Cannabinoids in the Treatment of RA: Current Status and Future Prospects

The legalization of medical cannabis has facilitated the use of cannabis and cannabis-based extracts for pain management, but evidence for their benefits and harms in patients with rheumatologic disorders remains elusive. Documentation of the medicinal effects of Cannabis sativa were described as far back as 5000 years ago, when therapeutic uses of the plant were described in a Chinese pharmacopeia dating from 2737 BC.1 Yet difficulties in establishing clinical trial protocols and the status of cannabis as a controlled substance have impeded research into its effectiveness. One systematic review of clinical trials on the treatment of rheumatologic conditions with cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids derived from plant material or synthesized pharmaceutical preparations) showed analgesic effects in 2 of the 4 studies that qualified for inclusion, but there was also a high incidence of adverse effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, cognitive problems, and nausea.2 However, the review did not include the use of herbal cannabis,

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