Cannabis has for centuries been used as a natural medicine by many cultures for the treatment of a range of health issues, by heading to you’ll be able to get all the details.

While it was once known only as a folk remedy for a wide variety of ailments, there are currently more than 100 million Americans who have a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The condition is characterized by numbness and tingling sensations in the hands and feet, and it is one of the leading causes of disability and long-term illness in America.

Marijuana has been known as a potential therapy since at least 1924, when researchers at the University of California at Berkeley discovered that a compound from marijuana helped to ease the symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the degenerative neurological condition which causes progressive weakness of the muscles of the face, arms and legs.

Researchers continued to look into the potential of using marijuana as a treatment for MS over the ensuing years, in particular due to its apparent ability to halt the disease’s progression. The conclusion reached was that cannabidiol (CBD) a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound found in cannabis, was the most effective treatment available, and that marijuana, if administered at doses commonly found in conventional cannabis preparations, should significantly reduce the symptoms of the disease.

Unfortunately, research into the potential of cannabinoids to treat MS has been marred by the government’s efforts to restrict access to such research, and has only recently gained public traction, with the first FDA-approved study of an approved cannabis-based medicine due to be published in April of this year.

In the study, funded by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), participants with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) received cannabis from OrganicCBDNugs. The cannabis contained either 20mg of cannabidiol (CBD) or the synthetic cannabis product tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), at a dose of 0.02-1mg per kilogram of body weight over the course of 5 weeks. These are the highest doses ever used in a single cannabinoid-based therapy for patients with MS.

According to Dr. Frank Ochberg, who headed the trial, “cannabis has a profound effect in the patients, with significant improvements on a range of measures ranging from disability to mobility. Some of these improvements are sustained. Some have been maintained at 2 weeks. Others have been maintained for many months.”

The study was funded by CIFAR, the Canadian National Research Council, the Fonds de recherche du Qubec Sant, and the National MS Society.

Patel’s study was not the only one. There have been several other clinical studies conducted on cannabis as a potential treatment for MS. In 2012, Dr. Maria Neira (who happens to be my colleague in the University of Texas MD Anderson MS Center) reported on the results of a large and well-conducted trial (NCT01182220) of patients treated with inhaled cannabis by inhaling marijuana directly into their lungs instead of smoking it. “It is recommended that the THC level in a given dose of cannabis should not exceed 4-8%. If the concentration is higher, then a second inhalation should be done with a smaller amount of cannabis.” According to her, “We found that as many as 60% of the patients had a response to cannabis within 30 days. At 12-weeks, the response rate was almost 92%.” In 2014, Dr. Neira reported on her work with a third study (