Medical uses of cannabis

Cannabis (in various forms) has been used to alleviate pain and the symptoms of a number of conditions. In 1839, a professor of medicine at the University of Calcutta by the name of W B O'Shaughnessy, introduced cannabis into Western medicine.

Cannabis has been used to help patients with various forms of cancer, where it may offer some relief from pain and it may help boost appetite in some with advanced cancer.

The other condition where cannabis has attracted a lot of attention is in the alleviation of some of symptoms and pain associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It is variously claimed to reduce muscle spasm, pain and bladder problems. A number of clinical trials have been conducted, notably on an aerosol preparation (sprayed under the tongue for rapid absorption into the blood) containing cannabinoids (purified chemicals derived from the plant), and this has been approved for use by medical authorities in some countries.

Useful sites regarding this, and MS generally:

www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/ms1.shtml (MS and cannabis)

www.msrc.co.uk (the MS resource centre)

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