Saturday, April 29, 2006

To Smoke or Not To Smoke

Cigarettes? No, Never.

Marijuanna? No, it’s illegal, well maybe -- What about a mouth spray?

Medical marijuana has often been a topic in the news and on political agendas of a handful of states, but it is difficult to obtain. Anecdotal evidence provides most of our information in the United States because laws and wide-spread drug anxiety limit official research.

However, the National MS Society has reported on benefits and side effects of marijuana derivatives (specifically THC) to treat spasticity, tremors, and pain. In the society’s official statement, a report was cited that cautions smoking delivers an uncontrolled dosage where specific compounds hold promise for MS symptoms. But now there is breaking news that might update the official stance.

In January, the F.D.A. approved advanced clinical trials of a marijuana-derived drug called Sativex, which comes in the form of a mouth spray. Sativex has been approved in Canada for the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis, and it is available by prescription (though not yet fully licensed) in Spain and Britain. According to GW Pharmaceuticals, the British company that makes the drug, more than 1,500 patients in those three countries are using Sativex to alleviate pain, muscle spasticity and other serious problems.

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