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Sunday, July 28, 2013 8:17 PM | Tony Miles Volg link

CUPID cannabis trial results published

Author: MS Trust

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), one of the active ingredients in cannabis, has no effect on slowing progression in multiple sclerosis according to results published in Lancet Neurology.

The CUPID (Cannabinoid Use in Progressive Inflammatory brain Disease) involved 493 people with progressive MS at centres around the UK. Participants took either a THC based drug called dronabinol or placebo for three years. Researchers measured changes in progression using neurologist assessed measures (EDSS - Expanded Disability Status Scale), participant reported measures (MSIS-29 - Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale 29) and MRI scans to show changes in brain volume. The MS Trust funded the cost of MRI scans for this study.

The study found no evidence to support an effect on progression or evidence that dronabinol protects nerves from damage due to MS.

A review of subsets of participants found there was some evidence to suggest a beneficial effect in people with lower levels of disability at the start of the study, but further research looking at larger numbers of people would be needed to confirm this.

Researchers also noted that people in the study, whether on dronabinol or placebo, did not show progression at the rate that had been expected from previous studies of the course of MS.

The MS Trust has been pleased to fund part of the CUPID study. While the outcomes are negative they provide important evidence in the ongoing challenge to find effective treatments for progressive MS

Pam Macfarlane, Chief Executive, MS Trust