Cannabis use connected with decreased cognitive function in MS patients
A recent study has connected cannabis use with decreased cognitive function in MS patients. According to the study, published in the February 13th addition of Neurology, people with multiple sclerosis sometimes use marijuana in order to lessen the emotional difficulties of the disease; however, there is no scientific proof that the use of marijuana aids in reducing emotional difficulties in this population. Researchers relayed that the portion of MS patients that use marijuana is significant. According to Anthony Feinstein, MPhil, PhD, “this is the first study to show that smoking marijuana can have a harmful effect on the cognitive skills of people with MS.” The following is an excerpt of an article from Medical News Today that reviews the study:
“This is important information because a significant minority of people with MS smoke marijuana as a treatment for the disease, even though there are no scientific studies demonstrating that it is an effective treatment for emotional difficulties.”
Feinstein noted that MS itself can cause cognitive problems. “In addition, cognitive problems can greatly affect the quality of life for both patients and their caregivers,” he said.
For the study, researchers interviewed 140 Canadian people with MS. Of those, 10 people had smoked marijuana within the last month and were defined as current marijuana users. The marijuana users were then each matched by age, sex, the length of time they had MS, and other factors to four people with MS who did not smoke marijuana.
The researchers then evaluated the participants for emotional problems such as depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. They also tested the participants’ thinking skills, speed at processing information, and memory.