GW Pharmaceuticals Publishes First Ever Study Using THC in the Treatment of Arthritis

Autoimmune diseases are becoming pandemic across the planet, a phenomenon that has taken off like a modern plague. Its causes are multifactorial, and finding out exactly why this is occurring will take many years of research.

Patients suffering from autoimmune diseases have many conventional prescription medications at their disposal. However, all of these drugs carry significant side effects, some of which can be deadly. Patients who wish to avoid the sometimes serious adverse effects of these powerful ‘immune modulators’ as they call them, do not have much else available.

You may recall the untimely and shocking death of Glenn Frey, the co-founding member of the world-famous American band the Eagles, who some allege died from complications of the medicine he used to treat his rheumatoid arthritis. In other words, the chronic use of these medications can have severe consequences.

Glenn Frey

Autoimmune diseases never resolve on their own, so it’s important to know if there is anything in the ‘alternative’ sphere that could prove to be of benefit.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of a constellation of crippling autoimmune diseases. The cause is unknown as are most autoimmune diseases. In RA, the body attacks the tissues lining the joints especially the hands, feet and knees, but there are a multitude of internal disorders as well. In some people, the condition also can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. It affects the entire body, which in itself, can affect your immunity to other diseases such as pneumonia. When this happens, combined with the immune suppression of some commonly used medications, a pneumonia can become life-threatening.



The British pharmaceutical firm GW Pharmaceuticals has been leading the way with prescription THC preparations such as their well-known Sativex®. In fact, they are one of only a few companies performing clinical studies on humans.

There was a recent clinical trial performed entitled ‘Preliminary assessment of the efficacy, tolerability and safety of a cannabis-based medicine (Sativex®) in the treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.’

The purpose of their study was to assess the efficacy of a cannabis-based medicine (CBM) in the treatment of stiffness, arthralgias and myalgias (joint and muscle pain) due to rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

They compared Sativex® with placebo in a randomized, double-blind, parallel group study in 58 patients over 5 weeks of treatment. Randomized double blinded studies are the gold standard for evidence-based medicine. You may not know this but Sativex® is rather unique. Its medicine is delivered as an oromucosal spray. It was used only in the evening and assessments were made the following morning.

Efficacy outcomes assessed were pain on movement, pain at rest, morning stiffness and sleep quality.

What they found was, in comparison with placebo (a non-acting substance), the CBM group produced statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, and quality of sleep. The large majority of adverse effects were mild or moderate, and there were no adverse effect-related withdrawals or serious adverse effects in the active treatment group.[1]

In their conclusions they demonstrated a significant positive outcome in treating some of the manifestations of their disease. It was the first ever controlled trial using a cannabis based medication, in this case Sativex® in the treatment of RA.

They showed that Sativex® caused a significant analgesic effect and overall disease activity was significantly suppressed following treatment. They readily admit that the differences are small and variable across the population. But they still represent benefits of clinical relevance and show the need for more detailed investigation in this indication.

If additional studies of this medication turn out to have similar conclusions we may have a very useful alternative to dangerous prescription drugs in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Christopher Rasmussen
Dr. Christopher Rasmussen MD,MS, an anesthesiologist with a Master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine, is a professor, lecturer, seminar provider, and world authority on preventive medicine.For more information on preventive medicine see



  1. I tried the canabis, it does work. I have RA and it is painful 24/7, every day I tell myself this isn’t going to beat me!….

  2. Advance Australia Fair says:

    I am a member of a Rheumatoid group in USA has 1 million members all over the world. All those who have tried Cannabis Herbal have had success in Rheumatoid. All found it was the THC at least 8% that stopped the inflammation/pain.

  3. Gw pharmaceutical didn’t discover anything we didn’t already no people have been using cannabis to treat pain and arthritis for many years I am one of those people THC is needed in cannabis its the cure for cancer not single profile cbd whole plant home grown cannabis is the only answer we should have our health come at the cost of greedy companies and government

    1. TomTom says:

      There needs to be much more research into cannabis and cancer. We know of many people who have used cannabis based medicines to treat cancer and the symptoms surrounding cancer and many of them have not found it is ‘the cure’. There are signs of promise in science but we need much more research.

    2. Thank you Mr Preston for remembering to point that most important point out to those who seemingly forget as they read the “good news”

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