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Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2015;231:213-31. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-20825-1_7.

Endocannabinoids in Multiple Sclerosis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroimmunology, Neuroscience and Trauma Centre, Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, 4 Newark Street, London, E1 2AT, UK. g.pryce@qmul.ac.uk.
2
Department of Neuroimmunology, Neuroscience and Trauma Centre, Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, 4 Newark Street, London, E1 2AT, UK. david.baker@qmul.ac.uk.

Abstract

There are numerous reports that people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have for many years been self-medicating with illegal street cannabis or more recently medicinal cannabis to alleviate the symptoms associated with MS and also amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). These anecdotal reports have been confirmed by data from animal models and more recently clinical trials on the ability of cannabinoids to alleviate limb spasticity, a common feature of progressive MS (and also ALS) and neurodegeneration. Experimental studies into the biology of the endocannabinoid system have revealed that cannabinoids have efficacy, not only in symptom relief but also as neuroprotective agents which may slow disease progression and thus delay the onset of symptoms. This review discusses what we now know about the endocannabinoid system as it relates to MS and ALS and also the therapeutic potential of cannabinoid therapeutics as disease-modifying or symptom control agents, as well as future therapeutic strategies including the potential for slowing disease progression in MS and ALS.

KEYWORDS:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Endocannabinoid; Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; Multiple sclerosis; Neurodegeneration; Neuroinflammation; Neuroprotection; Symptom management

PMID:
26408162
DOI:
10.1007/978-3-319-20825-1_7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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