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Osteoarthritis Patients Report Sustained Benefits From Cannabis In UK Study

cannabis leaf leaves plant cannabis leaf leaves plant

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis found in adults around the world. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, in which the joint tissues degenerate as the patient ages. The health condition is characterized by chronic pain and loss of mobility.

Global researchers estimate that 595 million people worldwide suffered from osteoarthritis in 2020, which is roughly 7.6% of the world’s population. The 2020 rate is an increase of 132.2% in total cases compared to 1990.

Investigators recently conducted a study in the United Kingdom in which they examined the cannabis plant’s ability to treat osteoarthritis. Below is more information about the study and its results via a news release from NORML:

London, United Kingdom: Patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis report pain-specific improvements following their use of medical cannabis preparations, according to observational data published in the Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy.

British researchers assessed the use of cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) consisting of either flower or oil extracts in a cohort of osteoarthritis patients enrolled in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry. (Since 2018, British specialists have been permitted to prescribe cannabis-based medicinal products to patients unresponsive to conventional medications.) Researchers assessed changes in patient-reported outcomes measures over a one-year period.

Patients reported symptom improvements at one-month, three-months, six-months, and at one-year.

“Commencement of CBMP treatment was associated with reductions in pain-specific PROMs [patient-reported outcome measures] at all time points in patients with osteoarthritis,” researchers reported. Patients also reported improved sleep. Contrary to the results of several other studies, patients prescribed opioids did not decrease their opioid intake following their initiation of medical cannabis.

Investigators documented few serious side-effects associated with cannabis. “AEs [adverse events] were mainly mild or moderate in severity,” they wrote. “Fatigue was the most common AE in this study.”

The study’s authors concluded: “These results suggest an improvement in pain-related outcomes for patients with osteoarthritis following the initiation of CBMP treatment. Furthermore, there was an improvement in general HRQoL [health-related quality of life] metrics across the follow-up period. CBMPs also appeared to be well-tolerated at 12-month follow-up. … Hence, this study supports the development of RCTs [randomized clinical trials] for CBMP use in osteoarthritis.”

Other studies assessing the use of cannabis products in patients enrolled in the UK Cannabis Registry have reported them to be effective for those suffering from chronic painanxietypost-traumatic stressdepressionmigraineinflammatory bowel disease, and other afflictions.

Full text of the study, “Assessment of clinical outcomes in patients with osteoarthritis: Analysis from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry,” appears in theJournal of Pain & Palliative Care PharmacotherapyAdditional information on cannabis and arthritis is available from NORML’s publication, Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids.

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