Cannabis-Based Drug May Help in Motor Neuron Disease: Lancet

Spasticity is a progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disorder affecting the nerve cells that control muscle movement

Published15 Dec 2018, 05:59 AM IST
Health News
1 min read

A cannabis-based drug may help ease muscle movement for people suffering from motor neuron disease, the results of a clinical trial have shown.

The study, published in The Lancet Neurology journal, showed that chemical compounds - delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol THC and cannabidiol (THC-CBD) - derived from the cannabis sativa plant given as an add-on treatment may help ease symptoms of spasticity (tight or stiff muscles).

Spasticity is a rapidly progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disorder affecting the nerve cells that control muscle movement. It is a major cause of disability and reduced quality of life in people with motor neuron disease.

Adults with motor neuron disease who took a combination of anti-spasticity drugs and cannabidiol experienced less spasticity and pain at six weeks follow-up compared with those given placebo.

There is no cure for motor neuron disease so improved symptom control and quality of life are important for patients. Our trial showed a beneficial effect of THC-CBD spray in people on treatment-resistant spasticity and pain. However, there is a need to confirm efficacy and safety of THC-CBD spray in larger, longer term phase 3 trials.
Nilo Riva, Lead Researcher from the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Italy

For the trial, the team included 60 adults (aged 18-80 years).

Spasticity and pain was significantly improved in the THC-CBD spray group compared with placebo.

Overall, THC-CBD spray was well tolerated and adverse events were mild to moderate, the researchers said.

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