Robby: Will smoking cannabis help my MS?
Dr Giles Elrington, Consultant Neurologist: Almost certainly not. If cannabis, or cannabinoids to be more specific, are helpful to people with MS, then we wouldn’t be recommending smoking them. It’s a serious disease needing serious treatment and I think it’s very important not to mix up recreational drug use with therapeutic drug use.
Robby: I was going to say, are the benefits of smoking cannabis negated by the harm it does, but you’ve answered that.
Dr Giles Elrington: I think the biggest harm of cannabis, it’s illegal I think, and some people think it should be different, but we live in the world as it is, not as it might be. I’m quite sure that if we are going to use cannabinoids – that is the active ingredients of cannabis – to help people with MS, and it might be to help their symptoms or to help the disease, and we need to distinguish between those two, then we won’t be having folk rolling up spliffs.
Robby: Right. So I was reading, doesn’t smoking hasten disability as well?
Dr Giles Elrington: Certainly, it depends what you smoke, I guess, but people with MS who smoke tobacco have a worse prognosis than those who don’t smoke tobacco, on average. It must be very difficult if you face the difficulties of MS then to also give up smoking. I’m an ex-cigarette smoker, I want to stay that way, I want to live to be old. Don’t say it’s happened already!
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