Dr. Rock Heyman presented a "Research Update" last night at the annual meeting of the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. He discussed new drugs on the market, drug studies, the and risks associated with a variety of drugs currently being studied.
Q: Pennsylvania is currently considering HB1393. What is your position on medical marijuana?
A. Sativex has been approved in Canada for relif of pain and spasticity from MS. It won’t improve memory or balance or tremors (laughter from audience).
The chemicals in marijuana can affect Neuropathic Pain and will help patients with Neuropathic spasticity. Cannabis is an option for them. The problem is that it may blunt someones' energy levels, memory or cogntion and overuse of cannabis can be a big problem. Blunting peoples motivations to get out and do things. And certainly as a doctor I don’t like people smoking any medicine whether it’s their Avonex or their marijuana. The problem with cannabis is that if you take it orally it gets broken down so much that most of it doesn’t stay in the system which is why Canada went with the spray.
Q: Should meidcal marijuana be legalized?
Dr. Heyman is Assistant Professor of Neurology Chief, Division of Neuroimmunology/Multiple Sclerosis at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School.
250 people were in attendance at the November 17, 2009 meeting including MS patients, family members, volunteers and the Board of Trustees.
November 18, 2009