Arthritis Society helps patients navigate the confusing world of medical cannabis

September 1, 2015 | The Arthritis Society

New guide offers tips for rising tide of Canadians considering the treatment

Rachel Janzen"I'm desperate for a solution to my arthritis pain and decided medical cannabis might be right for me," says Rachel Janzen, 31, of Kingsville, Ont. "I decided to take it upon myself to explore cannabis because, with a full life ahead of me, I need to manage what is sometimes debilitating pain."

For Canadians like Janzen, The Arthritis Society today marks the beginning of Arthritis Awareness Month by releasing "Medical Cannabis: A Guide to Access [PDF]" This guide will help them understand and navigate the process for accessing medical cannabis to treat arthritis symptoms.

Two of three Canadians previously authorized by Health Canada to use medical cannabis were doing so to manage arthritis pain. Now, with new federal regulations making medical cannabis available by prescription to millions more Canadians living with arthritis, many are beginning to ask whether medical cannabis is right for them, and how they can access it.

Yet the new process for accessing it differs greatly from that of other prescription medications. The result for many patients is a steep learning curve.

"We are investing in research to answer important questions about the use of medical cannabis for arthritis," says Arthritis Society president and CEO Janet Yale. "In the meantime, there are many Canadians seeking an effective treatment to manage their pain and they are interested in medical cannabis. This new resource helps prepare them so they can ask the right questions and make informed treatment choices."

"I am very hopeful that medical cannabis is an answer to my symptoms," says Janzen. "Facing a lifetime with rheumatoid arthritis is frightening to say the least."

In June, The Arthritis Society demonstrated leadership on this issue by funding a scientific study into the pain-relieving potential of medical cannabis. It will also hold the first Medical Cannabis Conference this December, bringing together stakeholders from across Canada to determine research priorities and how to advance medical cannabis research.

For more information about The Society's research and education initiatives, please visit www.arthritis.ca.

ABOUT THE ARTHRITIS SOCIETY

The Arthritis Society has been setting lives in motion for over 65 years. Dedicated to a vision of living well while creating a future without arthritis, The Society is Canada's principal health charity providing education, programs and support to the over 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has been the largest non‐government funder of arthritis research in Canada, investing over $190 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with arthritis. The Arthritis Society is accredited under Imagine Canada's Standards Program. For more information and to make a donation, visit www.arthritis.ca.

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For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jeff Jurmain
National Communications Specialist
The Arthritis Society
tel: 416-979-7228 ext. 3354
cell: 647-461-0743
email: jjurmain@arthritis.ca