Canada’s Arthritis Society has offered a grant for the study of medical cannabis and fibromyalgia. McGill University’s Dr. Mark Ware will lead a trial examining the use of oral cannabinoids for fibromyalgia — a disease that inflicts chronic pain on some 520,000 Canadians, most of them women.
This is the second medical cannabis research project the Arthritis Society has funded in recent times. In 2015, Dr. Jason McDougall was awarded a similar three-year grant to study the impact of medical cannabis on arthritis pain and disease management.
“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. There’s no reason for the government to wait until new legislation is in place to start addressing the need for research identified by their own task force. That’s why we continue to call on the federal government to make a firm commitment in the 2017 budget to fund $25 million in medical cannabis research over the next five years.”
Many fibromyalgia sufferers have reported that cannabis has positive effects on pain and symptom management, but this has not yet been confirmed in large-scale clinical trials. This study will be used to help educate patients and health professionals regarding the possible risks and benefits of oral cannabis in fibromyalgia therapy.
“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. We are grateful for the support of the Arthritis Society for this important project.”