The Cannabis Frontier: As Medical Cannabis Moves Mainstream, are Rheumatologists Prepared?

As any self-respecting American marijuana smoker can attest, the nation’s complicated relationship with the drug dates at least as far back as the Founding Fathers: Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were known to grow acres of hemp — marijuana’s far less-psychoactive cannabis cousin — on their Virginia plantations.

Although hemp was a known cash crop at the time, used in a variety of products including paper, lamp oil, ropes and sail canvasses, historians continue to clash on whether the Founding Fathers and other farmers at the time also utilized hemp for the more recreational or medicinal properties associated with cannabis today.

The potential benefits and harms of cannabis-based products have been alternately vilified and glorified by users, government officials and the scientific community alike for nearly 3 centuries. That argument has carried into the rheumatology sphere today, where increasing interest in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) to

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