Sclerosis (Impact Factor: 4.86). 11/2006; 12(5):646-51. DOI: 10.1177/1352458506070947
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Little is known about the extent and patterns of cannabis use in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
MS patients attending neurology outpatient clinics at two hospitals in London and one in Kent, UK completed a questionnaire.
Questionnaires were completed by 254/337 (75%) MS patients. Forty-three per cent had used cannabis at some stage (ever users). Of these, 68% (75/110) had used cannabis to alleviate symptoms of MS (MS-related cannabis use). Forty-six (18%) had used cannabis in the last month (current users), of whom 12% (31/254) had used it for symptom relief. Being married or having a long-term partner, tobacco smokers and increasing disability were independent risk factors for MS-related cannabis use. Compared to patients who could walk unaided, cannabis use was more likely in those who were chair-bound (adjusted OR 2.47; 1.10-5.56) or only able to walk with an aid (adjusted OR 1.56; 0.90-3.60). Pain and spasms were common reasons for cannabis use. Seventy-one per cent of individuals who had never used cannabis said they would try the drug if it were available on prescription.
A large proportion of MS patients had tried cannabis for symptom control, however current use was small. A subgroup with greater disability appears to derive some symptomatic benefit.

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