A Fase II, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multicentre Study for the Safety and Efficacy on Spasticity Symptoms of a Cannabis Sativa Extract in Motor Neuron Disease Patients

Study Purpose:

The clinical primary hypothesis is that there will be a difference between a Cannabis Sativa extract and placebo in their effect on spasticity in Motor Neuron Disease (MND) patients with signs of involvement of the upper motor neuron (UMN) resulting in disabling spasticity.

Secondary goals of the study are to evidence of improvement in other symptoms (in particular pain), and to show favourable trends on functionality measures. Finally, cannabis based drug safety and tolerability will be studied through vital parameters (including weight and pulmonary function) measurement, and analyzing ALS function rating scale progression slope hopefully, showing a slowing of the functional values decrease, owing to cannabis neuroprotective effects)

Study Status:

Not recruiting


Motor Neuron Disease , Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Study Type:


Type of Intervention:


Intervention Name:

Cannabis Sativa extract Oromucosal spray



Phase 2/Phase 3

Study Chair(s)/Principal Investigator(s):

Giancarlo Comi, MD, San Raffaele Scientific Institute

Clinicaltrials.gov ID:


Neals Affiliated?


Coordinating Center Contact Information

San Raffaele Scientific Institute

Milan, 20132 United States

Full Study Summary:

CANALS project has as a main objective to analyse the safety profile, tolerability and efficacy of a Cannabis Sativa (Sativex) derivative on patients affected by spasticity due to motor neuron disease.

Muscular rigidity (or spasticity) is a symptom that affects many patients with motor neuron disease, concurring to reduce personal autonomy, patients' quality of life and can potentially cause secondary symptomatology (as pain or secondary muscular retractions). Currently available anti-spasticity drugs are often unsatisfactory and their pharmacological action can cause weakness as a secondary effect. There many arguments supporting the use of cannabinoid derivatives in motor neuron diseases. Cannabinoids receptor is expresses both in the brain and in the spinal cord. In animal models cannabinoids have an anti-spasticity effect. Moreover recent studies on ALS animal models demonstrated a neuroprotective effect of cannabinoids, including the preservation of the motor ability and a survival increase of the treated animals. Recently many clinical trials (some of them performed at the Neurological Division of San Raffaele Hospital) demonstrated cannabinoid efficacy on spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis patients. CAnnabinois would be able to reduce spasticity with no secondary weakness effect on treated patients. The results of these studies led to the drug approval in certain countries and by the European Community for the treatment of spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis.

The aim of this study is to analyze the safety, tolerability and efficacy profile of a Cannabis Sativa (Sativex) derivative on patients affected by spasticity due to motor neuron disease ( Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Primary Lateral Sclerosis). The study will be performed along 7 weeks. During the first week will be asked patients to note down in the clinical diary elements related to their symptomatology. Afterwards patients will be randomized in two groups: drug-treated and placebo treated. The study will be followed by a 6-weeks open-label phase during which all patients will receive the active drug (Phase B)

Study Sponsor:

Ospedale San Raffaele

Participant Duration:

7 weeks

Estimated Enrollment:


Estimated Study Start Date:

12 / 31 / 2012

Estimated Study Completion Date:

12 / 01 / 2015

Posting Last Modified Date:

03 / 09 / 2017

Date Study Added to neals.org:

01 / 28 / 2013

The recruitment status of this study is unknown because the information has not been verified recently.

Minimum Age:

18 Years

Maximum Age:

80 Years

Inclusion criteria:

Subjects must fulfil ALL of the following criteria:

- Written informed consent

- Subject able and willing to comply with all study requirements

- Affected by ALS, either of definite, probable or possible category according to the El Escorial revised criteria or by primary lateral sclerosis (Pringle's criteria)

- Affected of spasticity, equal or above 1 in the Ashworth Scale for spasticity in 2 or more muscle groups

- Who will judge spasticity a relevant cause of movements impairment

- Subject has spasticity due to MND of at least three months duration, which is not wholly relieved with current anti-spasticity therapy

- Subject fulfils at least one of the two criteria below. Subject must be either:

1. Currently established on a regular dose of anti-spasticity therapy, or

2. Previously tried and failed, or could not tolerate suitable anti-spasticity therapy

- Stabilization of factors affecting spasticity: any physiotherapy regimen or medication likely to affect spasticity will be optimised before the study and not altered in the 3 weeks before start of treatment

- Subject is willing for his or her name to be notified to the responsible authorities for participation in this study, as applicable.

Additional inclusion Criteria to be met at baseline

• Subjects have registered spasticity NRS scores via the personal clinical diary over the 6 days (day 2 to day 7) before randomization

Exclusion criteria:

- Any concomitant disease or disorder that has spasticity-like symptoms or that may influence the subject's level of spasticity

- Subjects receiving Botulinum Toxin during the preceding 6 months

- Bedridden and tracheotomised patients

- Fixed-tendon contractures

- Severe cognitive impairment

- Currently using or has used cannabis, cannabinoid-based medications or Acomplia (Rimonabant) within 30 days of study entry and unwilling to abstain for the duration of the study

- Any history or immediate family history of schizophrenia, other psychotic illness, severe personality disorder or other significant psychiatric disorder other than depression associated with their underlying condition

- Any known or suspected history of a diagnosed dependence disorder, current heavy alcohol consumption, current use of an illicit drug or current non-prescribed use of any prescription drug

- Subjects with poorly controlled epilepsy or recurrent seizures (Subjects who have had one or more fits in the year prior to Visit 1 will be excluded)

- Any known or suspected hypersensitivity to cannabinoids or any of the excipients

- Subject has experienced myocardial infarction or clinically relevant cardiac dysfunction within the last 12 months or has a cardiac disorder that, in the opinion of the investigator would put the subject at risk of a clinically relevant arrhythmia or myocardial infarction

- Subject has a diastolic blood pressure of <50 mmHg or >105 mmHg (when measured in a sitting position at rest for five minutes) or a postural drop in the systolic blood pressure of greater than 20 mmHg

- Personal history suggestive of relevant impaired renal or hepatic function

- Female subjects of child bearing potential, unless willing to ensure that they or their partner use effective contraception during the study and for three months thereafter

- Female subject who is pregnant, lactating or planning pregnancy during the course of the study and for three months thereafter

- Subjects who have received any IMP within the 8 weeks before Visit 1

- Any other significant disease or disorder which, in the opinion of the investigator, may either put the subject at risk because of participation in the study, or may influence the result of the study, or the subject's ability to participate in the study

- Unwilling to abstain from donation of blood during the study

- Patients will be asked not to drive while they will be receiving medication

San Raffaele Scientific Institute

Milan 20132

Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri IRCCS, Istituto Scientifico


NEuroMuscular Omnicentre (NEMO), Fondazione Serena - H Cà granda


Universita' Degli Studi Di Padova, Azienda Ospedaliera Di Padova, Neurologic Department;