Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jul 2019
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2019 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Seth Ginsberg


Marijuana's role in the health care universe has grown exponentially
over the past few years. Currently, 33 U.S. states have legalized the
use of medical marijuana, and more and more states are considering
making it legal for recreational purposes as well. As cannabis becomes
more accessible, many people are turning to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
and cannabidiol (CBD) products to treat health issues like rheumatic
and musculoskeletal disease (the aches and pains of arthritis).

Unfortunately, because cannabis remains illegal and classified as a
Schedule 1 drug under federal law (defined as being of no medical
use), there has been a troubling lack of scientific and medical
research on the effectiveness of cannabis treatments. This dearth of
evidence-based data has left many health care providers unable to
counsel their patients on everything from whether a cannabis treatment
could be effective for their condition, to what dosages are
appropriate, to how cannabis might interact with their other
medications or health conditions.

This lack of information hasn't stopped patients from exploring the
use of cannabis treatments on their own, as marijuana becomes
available, if not ubiquitous, in more states. The online arthritis
patient community Creaky Joints, which I co-founded, recently conducted
a study of its Arthritis Power registry and found that more than half of
arthritis patients have tried marijuana or cannabidiol products for
medical purposes. However, the study also found that only two-thirds
of these patients reported telling their health care provider about
their use. So many patients are flying completely blind while trying
cannabis related treatments without any awareness by, or input from,
their doctor.
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