Journal scan

There is insufficient evidence to support use of marijuana as a therapy in rheumatic disease

There is insufficient evidence to recommend cannabinoid treatments for the management of rheumatic diseases, say Canadian researchers.

Anecdotal reports have indicated that cannabinoids, especially marijuana, can be of therapeutic benefit for some patients with rheumatic diseases. To assess the validity of these claims, the researchers reviewed the available evidence.

Picture credit: iStock

Going back as far as the 1940s, they identified just four small studies, lasting between two and eight weeks, involving 201 patients. One study involving patients with osteoarthritis was terminated early because the active drug did not differ from placebo, while the remaining three studies reported only modest effects for pain relief and sleep promotion, but a high risk of side effects, and these studies had a high risk of bias. No controlled study has examined marijuana in the rheumatology patient population, the researchers said.

Lead study author Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, of McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, said: These studies provide limited information, and we cannot draw any conclusions regarding efficacy or side

...

Anecdotal reports have indicated that cannabinoids, especially marijuana, can be of therapeutic benefit for some patients with rheumatic diseases. To assess the validity of these claims, the researchers reviewed the available evidence.

Picture credit: iStock

Going back as far as the 1940s, they identified just four small studies, lasting between two and eight weeks, involving 201 patients. One study involving patients with osteoarthritis was terminated early because the active drug did not differ from placebo, while the remaining three studies reported only modest effects for pain relief and sleep promotion, but a high risk of side effects, and these studies had a high risk of bias. No controlled study has examined marijuana in the rheumatology patient population, the researchers said.

Lead study author Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, of McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, said: ‘These studies provide limited information, and we cannot draw any conclusions regarding efficacy or side effects – especially long-term side effects – associated with cannabinoid therapy.

‘Based on current scientific study, rheumatologists cannot recommend the use of cannabinoids in general, and medical marijuana in particular, as a therapeutic option for rheumatology patients,’ she added.

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs