Sir Patrick Stewart has opened up about his struggle with arthritis and how he uses marijuana every day to cope with his symptoms.

PATRICK STEWART USES CANNABIS EVERY DAY

The 76-year-old Star Trek alum endorsed the UK’s first program designed to explore the benefit of cannabis-based medication. He released a statement in support. He called the cannabinoid biomedicine program at Oxford “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 explained. “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.”

Stewart reports that he has not experiences any negative side effects, but that the treatment has “significantly reduced the stiffness and pain in my hands. I can make fists, which was not the case before I began.” He also shared that other anti-inflammatory medicines can be harsh on the liver and cause acid reflux.

Nearly 23% of adults in the US (roughly 54.4 million) are diagnosed with arthritis, and over 40% of those adults suffer limitations due to the condition. Stewart currently lives in Brooklyn, where medical marijuana is still held under tight restrictions, and smokable forms are banned. In the UK, however, cannabis is completely illegal and is not recognized as having any therapeutic value.