Cannabinoids for the treatment of rheumatic diseases - where do we stand?

Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2018 Aug;14(8):488-498. doi: 10.1038/s41584-018-0025-5.

Abstract

As medical use of cannabis is increasingly legalized worldwide, a better understanding of the medical and hazardous effects of this drug is imperative. The pain associated with rheumatic diseases is considered a prevalent indication for medicinal cannabis in various countries. Thus far, preliminary clinical trials have explored the effects of cannabis on rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia; preliminary evidence has also found an association between the cannabinoid system and other rheumatic conditions, including systemic sclerosis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The potential medicinal effects of cannabis could be attributable to its influence on the immune system, as it exerts an immunomodulatory effect on various immune cells, including T cells, B cells and macrophages. However, the available evidence is not yet sufficient to support the recommendation of cannabinoid treatment for rheumatic diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Cannabinoids / adverse effects
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / metabolism
  • Rheumatic Diseases / complications
  • Rheumatic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Rheumatic Diseases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects

Substances

  • Cannabinoids
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid