BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Health
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Background Briefings 
Medical notes 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



Dr Liz Williams, University of London
"MS sufferers find the herb gives a great deal of relief"
 real 28k

Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Natural cannabis 'better than extracts'
Cannabis plants
Multiple sclerosis sufferers say cannabis relieves their pain
Medicines containing every ingredient of cannabis might work better than chemical extracts, says a scientist.

Dr Elizabeth Williamson, of the School of Pharmacy, London, said she had found using the whole herb was as effective as an extract at tackling MS symptoms such as spasticity, but worked faster.


Cannabis is the only medicine that I and many others have comes across that treats the whole condition

Ms Clare Hodges, from the Alliance of Cannabis Therapeutics

Much work has already been carried out on a cannabis ingredient, or cannabinoid,called THC, but Dr Williamson said she wanted trials on the whole plant extended.

She told the BBC : "Multiple Sclerosis sufferers find the herb gives a great deal of relief and we want to know whether it is actually the whole herb which is better than taking the isolated cannabinoids out of it."

"We have just found that if we use a plant extract we actually get a better result than if we use pure THC.

"We know that THC does work, but the herb does work better and I don't know whether there is actually something in there that is much more potent."

Dr Williamson presented her findings to a symposium on cannabinoids as a medicine at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, in London.

Legalisation

Earlier this month the House of Lords select committee on science and technology published a report which calls for cannabis to be regarded in the same way as any other potential medicine.

The beginning of the year also saw a major clinical trial begin in London, with another due to start in the city later this month.

It will be investigating the therapeutic effect of cannabis and cannabinoids for the conditions of post-operative pain and spasticity in patients with MS.

Ms Clare Hodges, from the Alliance of Cannabis Therapeutics, said cannabis was vital to help alleviate the symptoms of her MS.

She has been using the drug regularly and finds it works better than any prescription drugs.

"On the day to day basis my general quality of life is better and as well as relieving the physical problems it lifts your spirits.

"You don't have to get high or stoned for it to improve your mood in the way that anti-depressants are supposed to, but often don't.

"Cannabis is the only medicine that I and many others have comes across that treats the whole condition."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

22 Mar 01 | Health
Lords back cannabis use
07 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Medical cannabis 'to be legal'
13 Dec 00 | Health
Cannabis driving danger measured
12 Dec 00 | Health
Cannabis clues to fertility
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories