X Men star Patrick Stewart reveals he has turned to cannabis to help him battle medical condition

Star Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart is using cannabis to treat arthritis.

The 76-year-old Hollywood and stage veteran has turned to cannabis-based sprays, pills and ointments to beat the condition he inherited from his mother.

The X-Men star revealed he buys the medicine legally in the US to soothe his painful hands, as he backed research into cannabis-based medicine by Oxford University.

He said: “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.

“The ointment helps with sleep as the pain was reduced. The spray is much more usable and I spray my fingers several times a day.

“The spray leaves my hands quite dry, with a slight burning ­sensation, which is not unpleasant. They have significantly reduced the stiffness and pain.

"I can make fists, which was not the case before I began this treatment.”

Around 10 million people in the UK have a form of arthritis.

Herbal cannabis contains compounds called cannabinoids, two of which are used in Sativex. Licensed in the UK, it relieves the pain of muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis.

Sir Patrick called the research “an important step forward for Britain in a field that has for too long been held back by ­prejudice, fear and ignorance”.