Clinical Use of Cannabinoids for Symptom Control in Multiple Sclerosis

Neurotherapeutics. 2015 Oct;12(4):769-77. doi: 10.1007/s13311-015-0383-5.


The endocannabinoid system was discovered in 1988 but has received little attention for its potential therapeutic possibilities. That has started to change, and since 2000, a significant number of clinical trials of cannabinoids, principally for the control of spasticity in multiple sclerosis, have been undertaken. These studies have been difficult because of the nature of the disease and have involved patients for whom other therapies have failed or proved inadequate. This paper outlines the background to the use of cannabinoids available and discusses the principles of practice associated with their safe use. The focus has been on nabiximols, being the most studied and the only cannabinoid that has been both adequately researched for use in multiple sclerosis and granted a license by the regulators. However, what has emerged is that the effect for many patients can be much wider than just control of spasticity. Within and outside of neurology there seems to be an expanding range of possibilities for the therapeutic use of cannabinoids.

Keywords: Cannabinoids; multiple sclerosis; nabiximols; pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Endocannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*


  • Cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids