Short-term effects of smoking marijuana on balance in patients with multiple sclerosis and normal volunteers

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1994 Mar;55(3):324-8. doi: 10.1038/clpt.1994.33.


A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study of inhaled marijuana smoke on postural responses was performed in 10 adult patients with spastic multiple sclerosis (MS) and 10 normal volunteers matched as closely as possible for age, sex, and weight. A computer-controlled dynamic posturographic platform with a video line scan camera measured shoulder displacement in response to pseudorandom platform movements. Premarijuana smoking patient tracking was inferior to that of the normal volunteers as indicated by the higher noise variance of the former. Smoking one marijuana cigarette containing 1.54% delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol increased postural tracking error in both the patients and normal control subjects with both eyes open and closed; this untoward effect was greatest for the patients. The tracking error was also accompanied by a decrease in response speed for the patients with their eyes closed. Marijuana smoking further impairs posture and balance in patients with spastic MS.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Muscle Spasticity / drug therapy*
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity / physiopathology
  • Postural Balance / drug effects*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Time Factors