Some multiple sclerosis patients use medical marijuana to reduce their pain and muscle spasms, and a Colorado State University researcher is launching a crowdfunding campaign to study possible benefits and side effects of this long-term marijuana use.
The research project will not involve providing cannabis or encouraging its use; it will simply examine existing users who have decided to treat their MS symptoms with medical marijuana and voluntarily agree to participate in the study.
Thorsten Rudroff, director of CSU’s Integrative Neurophysiology Lab, said local clinicians estimate that up to 50 percent of their patients are using marijuana to alleviate their symptoms.
“Marijuana use may have additional benefits, such as improving motor function, but this is all based on anecdotal evidence,” Rudroff said. “We don’t have scientific evidence that this is working, so we think this research could provide valuable information.”
Rudroff would like to conduct tests on at least 20 MS patients in northern Colorado who are already using medical marijuana and compare them to a control group of the same size who don’t. He said that Colorado, which voted to allow medical marijuana use in 2000, is an ideal location for the study.
“This research can’t be done in many other states that don’t have the same marijuana laws,” Rudroff explained. “Also, Colorado has one of the highest rates of MS in the country. More and more dispensaries are coming, and we need to give patients solid information.”