CSU Research Team Asks: Does Cannabis Improve Motor Function in Persons with MS?
March 8, 2016
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A research team from the Integrative Neurophysiology Laboratory in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University has proposed a new study to determine if cannabis use can improve motor function in persons suffering from MS. Their long-term goal is "to determine the safety and effectiveness of cannabis use in treating symptoms of multiple sclerosis and helping patients with MS to live the highest quality of life possible."
An Observational Study
This will be an observational study of patients with MS who are already using cannabis compared to patients with MS who are not. Both groups of patients (cannabis users and non-users) will perform a battery of exercise tests to provide data for the comparison. The patients will not be directed to change, start or stop any of their current cannabis use habits. (Although, patients will be asked not to bring cannabis on campus or perform any of the tests while under the influence.)
The research team will use non-invasive imaging Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) to examine how activity of the brain, spinal cord, and skeletal muscles are affected during exercise with chronic cannabis users and non-users. According the project's fundraiser website, "This project is novel, because it is the first study which directly investigates the effects of cannabis use on motor function in patients with MS. The PET/CT technique is a unique tool that allows us to examine the connection between the central nervous system and the skeletal muscles during exercise."
The Goal Of This Project
The CSU research team states that their goal for this project is to determine the influence of cannabis use on motor function in patients with MS, to help clinicians and patients make an informed decision on whether or not to recommend or use cannabis for symptom management in MS.
How You Can Help
To begin this study, the research team is first trying to raise a total of $7,000 which will allow them to perform PET/CT imaging on eight patients. Studying eight patients will provide them with enough "pilot data" to pursue future larger studies investigating the effects of cannabis use on symptom management in multiple sclerosis. To help them reach this goal, you can make a donation and spread the word!