Researchers Test Medical Cannabis as Treatment for MS-Linked Neuropathic Pain

Canadian researchers are testing mice to see if cannabinoid oil products — a common medical marijuana treatment — could help alleviate the neuropathic pain that often afflicts patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The preclinical study, “Identifying the molecular mechanisms involved in supressing multiple sclerosis induced neuropathic pain following cannabinoid treatment in an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS),” is a joint effort between CanniMed Therapeutics and researchers at Canada’s University of Manitoba. Its results may help to support clinical testing of cannabinoid oil products in MS patients with chronic pain.

Researchers, operating with an $80,000 CDN (about $61,000) grant from CanniMed, will use a mouse model of MS-associated neuropathic pain to test the analgesic effect of two CanniMed oil products. One is CanniMed 10:10, which has an equal concentration of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol); the other is CanniMed 1:20, which contains only CBD.

The study aims not only to determine if the drugs improve neuropathic pain in the mouse model, but also to uncover the molecular mechanisms they use to exert their beneficial effect.

“This research endeavor will be the first pre-clinical scientific validation to identifying the direct molecular mechanisms of action of herbal medical cannabis oils and their direct potential impact on neuropathic pain for MS patients,” team leader Michael Namaka, PhD, said in a news release.

“With CanniMed’s ability to supply consistent, quality-controlled and pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis oils for this trial, we are confident that our outcomes will be standardized and provide us with direction on how cannabis oil will also respond in the patient population,” Namaka added.

The study’s preliminary results have shed some light on the way such products work, but final results will likely be published later this year.

“CanniMed is committed to working with leading physicians and researchers across Canada and around the world in the effort of identifying the potential impact of medical cannabis in supporting symptom management of a number of medical conditions,” said Brent Zettl, CanniMed’s president and CEO. “Research endeavors like this one will build upon the expanding library of pre-clinical and clinical research in order to demonstrate to patients, physicians, regulatory groups and governments that medical cannabis is an important therapeutic option.”

This article was initially published on Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

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