The use of cannabis for treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is commonly self-reported by patients with the disease. According to an anonymous questionnaire survey of medicinal cannabis patients in Australia a few years ago, 25 percent of respondents admitted making the use of cannabinoids to treat the complication.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease of the joints that is characterized by swelling, pain, and stiffness besides an eventual loss of limb function. The medical complication is believed to affect about one percent of the population, primarily women.
It is worthwhile to note that the successful treatment of arthritis with cannabinoids in the first-ever controlled trial assessing the efficacy of natural cannabis extracts on rheumatoid arthritis was reported by investigators at the British Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Disease.
It was reported by the involved investigators that administration of cannabis extracts over a period of five weeks was instrumental in producing statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, quality of sleep, intensity of pain, and inflammation compared to placebo. No serious adverse effects of cannabis administration were observed. Results similar to these were reported in smaller Phase II trials that investigated the use of orally administered cannabis extracts on symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Investigators at London’s Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology, writing in an issue of the Journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reported that administration of cannabidiol (CBD) was found to be useful in suppressing progression of arthritis in vitro and in animals. It was also concluded that CBD administration after the onset of clinical symptoms protected joints against severe damage and “effectively blocked [the] progression of arthritis.”
Researchers at Tokyo’s National Institute for Neuroscience summarizing an available literature in an issue of the Journal of Neuroimmunology concluded, “Cannabinoid therapy of RA could provide symptomatic relief of joint pain and swelling as well as suppressing joint destruction and disease progression.
Anita Gonzales. “Rheumatoid arthritis, cannabis based medicine eases pain and suppresses disease”. Medical News Today, November 11, 2005. Web. 18 Sep, 2011.