TRIALS: Could cannabis hold the key to easing knee pain for locals?
TRIALS: Could cannabis hold the key to easing knee pain for locals?

Dodgy knees? Have you tried some weed?

EASING those aching knees could be as easy as going green.

Yep, osteoarthritis seizing up knee joints could soon be a thing of the past if ground-breaking research being done by the University of the Sunshine Coast proves successful.

An odourless gel derived from cannabis plants and rubbed on the shoulders can enter the bloodstream and target painful joints.

Knee joints are the ones being targeted by this research, but USC Clinical Trials director Lucas Litewka said there was every chance other aching joints like hips or ankles could also be improved by the gel.

"It's really exciting for us," Mr Litewka said.

Six patients are already taking part in the trials and Mr Litewka said he wants to lift that number to 30.

Would you try cannabis gel to ease your aching, osteoarthritis-riddled knees?

This poll ended on 26 November 2016.

Current Results

Yes, anything to avoid surgery

95%

No, I'm not convinced of the safety of cannabis-derived products

0%

Depends, I'd like to see the results so far first

4%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

He said they were looking for osteoarthritis sufferers who may be facing the limited options of either taking stronger painkillers with side effects or going under the knife, that may be hoping to find some relief without going down those paths.

"We haven't observed any side effects so far," Mr Litewka said.

That's in part due to the gel entering the bloodstream, avoiding the gastrointestinal tract, meaning it doesn't have to be processed by the liver. By passing systemically, the medication should pass through the entire body, potentially easing other osteoarthritis complaints.

While pain relief was the number one goal, Mr Litewka hoped there would also be anti-inflammatory benefits delivered by the gel and the effect would boost mobility in sufferers.

TECHNIQUE: Golden Beach Medical Centre's Dr Peter De Wet (right) explains to USC Clinical Trials Centre research coordinator Jo McFarland how the cannabidiol is applied to the shoulder.
TECHNIQUE: Golden Beach Medical Centre's Dr Peter De Wet (right) explains to USC Clinical Trials Centre research coordinator Jo McFarland how the cannabidiol is applied to the shoulder. Julie Schomberg

So, will the gel, about the size of a tomato sauce sachet applied morning and night, make you high?

Absolutely not. The pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol is synthetic, because the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, THC, has been removed, leaving only cannabidiol as the active component.

Volunteers will not have to pay a cent for the medication, with some on the active gel, some on placebos for the first six months, before all volunteers move onto the active gel and can stay on the product moving forward.

Transport assistance will also be available to those taking part, with some of the region's ageing ex-sportsmen and women ideal candidates.

Eligible volunteers must be aged between 40 and 75 and have confirmed radiographic diagnosis, moderate to severe pain and no corticosteroid injections in previous weeks. There must be no history of illicit drug use or arthritis.

For more information head to usc.edu.au/trials


Feel the beat and move your feet

Feel the beat and move your feet

ZumbaNoosa celebrates a decade

Dinosaurs at the Plant Fair

Dinosaurs at the Plant Fair

Dinosaur bone search added attraction

Time to help out to ease drought

Time to help out to ease drought

How you can help struggling farmers

Local Partners