Possible Relief For Motor Neuron Disease Patients Using Cannabis Based Drug
Newly developed cannabis based Naximols oral spray could improve the effects of antispasticity treatments for the symptoms of muscle stiffness; Naximols employ delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol THC and cannabidiol CBD, as published in Lancet Neurology.
The cannabis based spray could complement therapy for existing treatments of muscle plasticity that often causes disability and lowered quality of life in patients with motor neuron disease. Current pharmaceuticals are not very helpful alleviating symptoms of spasticity, and they also have unwanted adverse side effects such as reducing muscle strength and causing fatigue.
“There is no cure for motor neuron disease, so improved symptom control and quality of life are important for patients. Our proof-of-concept trial showed a beneficial effect of THC-CBD spray in people on treatment-resistant spasticity and pain.” says Dr. Nilo Riva of Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.
A recent clinical trial tested Naximols spray on adult patients suffering with motor neuron disease currently taking antispasticity drugs; after 6 weeks participants displayed reduced levels of stiffness and muscular pain.
Motor neuron disease is a deadly neurodegenerative disorder that targets nerves cells which control movement of muscles, rate of progression varies and the most common form is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which causes rapid deterioration of motor neurons, while the rarer form primary lateral sclerosis takes more time to develop. Spasticity is the most common symptom, those with ALS will experience spasticity in varying degrees, those with PLS are affected by spasticity far more greatly.
Cannabinoids have been shown to have therapeutic effects such as relaxing muscles and stimulating appetite, as well as relieving pain, convulsions, and inflammation in patients with neurological disorders.
Adult patients with ALS or PLS were recruited to study the effects of cannabinoids on their associated spasticity with motor neuron disease, all participants experienced symptoms of spasticity for at least 3 months, and were taking antispasticity treatments for 30 days before joining the study cohort which they continued to take throughout the study.
Participants took a placebo or Naximols for ongoing therapy, receiving increasing doses of the cannabinoid oral mouth spray during the first week, once at the correct dose of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol THC and cannabidiol CBD the level was maintained for another 4 weeks.
The Naximols group was found to experience significantly alleviated spasticity, while the placebo group experienced deterioration. Naximols treated participants reported experiencing improvements in their condition, and displayed higher levels of pain relief as compared to the placebo group. The cannabis based spray was found to be safe and well tolerated, only triggering mild to moderate adverse effects such as sleepiness, vertigo, nausea, and lowered levels of energy and fatigue which are in line with expected side effects of using cannabinoids; no severe reactions took place.
Although further studies are required before the cannabis based oral spray can be approved and made available these result offer much hope for relief in those suffering with motor neuron disease struggling with pain and stiffness in their muscles.
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