Spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis


Spasticity associated with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition which causes damage to the nerves in your brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system). ‘Sclerosis’ means scarring and refers to the damage to the nerves caused by MS. ‘Multiple’ is added because this can happen in more than one place.  Spasticity happens because of an imbalance in the electrical signals coming from the brain and spinal cord, often when multiple sclerosis has damaged the nerves there. This unevenness makes your muscles contract on their own and makes them tense.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause a wide range of symptoms and affect any part of the body. Each person with the condition is affected differently.

The symptoms are unpredictable. Some people's symptoms develop and worsen steadily over time, while for others they come and go.

Periods when symptoms get worse are known as relapses. Periods when symptoms improve or disappear are known as remissions.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Muscle spasms, stiffness and weakness
  • Mobility problems
  • Pain
  • Problems with thinking, learning and planning
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sexual problems
  • Bladder problems
  • Bowel problems
  • Speech and swallowing difficulties
  • Most people with MS only have a few of these symptoms.


The long-term effects of cannabinoids have been studied extensively for multiple sclerosis.

The studies show patients do not develop a tolerance for the medicinal effects, nor do they increase their doses over time to achieve the same therapeutic result. Although the medical evidence supporting cannabis use for MS is still limited, it is important to note the same is true for most conventional MS medications.

The American Academy of Neurology (Koppel et al, 2014) systematic review found strong evidence for oral cannabis extract for reducing central pain or painful spasms in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Find out more about the treatment of medical cannabis for multiple sclerosis under the MCAP

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