A Landmark Study May Offer New Pain Treatment Options For Canadian Arthritis Sufferers
Prevention and Treatment There may be new hope on the horizon for the millions of Canadians who suffer from arthritis.
In July 2015, the Arthritis Society announced funding for its first ever study into medical cannabis and its possible role as a viable treatment for arthritis pain.
The Society awarded a three-year research grant to Dr. Jason McDougall, a professor in the department of pharmacology and anesthesia at Dalhousie University. “Doctor McDougall is one of the world’s leading researchers in cannabinoids and arthritis pain,” explains Joanne Simons, the Arthritis Society’s chief mission officer. “This study is part of Arthritis Society’s ongoing commitment this year to fund medical cannabis research to understand its impact on arthritic pain and disease management.”
According to Simons, the Society’s interest in exploring the possible medicinal benefits of cannabis stems from reports from arthritis sufferers about the herb’s positive role in pain management “There are 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis and there are a hundred different forms of the disease, but the common denominator among all of them is pain,” notes Simons. “We understand from anecdotal evidence and statistics from Health Canada that a majority of people taking medical marijuana — about two-thirds — do so for arthritis pain.”
“This study signals a real new beginning. In a few years we’ll be able to start speaking factually about the benefits that until now people have only spoken about anecdotally.”
Exploring new treatment options
Unfortunately, to date there is very little fact-based, quantifiable research on cannabis’ medicinal effects. “There is anecdotal evidence that patients get relief and people we talk to say they are getting relief, but we can’t say with any certainty because there’s just not enough scientific evidence,” says Simons. “Our goal is to make sure Canadians can make informed choices about their treatment options and also to provide physicians with evidence so they can make recommendations to their patients. We have answered a call. People don’t have much information but they want to know more because there’s a real desire for other treatment options for pain relief. People want to know how to maintain a good quality of life.”
Mark Gobuty, CEO and Founder of The Peace Naturals Project, a licensed producer of medical cannabis, shares the Arthritis Society’s desire to pursuit rigorous research into marijuana’s possible benefits for arthritis sufferers. Both Gobuty’s company and Aphria Inc. (another licensed medical cannabis producer) each committed $100,000 to the Arthritis Society for future education and research projects.
“About 50 percent of our clients who use our product for pain management report they suffer from arthritis. We are listening to our community and we would like to provide some fact-based information,” says Gobuty. “This study signals a real new beginning. In a few years we’ll be able to start speaking factually about the benefits that until now people have only spoken about anecdotally.” He goes on to praise the work of the Arthritis Society and adds, “we know medical cannabis is not a be-all, end-all solution. But with organizations like the Society that will champion research we can make real progress. We’re not saying we can save lives but we can certainly make them better.”
For more information visit www.peacenaturals.com