Post by BrianK on Dec 27, 2011 14:13:20 GMT -8
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease of the joints characterized by pain, stiffness, and swelling, as well as eventual loss of limb function. Rheumatoid Arthritis is estimate to affect about one percent of the population , primarily women.
Use of cannabis to treat symptoms of of RA is commonly self-reported by patients with the disease. In a 2005 anonymous questionnaire survey of medicinal cannabis patients in Australia, 25 percent reported using cannabinoids to treat RA.
A survey of British medicinal cannabis patients found that more than 20 percent of respondents reported using cannabis for symptoms of arthritis. Nevertheless, few clinical trials investigating the use of cannabis for RA appear in the scientific literature.
In January 2006, investigators at the British Royal National Hospital for rheumatic Disease reported successful treatment of arthritis with cannabinoids in the first-ever controlled trial assessing the efficacy of natural cannabis extracts on RA.
Investigators reported that administration of cannabis extracts over a five week period produced statistically significant in pain on movement , pain at rest, quality of sleep, inflammation, and intensity of pain compared to placebo.
No serious adverse effects were observed. Similar results had been reported in smaller, Phase II traials investigating the use of orally administrated cannabis extracts on symptoms of RA.
Preclinical data also indicates that cannabinoids can moderate the progression of RA. Writing in the August 2000 issue of the Journal of the Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences, investigators at London's Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology reported that cannabidiol (CBD)administration suppressed progression of arthritis in vitro and in animals.
Administration of the CBD after the onset of clinical symptoms protected joints against severe damage and "effectively blocked [the] progression of arthritis," investigators concluded.
Daily administration of synthetic cannabinoid agonist HU-320 also has been reported to protect joints from damage and to amelioratearthriris in animals.
Summarising the available literature in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Neuroimmunology, researchers at Tokyo's National Institute of Neuroscience concluded, "Cannabinoid therapy of RA could provide symptomatic relief to joint pain and swelling as well as suppressing joint destruction and disease progression.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another autoimmune disease characterized by progressive painful destruction of the joints. In its late stages severe forms of the disease can lead to markedly deformed joints in the hands and wrists as well as the larger joints such as the knees. Treatment includes anti-inflammatory drugs, mild anticancer drugs, and a newer class of injectable drugs, which interferes with the destructive action of substances produced in the joint fluid.
Cannabis has been used effectively for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis usually in conjunction with prescription medications. Patients consistently report that cannabis helps reduce pain, enhances functioning, and also decreases the frequency of flair-ups. Several patients also report that cannabis slows the progression of their disease. Again, more research is needed.