A review of scientific literature by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) found certain formulations of medical marijuana helpful in treating symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), but not helpful or lacking evidence to support treating other motor disorders. The results of this study were published in the April 29, 2014 issue of Neurology and will also be presented at the 2014 AAN Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

The investigators concluded that medical marijuana, in pill or oral spray dosage forms, was helpful in managing certain symptoms of MS. Symptoms included spasticity; pain related to spasticity, burning, or numbness; and overactive bladder. Insufficient evidence was found to support the efficacy of smoked medical marijuana for MS symptoms.

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Medical marijuana in the form of synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) pills did not alleviate abnormal movements secondary to levodopa or found in the late stages of Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, not enough information was present to show safety or efficacy of medical marijuana in the following neurological conditions:

  • Motor symptoms in Huntington’s disease
  • Tics in Tourette syndrome
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Seizures in epilepsy

The study also identified safety concerns with medical marijuana use. The investigators concluded medical marijuana should be prescribed only after failure of standard therapy.

The review study was endorsed by the American Autonomic Society, the American Epilepsy Society, and the International Rett Syndrome Foundation.

For more information visit AAN.com.