In a world first Canada has taken the lead in approving the use of a cannabis spray that relieves pain in multiple sclerosis sufferers.
The drug Sativex, is derived from delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, two compounds of the cannabis plant, and is administered by an oral spray. It brings relief from the pain suffered by patients with MS and is expected to be on the market by late spring.
Health Canada says 86 percent of people with the disease experience neuropathic (nerve) pain.
The side-effects from the drug, which are usually "mild or moderate," can include nausea, fatigue, dizziness and reactions at the application site.
Rob Kampia, executive director of the U.S. Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. welcomed the news and says that drug company GW Pharmaceuticals has proven that marijuana is a medicine that is both effective and remarkably safe, and the Canadian government has acknowledged that.