COMING SOON: CANNABINOIDS FOR ARTHRITIS

Two hands of an elderly woman sitting on a chair

Cannabinoids seem promising for treating the symptoms or progression of rheumatoid arthritis. But in the name of caution, many doctors prefer no treatment rather than trusting anecdotal reports about cannabis for arthritic pain. There’s hope that this attitude may change with upcoming research from a group of Danish scientists who recently pre-registered a double-blind randomized controlled trial of cannabinoids’ effects on arthritic pain and ankylosing spondylitis.

The study will involve oral CBD treatment for 12 weeks, then an open label add-on of THC for those who don’t respond well enough to cannabidiol alone. Patients in this study will initially be given 10-30 mg CBD, which is a small dose for a CBD isolate. If this fails, they will be allowed 7.5 mg THC in the open-label portion of the study.

The primary question is whether cannabinoids will decrease self-reported pain, measured as a reduction of at least 2 points on a 10-point pain scale. The study is designed with the expectation that at least half of the participants taking CBD will report improvement, while only 20% of those in the placebo group will improve. If the effect of CBD is smaller than this 50% threshold, the study won’t be powered to detect what is called a statistically significant result. This choice of design is likely informed by earlier research on Sativex (a 1:1 CBD:THC sublingual spray) which found a decrease of 2-3 points on a 10-point pain scale.

Why is the study’s protocol registered in advance? The scientific method supposes that researchers are testing a specific hypothesis. But it is easy for researchers to modify their ideas in the face of new results, then present the data as proof of their new idea. Pre-registration forces researchers to state precisely what they are testing so that they have to match their conclusions, rather than their hypothesis, to the data.

Pre-registration – an integral part of the growing statistical reform movement – dramatically decreases the likelihood of false positive results. It also forces scientists to report negative results, which may be otherwise ignored as a failed experiment.

Recent Articles

THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Cannabis has been at the center of one of the most exciting—and underreported—developments in modern science. Research on marijuana’s effects led directly to the discovery of a hitherto unknown biochemical communication system in the human body, the Endocannabinoid System, which plays a crucial role in regulating our physiology, mood, and everyday experience. The discovery of receptors in the brain […] Read more
CBD & THE PSYCHEDELIC RECEPTOR
CBD & THE PSYCHEDELIC RECEPTOR
CBD and LSD bind to the same serotonin receptor, which mediates psychedelic altered states. But cannabidiol has anti-psychotic properties and doesn’t cause hallucinations. In a shorthand that drives scientists mad, serotonin is often called ‘the neurotransmitter of happiness.’ This tag is especially troublesome as more and more flaws become apparent in the ‘serotonin hypothesis’ of depression – […] Read more
CBD & CANNABIS FOR PETS IN PAIN
CBD & CANNABIS FOR PETS IN PAIN
A veterinarian’s advice on how to use cannabis to treat pain and inflammation in your four-legged companion BY GARY RICHTER ON MAY 01, 2019 The state of veterinary medicine has advanced significantly in recent years and thanks to the availability of more effective medicine, many pets are living longer than they would have years ago. With age […] Read more
SHOULD YOU USE CANNABIS TO PREVENT ILLNESS?
SHOULD YOU USE CANNABIS TO PREVENT ILLNESS?
Preventive medicine is a hot topic these days as everyone is looking for ways to stay healthy and avoid illness. BY BONNI S. GOLDSTEIN, MD ON AUGUST 29, 2018 Our bodies consist of many unique physiologic systems whose sole purpose is to maintain an internal balance called homeostasis. We know the pancreas releases insulin to balance glucose […] Read more
COMING SOON: CANNABINOIDS FOR ARTHRITIS
COMING SOON: CANNABINOIDS FOR ARTHRITIS
Cannabinoids seem promising for treating the symptoms or progression of rheumatoid arthritis. But in the name of caution, many doctors prefer no treatment rather than trusting anecdotal reports about cannabis for arthritic pain. There’s hope that this attitude may change with upcoming research from a group of Danish scientists who recently pre-registered a double-blind randomized controlled trial […] Read more