Assessment of cannabis use and its impact on pain in rheumatological diseases
Patients often turn to non-prescription pharmacological alternatives, such as the self-treatment of cannabis. A survey conducted by a team of researchers in France revealed that 17% of patients with rheumatological diseases consume cannabis. A report on the study, “Evaluating Cannabis Use and Its Impact on Pain in Rheumatologic Diseases,” was posted online this month ahead of its publication in the journal. Rheumatology.
3 most common nervous pathologies in rheumatology
- rheumatoid arthritis: inflammation of the joints, mainly in the hands and feet
- spondylitis: an inflammatory disease of the spine
- microcrystalline diseases: inflammation caused by the presence of crystals in the joints (such as drop)
- different inflammatory rheumatism
- osteoarthritis : a disease characterized by the progressive disappearance of the cartilage located between two bones
- la fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndromes: a disease that manifests as chronic muscle pain
To conduct this study, researchers from Clermont-Ferrand, France, performed a systematic review of the scientific literature published up to June 2020 on the use of cannabis in the treatment of rheumatological diseases. Rheumatologic diseases include conditions such as fibromyalgia (FM), lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
The studies reviewed involved a total of 10873 patients, of which 2900 reported using cannabis. The incidence of cannabis use was then calculated by meta-proportion.
“Almost 20% of patients with rheumatologic diseases actively consume cannabis, with improvement in pain,” conclude the study authors.
Patients often self-medicate with cannabis
The researchers noted in their rationale for the study that despite the use of conventional pain relievers and other drugs, including disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, to treat rheumatologic conditions, many patients continue to experience pain. and often turn to non-prescribed pharmacological alternatives, such as cannabis, for self-treatment. However, the medical use of cannabis has not yet been thoroughly studied.
“The issue of the use of cannabis in the management of these patients should be addressed during the medical consultation, mainly with standardized pharmaceutical products based on cannabis,” added the researchers in their conclusion.
The investigative team reported that a significant portion of the patients in the research reviewed used cannabis and that its use helped relieve their pain. They also noted that the data suggests that cannabis has the potential to be an effective clinical therapy.
“In this meta-analysis, we found that one in six patients with rheumatologic disease actively uses cannabis, resulting in reduced pain,” the researchers wrote.
“A favorable effect of cannabis on pain in our meta-analysis reinforces the idea that cannabis could be used for analgesic purposes,” they added.
Cannabis is also effective against fibromyalgia
The meta-analysis included significant research on the use of cannabis to treat fibromyalgia, and less data on other rheumatic conditions such as lupus, spondylitis, or rheumatoid arthritis. In another study, also published This month, Brazilian researchers determined that cannabis oil was an effective treatment for a group of patients with fibromyalgia (FM), a chronic pain syndrome characterized by generalized musculoskeletal pain and fatigue.
Although the study sample was small, the researchers were encouraged by the results and recommended further trials to investigate the potential of cannabis in treating this disease.
“Considering the considerable damage caused by FM and the effect it can have on individuals, their families, communities and the public health system, there seems to be a need to investigate alternative, inexpensive and good therapies. tolerated that help patients regain their well-being and quality of life, ”wrote the study authors. “The present study aims to assess the impact that cannabis oil - a whole plant extract rich in THC - can have on the symptoms and quality of life of people with FM”.