MS Society announces support for legalisation of medical cannabis
The charity has called for the drug to be legalised as a treatment of last resort for multiple sclerosis (MS)
There is “sufficient evidence [that] cannabis could benefit many people with MS experiencing pain and muscle spasms
Doctors who treat MS patients have backed the society’s call, as have the Liberal Democrats and the Green party
100,000 people suffer from MS in the U.K.
Evidence for cannabis’ effectiveness in treating the most severe symptoms of multiple sclerosis is now so strong that a prominent MS charity, MS Society, has now called for the government to relax its ban on the drug.
In an official statement, the charity, which has over 53,000 members, claimed that legalising medical cannabis for MS, “could benefit around 10,000 people who suffer from pain and spasticity.”
The charity initially did not support the use of cannabis to treat the symptoms associated with MS, but changed its position after consulting medical advisers, reviewing evidence and seeking the views of 3,994 people who suffer from the condition.
Speaking to The Guardian, Genevieve Edwards, the MS Society’s director of external affairs explained why the charity changed its stance: “We think cannabis should be legalised for medicinal use for people with MS to relieve their pain and muscle spasms when other treatments haven’t worked.
“The level of clinical evidence to support cannabis’s use for medicinal purposes is not conclusive. But there is sufficient evidence for our medical advisers to say that on the balance of probability, cannabis could benefit many people with MS experiencing pain and muscle spasms.”
Over 100,000 people suffer from MS in the U.K., a condition which causes severe pain and muscle spasms, and can relentless and exhausting to deal with, making it impossible to manage daily life.
In an official Statement, UPA announced its support for the move: "United Patients Alliance supporters and patients are delighted that the MS Society have stepped forward to support legal access to cannabis therapeutics.
“All our MS patients find that cannabis helps them with their symptoms with less unwanted side-effects then their regular prescription medications.
“We look forward to working more closely with the MS Society from now on and hope that this brave step forward encourages other health charities to support a change in the law."
Medical cannabis patients, such as Sarah Martin who was diagnosed with MS in 2003 and has since been medicating with cannabis, explained why support from MS Society is important to MS patients:
“It means the whole world to an awful lot of people. Now that we have the MS Society behind the argument the law will change sooner rather than later.
“Clark French [Director of UPA] has achieved a great thing! With bad health, you find you can achieve very little.
“Times are sure to change. Keep pulling the wall down one brick at a time. It's exhausting but worth every effort.”
Chris Reilly, the Social Media manager for UPA, whom also suffers from MS, said: “It’s a really positive step in right direction.
“It’s really brave of the society to back the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use. The move has taken them out of their comfort zone for the benefit of their patients, which is really exciting.
“Having MS myself, I know what cannabis can do – cannabis and Sativex. This is a massive step.
“I personally know the benefits. Cannabis manages my pain, spacisity, regulated my bowl and bladder, improves my mood, takes away ‘brain fog’, allows me to be social. It manages all aspects of my day to day life.
“If didn’t have cannabis id be in drug induced coma in bed; I’ve been there, and don’t want to go back there again!”
Support from the MS Society expands the growing number of charities and NGOs supporting the move for legalising cannabis for medical use. The only remaining roadblock to legalisation is the British Government.
The MS Society’s official statement can be found through their official website. For more information on how cannabis may help your medical condition, visit the United Patient’s Alliance’s official website.