As of January 1, 2018, the Danish Medicines Agency allows doctors to lawfully prescribe a new type of cannabis product to individuals with the following four relevant indications and other pain related conditions where the doctor can argue that the product will help
What is it?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic progressive degenerative disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by disseminated demyelination of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. It is an inflammatory disease affecting the axons of the brain and spinal cord. The fatty myelin sheaths around the axons are damaged due to an inflammatory process and results in demyelination and scarring (gliosis). There are approximately 500 new cases of MS per year in Denmark.
The pathophysiology is related to infections, immunologic, and genetic factors. The inflammatory process starts with the movement of T cells across the blood-brain barrier into the nervous system. The blood-brain barrier under normal circumstances prevents T cells from crossing the barrier into the nervous system. However, when there is an infection or a virus, the blood-brain barrier becomes permeable to T cells. The T-cell is part of the autoimmune response as an antigen-antibody response resulting in an attack in the nervous system and the production of plaques and lesions. The process involves myelin loss, destruction of oligodendrocytes, and astrocyte proliferation, resulting in demyelization and plaque formation throughout the CNS. The attack on the myelin triggers an inflammatory process which again impacts the blood-brain barrier causing swelling and activation of cytokines and antibodies. The demyelination process results in slowing or total blockage of nerve impulses and permanent nerve loss.
The clinical findings associated with MS include motor, sensory, neuropathic pain, cerebellar, bladder spasms, and emotional problems, especially depression. Motor problems include weakness of limbs, trunk and head, double vision, scanning speech, and muscle spasticity. Sensory problems include numbness and tingling, altered vision, vertigo, decreased hearing, and chronic neuropathic pain. The cerebellar manifestations include nystagmus, ataxia, dysarthria, and dysphagia. The emotional manifestations include anger, depression, and euphoria.
MS is not curable, and treatment includes medications to treat the inflammatory process and immunosuppressive therapy. The treatment is directed at the management of disability and slowing the progression of the disease.
How can medical cannabis help?
Medicinal cannabis has been shown to relieve pain and muscle spasms associated with some disease states, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and nerve pain. The endocannabinoid system is where the medicine begins taking action. It targets the neuronal and immune system functions to regulate pain and muscle spasms.
Oral cannabis extract is beneficial for reducing symptoms of spasticity and pain.
To learn more click here, consult your doctor
or visit a pain clinic.
Pain clinics in Denmark are private medical clinics that offer medical treatment for pain. If your doctor is not comfortable prescribing medical cannabis, consider making an appointment with a pain specialist at a pain clinic to see if medical cannabis is the right option for you.
Current pain clinics in Denmark: