Study: Marijuana’s cannabinoids can help treat MS

In Top Stories by David Silverberg

A new Israeli study found how specific marijuana compounds can reduce the inflammation of MS-like diseases in mice.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacologyconcluded THC and CBD (two of the most common cannabinoids found in marijuana) reduced inflammation in the brains and spinal cords of the sick mice.

“Inflammation is part of the body’s natural immune response, but in cases like MS it gets out of hand,” says Dr. Ewa Kozela. “Our study looks at how compounds isolated from marijuana can be used to regulate inflammation to protect the nervous system and its functions.”

How was the study carried out? According to media reports:

The researchers took immune cells isolated from paralyzed mice that specifically target and harm the brain and spinal cord, and treated them with either CBD or THC. In both cases, the immune cells produced fewer inflammatory molecules, particularly one called interleukin 17, or IL-17, which is strongly associated with MS and very harmful to nerve cells and their insulating covers. The researchers concluded that the presence of CBD or THC restrains the immune cells from triggering the production of inflammatory molecules and limits the molecules’ ability to reach and damage the brain and spinal cord.

The study was led by Tel Aviv University‘s Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Center for the Biology of Addictive Diseases and Sackler Faculty of Medicine.

In an earlier Medical Marijuana Review report, MS sufferers explained how using marijuana helped treat their painful symptoms, such as spasticity. Several studies back up the sufferers’ claims: “We found that smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in reducing symptoms and pain in patients with treatment-resistant spasticity, or excessive muscle contractions,” said study author Jody Corey-Bloom, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurosciences and director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at UC San Diego.