International forskning

Cannabis and Cannabinoids in Multiple Sclerosis: From Experimental Models to Clinical Practice-A Review

Carmen-Adella Sirbu 1, Ruxandra Georgescu 1, Florentina Cristina Pleşa 1, Alina Paunescu 2, Monica Marilena Ţânţu 3, Alina Crenguţa Nicolae 4, Ionut Caloianu 1, Marian Mitrica 5

  • 1Department of Neurology, “Dr. Carol Davila” Central Military Emergency University Hospital, Bucharest, Romania.
  • 2Department of Natural Sciences, University of Pitesti, Faculty of Sciences, Physical Education and Informatics, Piteşti, Romania.
  • 3Department of Health Care and Physical Therapy, University of Pitesti, Faculty of Sciences, Physical Education and Informatics, Piteşti, Romania.
  • 4Biochemistry Department, “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania; and.
  • 5Clinical Neurosciences Department, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila” Bucharest, Romania.


Background: As far as 80% of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience disabling symptoms in the course of the disease, such as spasticity and neuropathic pain. As first-line symptomatic therapy is associated with important adverse reactions, cannabinoids have become increasingly popular among patients with MS. This review intends to provide an overview of the evidence of the role of cannabinoids in treating symptoms related to MS and to encourage further research on this matter.

Areas of uncertainty: To date, the evidence supporting the role of cannabis and its derivatives in alleviating the MS-related symptoms comes only from studies on experimental models of demyelination. To the best of our knowledge, relatively few clinical trials inquired about the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids on patients with MS, with variable results.

Data sources: We conducted a literature search through PubMed and Google Scholar from the beginning until 2022. We included articles in English describing the latest findings regarding the endocannabinoid system, the pharmacology of cannabinoids, and their therapeutic purpose in MS.

Results: Evidence from preclinical studies showed that cannabinoids can limit the demyelination process, promote remyelination, and have anti-inflammatory properties by reducing immune cell infiltration of the central nervous system in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Moreover, it has been established that experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mice treated with cannabinoids experienced a significant reduction of symptoms and slowing of the disease progression. Given the complexity of human immune and nervous systems, cannabinoids did not have the anticipated effects on human subjects. However, data obtained from clinical trials showed some beneficial results of cannabinoids as a single or as add-on therapy in reducing the spasticity and pain related to MS.

Conclusion: Considering their various mechanisms of action and good tolerability, cannabinoids remain an interesting therapy for spasticity and chronic pain related to MS.