The actor endorsed the plant’s therapeutic use, as well as a new program aimed at exploring its health benefits in the U.K.
Sir Patrick Stewart has opened up about his struggle with arthritis and how he turns to marijuana on a daily basis to combat its symptoms, according to a report from The Telegraph.
The 76-year-old “X-Men” actor shined a light on his green regimen this week while endorsing the U.K.’s first program aimed at exploring the benefits of cannabis-based medicines.
In a statement, the English actor called the cannabinoid biomedicine program out of Oxford University “an important step forward for Britain in a field of research that has for too long been held back by prejudice, fear and ignorance.”
“Two years ago, in Los Angeles, I was examined by a doctor and given a note which gave me legal permission to purchase, from a registered outlet, cannabis-based products, which I was advised might help the ortho-arthritis in both my hands,” he said. California has had some form of a medical marijuana program in place since 1996. In 2016, voters passed Proposition 64, which allowed for legal recreational use of marijuana in adults 21 and over.
“I purchased an ointment, spray and edibles. The ointment, while providing some relief from the discomfort, was too greasy to use during daytime and so I only use it at night,” he said. “It helps with sleep as the pain was reduced. The spray, however, is much more usable and I spray my fingers and particularly my thumb joints several times a day.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 23 percent of adults in the U.S. ― or 54.4 million people ― have been diagnosed with arthritis. Of that number, 43.5 percent were found to suffer limitations in their usual activities because of the condition which is said to increase with age.
Stewart shared that his arthritis is believed to be genetic as his mother “had badly distorted and painful hands.”
“I believe that the ointment and spray have significantly reduced the stiffness and pain in my hands. I can make fists, which was not the case before I began this treatment,” he said.
Stewart went on to say that he hasn’t had any negative side effects from using the cannabis and suggested that using alternative anti-inflammatory medicines like Advil, Aleve and Naproxen could be harsh on the liver and cause acid reflux.
Stewart, who has spoken of his desire to become a U.S. citizen since President Trump took office, currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. In New York state, medical marijuana still has tight restrictions, including a ban on smokeable forms.
Cannabis is illegal in the U.K. and, according to the BBC, it’s not recognized as having therapeutic value by the government in England and Wales.