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Medical Marijuana May Ease Some MS Symptoms

Finding applies only to pot in pill or spray form, neurologists say

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NORML, the organization for the reform of marijuana laws, said the research came up short. Deputy director Paul Armentano disputes the authors' claims that there wasn't enough evidence to make broader conclusions about medical marijuana's benefits.

A review of the available literature "reveals some 20,000 published papers on cannabis and cannabinoids, including well over 100 controlled trials evaluating their safety and efficacy," Armentano said. "It is inaccurate to allege that information pertaining to cannabis' safety or therapeutic utility is lacking."

Advocates for people with MS, a disease of the nervous system, welcomed the review. The National MS Society "supports the rights of people with MS to work with their health care providers to access marijuana for medical purposes in accordance with legal regulations in those states where such use has been approved," said Timothy Coetzee, the society's chief advocacy, services and research officer.

The society also supports the need for more research to better understand the benefits and potential risks of marijuana and its derivatives as a treatment for MS, Coetzee said. "We intend to work towards removing barriers impeding such research," he added.

There is no cure for MS, but medications slow it down and help control symptoms for some people. Medical marijuana is usually not recommended unless standard treatments fail.

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