A new study in Britain says that a marijuana extract appears to reduce the painful muscle stiffness suffered by people who have multiple sclerosis. Over 90% of people who have MS suffer from muscle stiffness during the time they have the disease.

Muscle stiffness reduces their mobility, daily routines are interfered with and it affects how they sleep. Often times current treatments do not fully relieve muscle stiffness symptoms and many patients with MS must try other alternative therapies, one of which is marijuana.

In the study just released, which included over 300 adults who have MS from more than 22 treatment facilities throughout the United Kingdom, patients were selected randomly to either receive the extract tetrahydricannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, or a placebo daily for 12 weeks.

The daily doses were gradually increased from a low of 5 milligrams to 25 milligrams for the first two weeks. Then maintenance doses for the next 10 weeks, according to those who performed the study.

After the study term of 12 weeks, patients’ muscle stiffness had eased in approximately 30% of those patients who had taken the extract from marijuana and in about 16% of those who took the placebo, said researchers.

The difference in muscle stiffness could be noticed after just four weeks and included improvements in muscle spasms, muscle pain and quality of sleep during all points of the 12 weeks study.

The study’s findings suggest that the extract from marijuana could be a treatment for MS patients who have muscle problems and could be an effective in relieving pain, especially for those with considerable pain, said researchers.

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