Source: Mar 27, 2014 08:49 AM EDT | By John Nassivera

New guidelines released from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) on Monday say that medical marijuana might be able to provide relief for symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Medical marijuana is one of the many complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) therapies used by patients with MS to help ease pain and symptoms they experience from the disease.(Photo : Mark)

New guidelines released from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) on Monday say that medical marijuana might be able to provide relief for symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Medical marijuana is one of the many complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) therapies used by patients with MS to help ease pain and symptoms they experience from the disease, according to Fox News. Study author Dr. Pushpa Narayanaswami said there aren’t many guidelines that help patients find out how effective these therapies really are.

“We wanted to review the literature well and see where we went with it, to guide patients as well,” said Narayanaswami, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. “There’s nothing out there that looks at all of these to see how effective and safe they are.”

The guidelines are based on recommendations made by a group of nine physicians chosen by the AAN, CNN reported. The physicians, who are experts on CAM therapies, found and reviewed 291 studies and literature from the last 43 years. A total of 115 of the studies passed, while most of them only lasted between six and 15 weeks.

“This is the first-ever review, evidence-based recommendation, on the treatment of MS with CAM therapies,” said Dr. Vijayshree Yadav, lead author and clinical director of Oregon Health and Science University’s Multiple Sclerosis Center. “There were 29 different therapies included in the guidelines. Nineteen studies looked at cannabis.”

Researchers found that there were certain forms of marijuana, such as a pill form and a spray form, that showed the most evidence that they can help patients with MS, Fox News reported. However, medical marijuana was unable to relieve certain side effects, which included tumors and urinary inconsistence. Researchers also said that medical marijuana had some negative side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, lack of balance and cognitive issues.

The researchers advised that patients should talk to their doctors when considering alternative therapies, including those that have proven to be effective, Fox News reported.

“I think one of the key messages is there’s little evidence that most therapies work,” Narayanaswami said. “We don’t have good information on if they interact with prescription MS drugs, we don’t have good information about safety, so patients should talk to their doctors if they are using them. It’s also important to note that the FDA doesn’t regulate most of these therapies, so patients don’t really know they are getting.”

Article Source: http://www.franchiseherald.com/articles/5432/20140327/medical-marijuana-eases-symptoms-multiple-sclerosis-alternative-treatments-ms.htm