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New Pot Studies 1 For Multiple Sclerosis 
         1 For Sickle Cell


* Science: Cannabis reduces neuropathic pain due to multiple sclerosis in clinical study

* Science: Survey on medical use of cannabis in sickle cell disease

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Science: Cannabis reduces neuropathic pain due to multiple sclerosis in clinical study

British researchers of the Walton Centre for Neurology and
Neurosurgery in Liverpool demonstrated that the cannabis
extract Sativex of GW Pharmaceuticals is effective in reducing
central neuropathic pain and sleep disturbance in people with
multiple sclerosis (MS). "Central neuropathic pain occurs
frequently in people with MS. It can be tremendously debilitating and unresponsive to existing therapies," Dr Carolyn Young, principal investigator of the study, said.

The 5 week placebo-controlled study was conducted in 66
patients with MS who suffered from chronic neuropathic pain.
64 patients completed the trial, of whom 32 received the
cannabis extract and 32 the placebo. Sativex contains equal
amounts of THC and cannabidiol (CBD) and is administered as
a spray under the tongue. The mean maximum daily THC dose
was 25 mg (range: 5-65 mg). Pain and sleep disturbance were
recorded daily on an 11-point numerical rating scale. Cannabis
caused a significant mean pain reduction of 2.7 points (baseline: 6.5) compared with 1.4 points (baseline: 6.4) following placebo. Sleep was significantly improved by 2.5 points with cannabis compared to 0.8 points with placebo. The cannabis extract was generally well tolerated, although more patients on cannabis than placebo reported dizziness, dry mouth, and somnolence.

Based on these study results, which were published now in the journal Neurology, Sativex was approved as a prescription
medicine in Canada for the symptomatic relief of neuropathic
pain in adults with MS and is available in pharmacies since 20
June 2005.

(Sources: Rog DJ, Nurmikko TJ, Friede T, Young CA.
Randomized, controlled trial of cannabis-based medicine in
central pain in multiple sclerosis. Neurology 2005;65(6):812-9;
press release by GW Pharmaceuticals of 27 September 2005)


Science: Survey on medical use of cannabis in sickle cell disease

An anonymous questionnaire survey was conducted at the
Central Middlesex Hospital in London among adults suffering
from sickle cell disease (SCD). 86 subjects aged 23 to 39 years participated in the study. 31 had used cannabis in the previous 12 months to relieve symptoms associated with SCD. The main route in all but two patients was by smoking. The main reasons for use were to reduce pain in 52 per cent, and to induce relaxation or relieve anxiety and depression in 39 per cent.

SCD is a blood condition caused by a cell mutation, which is
seen most commonly in people from Africa and India. Sickle cell syndromes also occur in people of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern background. This mutation causes a change in
haemoglobin, the oxygen-transport protein in red blood cells.
Pain is one of the predominant symptoms in SCD. It can be
severe enough to require opioid analgesics for relief, can recur
acutely at unpredicted intervals, is associated with inflammation and can become chronic.

(Source: Howard J, Anie KA, Holdcroft A, Korn S, Davies
SC. Cannabis use in sickle cell disease: a questionnaire study. Br J Haematol 2005;131(1):123-8.)

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