I am pleased to say New Pathways issue 108 is now landing on doormats across the country! As always we have a packed issue, full of all the latest multiple sclerosis (MS) news and research, including drug updates and the latest cannabis study findings.
As the sunshine begins to make an appearance, we get topical with lots on vitamin D. MSer Ian Cook puts vitamin D tablets and sprays to the test (see page 30) and Kahn Johnson reveals what happened when his vitamin D levels became toxic on page 16.
Also in this issue, MS Nurse Miranda Olding discusses sexual dsyfunction and what can be done to help (page 14) and we have the big interview with the star of Channel 4 programme 'The Search for a Miracle Cure' Mark Lewis (page 24).
I hope you enjoy reading this issue, and please do email me your comments and letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor, New Pathways
P.S. Don't forget New Pathways is available to read on the go. Download the My MS-UK app from the App store on your phone or tablet device today!
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.’
Hi everyone, Tomorrow we'll be closing our Choices leaflet survey, so if you would like help us shape them please do complete our short survey! The questions are about complementary therapies, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and cannabis and MS. Please be assured that any comments you give us will remain anonymous when published in our Choices leaflet. Thank you for your help! Best wishes, Diana Diana Baxter, Head of Services
In the latest issue of New Pathways we are tackling a well known taboo – the great cannabis debate. When we thought about doing an update on cannabis for MS, we never realised there would so much to share. But there is.
We look at both sides of the debate, look at new and existing treatments and hear from people about their own experiences. At MS-UK, we don’t believe that any subject should be a taboo and we are not advocating anything, and I hope you find this issue really informative so you can make your own choices.
But the story doesn’t end there – we’d still love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Does it help you? Or maybe you’ve tried it and you didn’t feel any benefits. Or perhaps you don’t think it should be used as a treatment at all.
Whatever your views and experiences, you can share them with us here at New Pathways. Just drop us a line or two at email@example.com.
We look forward to hearing from you
Editor, New Pathways