Exploring the Clinical Implications of Cannabinoid Use in Rheumatoid Arthritis

The potential benefits of cannabinoid substances have long been considered for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), following their successful treatment of other diseases involving chronic pain, such as cancer and multiple sclerosis (MS). Although preliminary evidence has found an association between the cannabinoid system and other rheumatic conditions, the studies have not provided conclusive results that could drive recommendations.1 In particular, evidence from clinical trials has been derived from small samples and has not consistently supported positive results from animal studies.1

These limitations have hampered clinical decision making for rheumatologists who treat RA, leaving them to rely on the efficacy and safety demonstrated in clinical trials in other disease states. According to Allen C. Bowling, MD, PhD, medical director of the MS Program and director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Service at the Colorado Neurological Institute, “For MS, we have many well-conducted studies that indicate benefit for pain and subjective

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