Date: Sunday, November 8, 2020
Session Type: Poster Session C
Session Time: 9:00AM-11:00AM
Background/Purpose: Despite the lack of research regarding medical cannabis, marijuana and its by-products have gained popularity over the last decades. A 2019 Statistics Canada report revealed that approximately 16% of Canadians used marijuana in the last year. A Canadian study also revealed that 80% of rheumatologist participants were questioned by their patients weekly regarding medical marijuana; and in a similar study, 75% of participants were not comfortable prescribing medical marijuana. Despite being a common and debilitating feature in rheumatic diseases, there is little attention given to the study of medical options for the management of pain. The effects, both positive or negative of medical marijuana in patients suffering from lupus or scleroderma, is still unclear. We conducted a survey amongst patient diagnosed with lupus or scleroderma to evaluate their beliefs, concerns and personal experience if any with medical cannabis.
Methods: Patients with diagnosed lupus or scleroderma were recruited from the Ottawa Hospital division of Rheumatology. Consent was implied with completion of the survey and answers remained anonymous. Inclusion criteria: age >18, diagnosis of systemic lupus or scleroderma and able to complete survey in English or French. Data analysis of the results of the survey are qualitative.
Results: On preliminary results, 20% of participants are actively using medical cannabis, primarily in the form of CBD oil or inhaled. In those patients taking medical cannabis, they reported no significant side effects. Of those not using cannabis, 49% of participants considered using it, and 62% would like further discussion with their rheumatologist regarding pros and cons of medical cannabis. Among our participants, the most common reasons for use of medical cannabis were insomnia, anxiety, and pain. The majority (97%) were aware that there can be side effects, and this was often the reason for wanting more information. The main elements important to the discussion was trust in their treating physician, having a non-judgemental approach, the degree of uncontrolled pain/symptoms and need for alternatives as well as receiving reliable information.
Conclusion: Our survey results suggest that a proportion of our patients have already tried medical cannabis, and most have an interest in the use of cannabis to help with symptoms not relieved by standard therapies to date. We need to be prepared to better guide our patients with respect to medical cannabis. These results will highlight common reasons/indications for medical cannabis use in this patient population. This study will ultimately assist with broadening patient perspective on medical cannabis, its impact on our patients and guide us in elaborating new strategies when discussing medical cannabis.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Karkache W, Ivory C. Survey of Medical Cannabis Use in Lupus and Scleroderma [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2020; 72 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/survey-of-medical-cannabis-use-in-lupus-and-scleroderma/. Accessed July 4, 2022.
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