The use of medical marijuana for medicinal purposes is a controversial subject. According to the American Chronic Pain Society, some states allow the use of marijuana for health reasons such as pain. Scientific evidence continues to increase, suggesting that marijuana is a safe treatment for many pain conditions, including fibromyalgia. The Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies specifically states that marijuana and related products can be effective in addressing some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Here is an in-depth look at the relationship between medical marijuana and fibromyalgia.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Before determining the effects of medical marijuana on fibromyalgia, it is important to understand fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome that is difficult to treat. The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, poor sleep quality, and problems with cognition. There is no cure for this condition.
Medical treatment options are limited to pain relief medication, muscle relaxants, sleep aids, and anti-depressants. Physiotherapy and lifestyle changes may also be recommended. However, for some people, these treatments do not work and sometimes come with a series of unfortunate side effects.
Due to these limitations, many fibromyalgia patients have turned to cannabis.
Fibromyalgia is one of the conditions that affect the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is derived from the words endogenous and cannabinoid. Endogenous means something that is inside the body, whereas cannabinoid means the part of the body that reacts to cannabis.
The human body contains natural cannabinoids in the endocannabinoid system. Therefore, more cannabinoids can be introduced by ingestion or smoking synthetic cannabis. The endocannabinoid system helps in multiple processes, including:
- Immune function
- Energy metabolism
- Pain processing
- Temperature regulation
- Stress response
- The autonomic nervous system
Most of these systems are impaired when a person has fibromyalgia. For this reason, many have suggested that increasing the number of cannabinoids in the endocannabinoid system by taking medical marijuana may relieve some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia and other syndromes affecting the system’s functionality
Research on The Effects of Marijuana on Fibromyalgia
Many studies suggest marijuana helps relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. In one study, participants who used medical marijuana reported its effects on pain relief. Some of the participants also reported relief from sleep issues.
In another long term study on the effects of cannabis for fibromyalgia, the researchers focused on 367 fibromyalgia patients.
The results from the study were impressive. Overall, 81% of patients reported some improvement in their condition. Pain intensity came down from a median of 9/10 to 5/10. A significant number of patients taking benzodiazepine or opioids were able to reduce or stop because of medical cannabis.
Forms of Marijuana Treatment
Marijuana has many cannabinoids. However, THC and CBD are the most common cannabinoids. THC is associated with high sensation, while CBD is more medicinal than intoxicating. However, many forms of medical marijuana contain both of these cannabinoids or CBD alone.
Medical marijuana is legal in a few states in the U.S. This drug can be eaten, vaporized, or smoked. Some of the most popular synthetic forms of marijuana include Marinol and Cesamet. You can find various options for medical marijuana online.
Based on the above-mentioned studies, medical cannabis might be able to help manage pain and sleep disturbances, among other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
While it is not conclusive whether medical marijuana can help all patients suffering from fibromyalgia, many patients have reported positive results. More research is required to determine how to combine medical marijuana and other forms of treatment to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms.