New report warns arthritis sufferers not to smoke pot, for the same old reasons


A handful of herbal healing

Rarely does a week go by without a new headline, from a respected publication, coming out highlighting another of the amazing benefits of responsible cannabis use. While critics of medical marijuana ignorantly, and incessantly, argue that a majority of medicinal weed smokers have no real physical ailment, every day more and more people across the country are stepping out of the cannabis closet to treat their illnesses.
The headlines regarding cannabis and health benefits have become so commonplace, that we as advocates need to constantly remind ourselves that while it is a miraculous plant, marijuana is not a “miracle drug”. Still, it comes as a bit of a shock when otherwise respected scientists and researchers rush so quickly to condemn pot as a useless form of pseudo-medicine, as a recent article in the journal of Arthritis Care and Research unfortunately did.

As patients worldwide begin to leave their prescription pills in the medicine cabinet, in favor of a perfect blend of cannabinoids to heal their pain, arthritis sufferers have long trusted the soothing and healing powers of cannabis. The group of researchers who authored the article begs to differ, however, and their findings are comically inept.
Lead researcher, Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, has been quoted as saying, “With the public outcry for herbal cannabis therapy, governments around the world are considering its legalization for medicinal use. Physicians caring for patients who are self-medicating with marijuana need to understand the health implications of using this drug. Our study aims to provide health care professionals with that medical evidence related to medical marijuana use in patients with rheumatic conditions.”
What medical evidence do they have to back up their claims? Pretty much none, as usual.
Their lack of hard evidence quickly devolves into a plethora of fear-mongering as the pot-hating docs waste too many words warning of marijuana use leading to “compromised cognitive and psychomotor function”, as well as “mental illness, dependence, addiction and memory issues”.
Tell that to Carl Sagan, Steve Jobs, or Michael Phelps.
They express real concern over “dosing” levels, and how inaccurate of a science that is when smoking bud. They even claim that smoking weed makes you 1.4 times more likely to come down with depression. Oh, and they recommend that you stop smoking joints, completely. Feel free to get a second opinion.
According to the study, in the U.S. an estimated 80% of medical marijuana patients describe their main ailment, and main reason for using cannabis, to be the self-treatment of some form of arthritis. A respectable 65% of Canadians ‘fessed up’ to taking a toke or two in their past, and that number dips a bit in Australia and in the U.K., where 33% of patients admit to smoking weed to manage their pain.
Dr. Fitzcharles summed up she and her colleagues’ take on the matter by saying, “At this time, we cannot recommend herbal cannabis for arthritis pain management given the lack of efficacy data, potential harm from the drug, and availability of other therapies for managing pain. Physicians should discourage rheumatology patients from using medical marijuana as a therapy.”
Until the kickbacks for writing weed prescriptions are as lucrative as the ones for writing opiate-derived pill prescriptions, we should not be too surprised to see cherry-picked experts bucking all science and common sense in an attempt remain relevant for as long as possible.