While the battle over legalizing marijuana continues to be heated in the United States, other countries are much more open-minded to exploring its health benefits. In fact, Oxford University has launched a new initiative to explore medicinal cannabis, the first such study in the UK, and none other than Sir Patrick Stewart is one of its most vocal supporters. As it turns out, Stewart has quite a stake in the study’s findings, as the 76-year-old actor has been using marijuana on the daily for the past two years to treat his arthritis.

“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,” Stewart says in a statement. “This, it would seem, is a genetically-based condition. My mother had badly distorted and painful hands.

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.”

Stewart’s revelation certainly helps explain some of his most widely shared viral videos, such as the one where he can’t stop giggling over a silly Christmas hat, but the best part about it all is that the actor has benefited greatly from the treatment. He admits that his condition was so bad that he couldn’t make a fist, but thanks to a cannabis spray he’s been using, he now can. He also says that the pain and stiffness in his hands has been greatly reduced and that he can now sleep and function in his daily life.

Stewart goes on to mention in his statement that the alternative to his current treatment would have been a daily cocktail of “NSAID’s, Advil, Aleve, and Naproxen,” which would have caused damage to his liver and acid reflux. In contrast, his cannabis use has so far had no side effects (other than those delightful videos, of course).

Sir Patrick Stewart: knight, X-Men, and now, marijuana advocate.

Via: NME, The AV Club