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Potential Control of Multiple Sclerosis by Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System

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For many years, multiple sclerosis (MS) patients have been self-medicating with illegal street cannabis to alleviate symptoms associated with MS. Data from animal models of MS and clinical studies have supported the anecdotal data that cannabis can improve symptoms such as limb spasticity, which are commonly associated with progressive MS, by the modulation of excessive neuronal signalling. This has lead to cannabis-based medicines being approved for the treatment of pain and spasticity in MS for the first time. Experimental studies into the biology of the endocannabinoid system have revealed that cannabinoids have activity, not only in symptom relief but also potentially in neuroprotective strategies which may slow disease progression and thus delay the onset of symptoms such as spasticity. This review appraises the current knowledge of cannabinoid biology particularly as it pertains to MS and outlines potential future therapeutic strategies for the treatment of disease progression in MS.
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Keywords: Cannabis; Cerebral spinal fluid; Cyclic adenosine monophosphate; Diacylglycerol lipase; Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis; endocannabinoid; experimental allergic encephalomyelitis; multiple sclerosis; neuroprotection; spasticity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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