The only way for us to determine how effective cannabis can be as a medicine is for us to continue researching it – and the Arthritis Society of Canada is doing their best to ensure that research will continue to be funded. They awarded a three year grant to Dr. Mark Ware from McGill University to study medical marijuana as a treatment for fibromyalgia.
“These investments are about leading by example,” says Arthritis Society president and CEO Janet Yale. “Patients and physicians both need to be able to make informed decisions about whether cannabis has a place in the individual’s treatment plan. With these commitments, The Arthritis Society is doing its part to help fill some of the critical knowledge gaps around medical cannabis, but we can’t do it alone.”
While Canada is looking at legalizing cannabis for adult use on a national level, this does not mean the need for research has come to an end – there is still so much to be learned about how cannabis interacts with certain conditions and how it can be used to better the quality of life of millions of people around the world. Fibromyalgia is one of many conditions that does not have a clear cut treatment – a combination of pain medications, anti-anxiety and antidepressants and other medications are simply a way of life for many patients, with the hope of finding a good combination. Medical marijuana has the potential to put an end to all of that.
“This disease has a tremendous impact on a person’s life,” Dr. Ware explains, “but to date we haven’t really had any good treatment options to offer. Opioids and NSAIDs for pain management are often ineffective for fibromyalgia pain, or can have serious negative side effects – especially when used for prolonged periods. We hope to identify whether oral cannabinoids can offer the person with fibromyalgia hope for relief from their symptoms, and help restore their quality of life.”
On top of donating this three year grant for fibromyalgia treatment, the Arthritis Society of Canada also provided a similar grant about 18 months ago for the study of medical cannabis as treatment for arthritis pain and disease management. Research has come a long way – and these two studies could lead to a future with less opiate dependence and addiction as medical marijuana continues to be looked at as an alternative to more dangerous painkillers and prescription medicines.