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Marijuana Use for MS Tied to Legal Permissiveness

Most patients have accurate knowledge about the legal status of cannabis where they live


FRIDAY, Dec. 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Cannabis use among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is more likely where cannabis laws are more permissive, according to a study published in the February issue of Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

Andrea Hildebrand, from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues surveyed 548 people with MS in the United States and Canada following an informational webinar on the use of cannabis for the control of MS symptoms. Questions assessed their use of cannabis for MS symptoms and their knowledge of the medical legality of cannabis in their state.

The researchers observed significant associations between cannabis use and the local legal status of cannabis (recreational versus not legal: odds ratio, 4.55), years since medical legalization of cannabis (for each year since legalization: odds ratio, 1.06), disease severity (severe versus mild disability: odds ratio, 3.41), and gender (male versus female: odds ratio, 2.33). There were also significant associations between accuracy of knowledge of local cannabis legality and cannabis use in the past year (users versus nonusers: odds ratio, 2.52), local legal status of cannabis (medical only versus not legal: odds ratio, 0.30; recreational versus not legal: odds ratio, 4.98), years since legalization of cannabis (for each increased year since legalization: odds ratio, 1.15), and country of residence (Canada versus United States: odds ratio, 0.42).

"This study supports that cannabis use for MS symptoms is more common in states where cannabis laws are more permissive and where cannabis has been legal for longer, in those with more severe MS, and in men," the authors write.

One author disclosed consulting for Greenwich Biosciences and Adamas Pharmaceuticals.

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