A new study by Arthritis Care & Research shows that it’s not clear medicinal marijuana is effective at treating a range of rheumatic conditions, including arthritis, lupus, and fibromyalgia.
“Our study aims to provide health care professionals with that medical evidence related to medical marijuana use in patients with rheumatic conditions,” notes Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, one of the study’s co-authors.
“At this time, we cannot recommend herbal cannabis for arthritis pain management given the lack of efficacy data, potential harm from the drug, and availability of other therapies for managing pain.”
While the study’s authors acknowledge that medical marijuana has been effective in treating pain associated with other ailments, such as cancer, they insist that there’s no conclusive evidence to suggest that marijuana is the best way to treat rheumatic conditions.
The study also shows the drawbacks of using medical marijuana to treat these conditions. One major concern of health professionals is the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) found in illegal marijuana.
Consuming THC in large quantities can have a significant impact on one’s mental and physical capabilities, the researchers said.
“Contrary to public belief, inhaled herbal cannabis is not innocuous,” the researchers noted in their report. “Risks can be categorized as the immediate effects on cognition, psychomotor function, cardiovascular effects and mood, and the chronic consequences on mental ability, pulmonary function, potential cancer risk and drug dependence.”
While doctors are strictly forbidden from prescribing illegal marijuana, the study’s researchers suggest that a lot of medicinal marijuana comes through illegal channels.
That’s led the Arthritis Care & Research team to conclude that physicians “should discourage rheumatology patients from using medical marijuana as a therapy.”