Cannabinoids - Medicinal Cannabis

Updated October 2021

The ARA Position Statement on the use of cannabinoids for arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions in adults is available here. The information below is taken from this position statement. 

Download button - information sheet

  • The ARA is aware of and supports the increasing worldwide research aimed at assessing the safety and effectiveness of cannabis-based treatments for people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Many musculoskeletal conditions are associated with long-term symptoms. The best way to determine the therapeutic usefulness of any medical treatment, including cannabinoids, is with rigorous scientific trials, known as randomised placebo-controlled trials, that are conducted over appropriate lengths of time.
  • Research so far shows that only a small number of people treated with cannabinoids for painful conditions notice a small improvement in pain and sleep, and there is little or no improvement in their ability to participate in daily activities. 
  • Many people experience unpleasant side-effects (such as nausea, dizziness or difficulty thinking clearly) and there may be other important side-effects in the long term that we do not know about yet. 
  • Many cannabis products may also prevent people from driving or operating machinery.
  • As such, the ARA does not recommend the routine use of these products for arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Smoking cannabis or using cannabis from non-medical sources has extra health risks (eg harm to the lungs, or interference with prescription medications) and should be avoided.

Link to other resources

Therapeutic Goods Administration - Patient Information