Study Finds Medical Cannabis Provides Lasting Benefits for Osteoarthritis Patients

in Culture

Patients with osteoarthritis reported a reduction in pain associated with the disease when using medical cannabis, according to the results of a recently published study by British researchers. 

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease of the joints characterized by the wearing down of cartilage at the ends of bones. The condition is the most common form of arthritis, affecting more than 32.5 million adults in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. OA occurs most frequently in the hands, knees and hips, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. In extreme cases, OA can cause reduced function or disability, with patients unable to work or perform daily tasks.

Because there is no cure for OA, doctors treat the symptoms of the disease with various therapies, including over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs. Weight loss, increasing activity and physical therapy are also commonly employed therapies. In more severe cases, additional strategies including supportive devices such as canes or crutches can be used, as well as surgical options such as joint replacement.

In a study published last month in the peer-reviewed Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, a team of British researchers notes that the pain associated with osteoarthritis can be disabling and affect quality of life because of “mood disturbance, interference with social relations, and diminished cognitive function.” However, the opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) commonly used to treat OA are not appropriate for long-term use because of potentially dangerous side effects. As a result, the use of medical cannabis treatments is attracting widespread interest among patients and healthcare professionals.

In a report on the study, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) explains that British medical specialists have been allowed to prescribe cannabis-based medicines to patients who have not responded to conventional …

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Author: A.J. Herrington / High Times

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