Study shows cannabis does not effect progressive MS

Alison Smith
500 multiple sclerosis sufferers took part in the study Photo: ITV Westcountry

It's been known for some time that cannabis has an effect on the symptoms of multiple sclerosis but experts at Plymouth University set out recently to find out if it could slow down the progression of the disease.

They studied 500 people with multiple sclerosis over an eight-year period. Whilst two thirds were given capsules containing the active ingredient in cannabis, others were given placebos.

Though it was found the drug had some benefits for those who had a less serious form of MS, the study showed it had no effect in halting its progression.

Professor John Zajicek says the result is disappointing but more research needs to be done:

MS sufferer Alison Smith volunteered to be a part of the trial. She was first diagnosed in 2003 and decided she wanted to be a part of the new study after reading about it.

Before the trial, she was managing her symptoms on a day to day basis, but found there was little in the way of treatments on offer.

She would recommend taking part in the trial even if it doesn't benefit you personally in the short term.

Professor Zajicek says that for the future, many more clinical trials need to be carried out, as this was only the third non-commercial one in the last thirty years.

Funding is the main obstacle. This trial alone cost £3 million, but Professor Zajicek says that if they're going to find answers, then a lot more money will need to spent.