These are my own experiences and not medical recommendations, for informational purposes. Please discuss any treatment plans with your medical professional, doctor, neurologist, or MS Specialist.
Click any Link in Red Ink to be taken to links, such as the clinical trial. 🙏🏼🧡
I didn’t really understand spasticity when I was diagnosed with MS. I didn’t experience it for two years, and when it first came I was utterly confused. I woke late one morning in college. It was senior year, and I had all afternoon classes. I was staying up late, like a typical student. But this morning I couldn’t walk. I was holding walls. My legs didn’t bend at the knee anymore. All strength felt like it was gone in some places, with tightness in others. I was utterly confused. What was this?
Well, it was more than one system going haywire, but the part that had me walking like a robot, with non bending knees, was spasticity.
Medications to treat spasticity for Multiple Sclerosis are available, like Baclofen, but do not work for everyone, and sometimes have limited effectiveness. I shied away from many medications in my early 20s, fearing side effects and looking for more holistic approaches. I found a Dahn Yoga for MS DVD, did physical therapy. A friend suggested one very controversial plant that temporarily faded the spasticity, and offered me relief from gripping spasms.
That relief was from cannabis, and you and couldn’t just pick it up at a pharmacy (circa 2010.) I was a church going young woman, and I was vaping what???
I even talked to my bishop about it, because the guilt over what I was taking for relief from spasticity and other symptoms, something prohibited by religious texts and rules; also triggered my spasms. He understood and was sympathetic. He told me not to worry, what I was doing wasn’t wrong, and didn’t bar me from participating in church.
So with approval from a religious authority, I packed a one hitter (small cannabis pipe) and a nug I could go in a hike up a mountain with the knowledge I could get back down again. I didn’t have to live in fear of getting stuck, because I could take something that would unlock my legs, and stop my eyes from blurring. I could get back down the mountain. I could even take my dog on a walk by myself, from time to time.
Imagine if I had been able to pick something up at a pharmacy to treat my spasticity, help me go hiking, and prevent my violent spasms (partial seizures.) Imagine the guilt and risk avoided.
In a couple years we may be able to, in any state, access a prescription for a cannabis medication for spasticity. Nabiximols, also known as Sativex is being tested in clinical trials in the United States, Poland, and Czechia. It’s being tested for its effectiveness at alleviating spasticity in patients with Multiple Sclerosis, who also already take a prescription medication for spasticity.
- Trial in 26 locations throughout the United States
- Must have been treated with another drug for spasticity, baclofen, tizanidine, and/or dantrolene.
- Patient is 18 years or older (NO UPPER AGE LIMIT! 😊)
- Patient had not used cannabis 30 prior to participation in trial and will abstain from any other cannabis products for the duration of the trial. (Keep in mind there is a 50/50 chance of being on placebo.)
- There are other requirements listed in the link that are not listed here.
- Contact to inquire about signing up for the Nabiximols (Sativex) clinical trial:
- Contact: Medical Enquiries 1-833-424-6724
- Email: email@example.com
Nabiximols Clinical Trial Poland and Czechia
For more information on how Sativex, Nabiximols, has performed in clinical trials for spasticity, please check out Dr Brandon Beaber’s excellent breakdown:
I am so relieved that this is coming to the US. It is a confusing paradigm, to need something medically, that a prescription isn’t available for. I really struggled in North Carolina last year where CBD products are available, but Medical Cannabis is illegal. Delta 8 products are available, but they are work around by the CBD industry to take a non psychoactive component of cannabis and amplify it to a point that it produces psychoactive effects. It does not relieve spasticity and edible forms are too strong and produced non desirable effects, including feelings of anxiety. I strongly discourage their use medically. They have not been studied for safety, especially in medical use.
If I had a prescription to Sativex, I would have been able to treat myself for my extreme spasticity and spasms that resulted from a flare (caused by an asymptotic UTI.) The spasms took over my body in a way they had not in five years. I called to refill a prescription for clonazepam because I feared the night spaticity would keep me from sleeping. My MS Specialist called to see what was wrong, and cautioned me to take half a pill, as as side effect of the medication impacts balance. (I’ve almost fallen on nighttime bathroom trips. )
We need better relief from spasticity, that can be obtained legally in all 50 states. Something we can drive to CVS, or Rite Aid to get.
Luckily a pharmaceutical company is finally bringing Sativex to the US, if FDA approved studies replicate the data seen in trials in Europe, we may have access in the coming years.
If you do not have access to medical cannabis in your state, or if what you have access to, not right for your symptoms, you may want to contact numbers listen in the trial locations. Nabiximols is administered by oral spray, is a low dose of 2.7 THC and 2.5 CBD. Jazz Pharmaceuticals is conduction the US Clinical Trials.
Happy 4/20 by the way. 😉
May God be with you til we meet again…