ST. PAUL, Minn. – EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL 4 P.M. ET, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2008 Media Contact: Angela Babb, ababb@aan.com, (651) 695-2789 Smoking Marijuana Impairs Cognitive Function in MS Patients ST. PAUL, Minn. – People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who smoke marijuana are more likely to have emotional and memory problems, according to research published February 13, 2008, in the online edition of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. “This is the first study to show that smoking marijuana can have a harmful effect on the cognitive skills of people with MS,” said study author Anthony Feinstein, MPhil, PhD, of the University of Toronto. “This is important information because a significant minority of people with MS smoke marijuana as a treatment for the disease, even though there are no scientific studies demonstrating that it is an effective treatment for emotional difficulties.” Feinstein noted that MS itself can cause cognitive problems. “In addition, cognitive problems can greatly affect the quality of life for both patients and their caregivers,” he said. For the study, researchers interviewed 140 Canadian people with MS. Of those, 10 people had smoked marijuana within the last month and were defined as current marijuana users. The marijuana users were then each matched by age, sex, the length of time they had MS, and other factors to four people with MS who did not smoke marijuana. The researchers then evaluated the participants for emotional problems such as depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. They also tested the participants’ thinking skills, speed at processing information, and memory. The study found marijuana smokers performed 50 percent slower on tests of information processing speed compared to MS patients who did not smoke marijuana. There was also a significant association between smoking marijuana and emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. People with MS have higher rates of depression and suicide compared to the general population. “Since marijuana can induce psychosis and anxiety in healthy people, we felt it was especially important to look at its effects on people with MS,” Feinstein said. The study was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
    The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as epilepsy, dystonia, migraine, Huntington’s disease, and dementia. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com.

  2. I have PPMS & from 2003-2012 was on 2 Canadian/forearm crutches
    Could Not drive.in 2012 started smoking MJ and in 3 -4 wks threw away 5 meds the crutches and able to drive and walk through the grocery
    without the rider.MJ has Been a Godsend for me

  3. You do not gain much from smoking it but getting high. You really need the spray Sativex or similar medicine or if you make the oil yourself to get any good help with cramps and pain but you still will get tired.

  4. I have MS but I daubt that i'll ever smoke I hate smoking but from time to time I have it in my tea or something then I relax or even sleep sometimes but makes me depressed too honestly.

  5. @DNBJerk I am so sorry about your loss…my mom also has MS. She got it a year after I was born. She didn't tell me about it until I was 13 because thats when she had to go on medicine for it because it got worse. Every night she has to inject herself with a needle. I want to convince her to start using medical marijuana but I don't want her to think I am some pot head daughter trying to get her to use it….

  6. I can walk a whole lot better with marijuana. It has so far been the only thing that has worked satisfactory with my symptoms. I was on some pharmaceutical drug for muscle spasticity but I couldn't take it without falling asleep. The key thing is, can it make life easier for you? If it can, then you should seriously consider it. I'm 30 and I didn't like the idea of using a handicap placard, but I do now because it makes my life easier. I think you just have to do what works for you.

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