The University of California Davis, in collaboration with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, has permission to conduct a clinical trial of smoked cannabis on 60 M.S. patients. It's extremely rare to see something like this National Institutes of Health study. This field of science has been dangerously politicized, critics note.
The only medically valid supplies of the plant are tightly controlled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse - whose goal is to keep "marijuana" illegal. The federal government admitting there is anything useful in cannabis would contradict 70 years of propaganda and endanger billions of dollars each year set aside for drug agents, federal prisons, and local police grants.
Interestingly, this study's "start date" was NINE years ago, yet it's just now recruiting patients, with an estimated study completion date of June 2013. Of course, it will still be years before M.S. patients in backwater, non-medical cannabis states could legally use the plant for proven relief. If you are an M.S. patient or know one, consider trying to sign up, and if you've found relief, tell us about it in the comments.
Also recruiting: cannabis for inflammatory bowel disease.
Some background on cannabis from that proposed study:
The marijuana plant Cannabis has been used for centuries in the medicinal treatment of many disorders and is still the subject of medical research and public debate. Cannabinoids have been purported to alleviate a variety of neurological conditions such as MS-related symptoms including spasticity, pain, tremor and bladder dysfunction. Other neurological conditions like chronic intractable pain, dystonic movement disorders and Tourette's Syndrome were all reported to be alleviated by cannabis use. Cannabis has been used to treat anorexia in AIDS and cancer patients. In gastroenterology cannabis has been used to treat symptoms and diseases including anorexia, emesis, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, intestinal inflammation and diabetic gastroparesis.
Cannabinoids have also a profound anti inflammatory effect, mainly through the CB2 receptor. Cell mediated immunity may be impaired in chronic marijuana users. And a potent anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis was observed in rats . Studying the functional roles of the endocannabinoid system in immune modulation reveals that there are no major immune events which do not involve the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids shift the balance of pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines towards the T-helper cell type 2 profiles (Th2 phenotype), and suppress cell-mediated immunity whereas humoral immunity may be enhanced. They are therefore used for various inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. In a mouse model of colitis cannabinoids were found to ameliorate inflammation and there are many anecdotal reports about the effect of cannabis in inflammatory bowel disease. However, there are no methodical reports of the effect of cannabis on inflammatory bowel disease. The aim of the proposed study is to examine in a double blind placebo controlled fashion the effect of smoking cannabis on disease activity in patients with IBD.