The legalization of cannabis is increasing rapidly worldwide, increasing the need to assess trends and medical implications. Little information exist about the use and efficacy of cannabis in rheumatic diseases. Cannabis & rheumatism: a beneficial combination?

In this survey, researchers wanted to assess trends in cannabis use and associations with characteristics of rheumatic diseases in a US-wide registry. You can view the full study by clicking on this link.

Patients in the study were participants in FORWARD, The National Databank for Rheumatic Diseases. A longitudinal study of rheumatic disease outcomes. Who indicated in a 2014 and/or 2019 questionnaire whether they had ever used cannabis or CBD to relieve symptoms, and if so, whether they found it helpful.

Cannabis & rheumatism

This survey was therefore based on patients in the US National Databank of Rheumatic Diseases between 2014 and 2019.

Among the 11,006 unique respondents, the prevalence of past or current cannabis use increased from 6.3% in 2014 to 17.6% in 2019.

In 2019, there were fewer demographic differences due to different legislation. Most patients reported that cannabis was useful in relieving symptoms (74% in 2014 and 62% in 2019).

Since 2014, the prevalence of use has increased in 49 of the 50 US states, with the highest prevalence in and near states where cannabis use is legal.

Logistic regression models indicate that the likelihood of cannabis use increases with increasing polysymptomatic distress, and the same is true for opioid use.

Cannabis use reported in patients with rheumatic diseases increased significantly. And most patients reported that it was useful for symptom relief. Patients who have tried cannabis tend to experience more severe pain, activity, and symptoms and take more analgesics.

The researchers concluded that although interpreting the efficacy of cannabis is beyond the scope of their study. The association with prior opioid use and polysymptomatic distress points to areas for future work.

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