Natural cannabis 'better than extracts'

Dr Elizabeth Williamson, of the School of Pharmacy, London, said she had found using the whole herb was as effective as an extract at tackling MS symptoms such as spasticity, but worked faster.

Much work has already been carried out on a cannabis ingredient, or cannabinoid, called THC, but Dr Williamson said she wanted trials on the whole plant extended.

According to Dr. Williamson, multiple sclerosis sufferers find the herb gives a great deal of relief and there is a need to know whether it is actually the whole herb which is better than taking the isolated cannabinoids out of it. It has been found that using a plant extract can actually get a better result than if a pure THC is used.

THC is known to work, but the herb does work better and it is not known whether there is actually something in there that is much more potent.

Dr Williamson presented her findings to a symposium on cannabinoids as a medicine at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, in London.

Legalisation Earlier this month the House of Lords select committee on science and technology published a report, which calls for cannabis to be regarded in the same way as any other potential medicine.

The beginning of the year also saw a major clinical trial begin in London, with another due to start in the city later this month.

It will be investigating the therapeutic effect of cannabis and cannabinoids for the conditions of post-operative pain and spasticity in patients with MS.

Acccording to Ms Clare Hodges, from the Alliance of Cannabis Therapeutics, cannabis was vital to help alleviate the symptoms of her MS.

She has been using the drug regularly and finds it works better than any prescription drugs.

According to her, on the day to day basis general quality of life is improved and as well as relieving the physical problems it seems to be psychologically beneficial. There is no need to get high or stoned for it to improve the mood of a person in the way that anti-depressants are supposed to, but often don't.