The therapeutic potential of cannabis in multiple sclerosis

Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2003 Apr;12(4):561-7. doi: 10.1517/13543784.12.4.561.


There has been renewed interest in the therapeutic applications of cannabis, and people, particularly those with multiple sclerosis, claim that it may offer benefit in symptom control. Cannabis exerts many of its effects because it taps into an endogenous cannabinoid system. Recent advances have begun to shine light on the biology of this system and may support some of the anecdotal medical claims. The problem with cannabis as a drug is that both the positive and negative aspects are largely the work of the same receptor. However, it may be possible to avoid these through modulation of the endogenous system. Cannabinoids provide a novel therapeutic target, not only for controlling symptoms, but also slowing disease progression through inhibition of neurodegeneration, which is the cause of accumulating irreversible disability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / immunology
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Cannabis
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / physiology


  • Cannabinoids
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug