So how does the Society
publish an article questioning the wisdom of allowing
patients legal access to medicinal
marijuana? (“Marijuana and
MS—An unfinished story,”
Fall 2010) The author details
research showing that marijuana
may have beneficial effects for
MS. But the title for this sec-
tion? Study limitations! He
also depicts what he calls the
significant side effects. Surely
he recognizes that commonly
prescribed drugs for treatment
of MS symp-
with their own
33 Momentum•Fall.2010 nationalMSsociety.org/magazinebyAllenC.Bowling,MD,PhD Thereisagrowingtrendforstatestolegalizemarijuanafor medicaluse.InJanuary2010,NewJerseybecamethe14thstateto approveit,andmanyotherstateshavependinglegislationorotherongo- ingeffortsaimedatlegalization.Instateswithmedicalmarijuanalaws,MSoran MSsymptomsuchasmusclestiffness(spasticity)isalmostalwayslistedamong theconditionsforwhichthereislegalprotection.Theselawshavegivenriseto massivegrowthinstate“medicalmarijuanaindustries.”ItseemstomethatDen- vernowhasmoremarijuanadispensariesthanStarbucksstores. Inthemeantime,debateshaveintensifiedabouttherolesthatpatients,health-care providersandthelawshouldultimatelyplayinmakingdecisionsaboutmedical therapies.BecauseMSismentionedspecificallyinmanystatelaws,itissometimes believedthatthebenefitsinMSareproven—andthatlimitationsonaccessaredue purelytolegalmatters. Buttherearemanyunansweredquestionsaboutmarijuana’spotentialrisksandben- efits.Whathavescientificandclinicalstudiesshownaboutthesafetyandeffectiveness ofmarijuanaforpeoplewithMS? Thefascinatingscienceof marijuana Inthe1990s,therewereremark- ableadvancesinourunderstanding ofhowthechemicalcompoundsin marijuanaactonthehumanbody. Marijuana nd MS—An Unfinished Story AGooglesearchon“medicalmari- juanaandmultiplesclerosis”yields whoppingresults.Whathaveclinical studiesreallyshownaboutitssafety andeffectivenessforpeoplewithMS?
Steve Allen/Getty IMAGeS
that we wanted another child.
My son was born in August
2009. I had wonderful pregnancies both times. I hope your
article helps others.
Alison Kucera, Maryland
I have been living with MS for
21 interesting years. My disease
has progressed to a secondary-progressive phase, but I am
determined to live a full and
My level of fatigue hinders
me from working
full-time, but I have
found many ways to
keep active. Perhaps
the most fulfilling is
my weekly painting
class. The spasticity
in my hands actually benefits my
The magazine of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Go for it?
Starting a family
with MS in the mix
Go for it?
Go for it?
Go for it?
Pages 21 & 57
A NEW WAY TO READ!
Go to nationalMSsociety/
• We’re now online from
cover to cover.
• Fully searchable. Easy to
• Available before printed
magazine reaches mailbox.
Seeking couples with MS
I have relapsing-remitting MS
and recently started dating a guy
who has it as well. We did some
digging to see how many other
couples were like us. We were
surprised to find almost nothing.
I was wondering if any readers
who are in this situation would
mind sharing their experiences?
Katherine Padula, via e-mail
What is it, really? Are there signs doctors use to determine that
progression has actually occurred? Are there symptoms to
indicate when a loss is going to be permanent? What’s the latest
research on what happens and why? How do people handle
progression—both their own and those of their loved ones?
Additional research is needed
to fully understand the specific
risks and benefits. It is important
for those with MS to work with
their health-care providers on
an individual basis to determine
which options are reasonable,
evaluate available information and
thoughtfully weigh the risks and
—Dr. Allen Bowling
It is exciting and
becoming available. Medical
marijuana, like prescribed drugs,
may benefit some people with MS.
Both marijuana and prescribed
drugs may also cause side effects.
More support for
Finally, states are beginning to
legalize marijuana for medical use.