This week, the MS Society has called for the legalisation of cannabis for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. In their report ‘Cannabis and MS. The role of cannabis in treating MS symptoms’, the MS Society explores the benefits of cannabinoids to those affected by pain and spasticity.
Last year, the MS Society revisited their stance on cannabis for medicinal use to better reflect the evidence, opinions and experiences of people with MS.
They conducted a survey of 3,994 people with MS to explore their attitudes and experiences of cannabis. They found that 22% of people surveyed had tried cannabis for medicinal purposes and 7% were still using it. 26% of people who had stopped taking cannabis, did so largely because of concerns over potential prosecution.
The MS Society now calls for all licensed treatments derived from cannabis to be made available to those who need them. They ask that Sativex, which is a medically licensed, cannabis derived treatment for spasticity, be available on the NHS.
They also recommend that people using cannabis to treat their MS symptoms, as a last resort, should not face prosecution, and that possession should not be a criminal offence.
The report states that the MS Society do not recommend that people smoke cannabis, and also caution that some people, particularly those with previous mental health problems, may have an adverse reaction to medicinal cannabis.
Amy Woolf, CEO of MS-UK, says in response to the news, ‘MS-UK welcomes the MS Society’s new stance and their approach of listening to the voices of people affected by MS. We will be interested to follow the progress made by the MS Society in the future on this very important subject.’