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Rheumatoid arthritis (commonly known as rheumatism) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects cartilage tissue and joints, but can spread to the lungs, heart and eyes. Undiagnosed and untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can significantly limit a person's mobility. This disease affects women 2-3 times more often than men and usually comes on at an advanced age - although this is not a requirement.

Joint disease is always associated with reduced mobility. Rheumatoid arthritis also brings persistent pain, for which doctors prescribe a number of drugs, mostly opiate-based. Other medications are often prescribed for the side effects of the drugs. The solution for many could be medical cannabis. What are the results of the research so far?

For pain, yes

Rheumatoid arthritis is slightly out of the mainstream of research, even though it is a serious disease. The studies are therefore partial, their conclusions are unconvincing to the scientific community, and scientists are calling for more and bigger research.

British scientists have conducted a double-blind study of the effect of the cannabis drug Sativex on pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. For 5 weeks, they studied 58 patients who ingested the drug (or a placebo) in the evening and reported pain intensity, sleep quality and morning stiffness in the morning.

Sativex had a significantly beneficial effect on pain on movement and rest and sleep quality. No difference was noted by patients in morning stiffness. This study describes itself as preliminary and its results call for further investigation of the effect of cannabis on rheumatoid arthritis. [1]

Cannabinoids have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, and that they work for pain, especially rheumatic joint pain, is demonstrated by two American studies. [2] and [3] However, these are only insufficiently convincing results.

Treatment of arthritis itself? Not yet.

Two Israeli studies describe a correlation between the cannabinoids THC and CBD and autoimmune diseases. Cannabis may act as an immunomodulator and thus have a positive effect on the development of rheumatic diseases. However, clinical results have not yet clearly confirmed this and do not recommend cannabis treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. [4] a [5]

For example, there is also a study summarising some of the results to date on the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic pain of non-cancerous origin, which resulted in an absolute non-recommendation of cannabinoids. [6] Research results are inconsistent, and there is a need for more substantial studies with conclusive results.