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2023 Study: Cannabis for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Cannabis for Rheumatoid Arthritis Study

Cannabis for Rheumatoid Arthritis. An October 2023 study entitled "Cannabis and Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Scoping Review Evaluating the Benefits, Risks, and Future Research Directions" that was published in the Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal explored "the concept of cannabis use for rheumatoid diseases, including potential adverse effects."

A chart listing a few of the cannabinoids derived from cannabis, including THC and CBD.
Cannabis-derived cannabinoids

The scientists provided an overview of "the data obtained from preclinical and clinical trials and from retrospective studies on the efficacy and safety of cannabis in the treatment of rheumatoid diseases."

"The scientists provided an overview of preclinical and clinical trials and retrospective studies on the efficacy of cannabis [for] rheumatoid diseases."

The study's authors explained that rheumatoid diseases are characterized by "progressive chronic inflammation of the musculoskeletal system, afflicting primarily the joints, but can lead to systemic comorbidities," including pulmonary diseases. They noted that the chronic inflammation, over time, produces damage to both cartilage and bones. This damage, in turn, can produce significant disability and mobility issues in patients.

An x-ray of a pair of hands.
Does cannabis help arthritis?

Cannabis for Rheumatoid Arthritis Study Conclusions

Cannabis for Rheumatoid Arthritis. The study's authors published the following conclusion to their data gathering and analysis.

"Preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies show promising results regarding the anti-arthritic properties of cannabinoids, psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabinoids alike. These anti-arthritic properties are mediated by anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids, including inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and nitric oxide, as well as the proliferation of synovial fibroblasts.

A man holds his hand in pain.
Promising results for cannabis for arthritis.

"These effects were primarily observed in preclinical in vitro and ex vivo studies as well as in animal models since clinical studies are scarce. One clinical study observed an increase in pro-inflammatory Th17 helper cells after the consumption of CBD oil in patients with RA.

"Different cannabis strains can lead to different outcomes."

"It was suggested that cannabinoid receptor variability might contribute to this discrepancy between preclinical animal and human results. Moreover, different cannabis strains can lead to different outcomes. Therefore, clinical studies that utilize well-defined cannabis strains will be able to target the outcome better and define the anti-arthritic properties of the administered cannabis strains.

"Future research should focus on determining the exact anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis components for specific strains to more accurately provide targeted therapy to appropriate patients. This is one aspect of cannabis research that our research center is pursuing."

View the original study.

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