Cannabis & Fibromyalgia: New Research Offers Promising Results
People turn to medical marijuana for all kinds of reasons, and, thankfully, people
these days have that legal option in a lot of states. However, pain
management seems to be one of the top reasons people are using medical
marijuana. A study published in February 2019 shows that more than 64 percent of
people who do turn to medical marijuana are looking to find some level of relief
from chronic pain. Some studies show cannabis can be beneficial for dealing with
chronic pain, including pain caused by major medical conditions like fibromyalgia.
What Is Fibromyalgia and Refractory Pain?
Fibromyalgia is considered one of the most prevalent conditions that cause
chronic pain across the planet with about 10 million sufferers just in the United
States. The condition is characterized by pain that can be severe or debilitating for
the person diagnosed, mood disturbances, and fatigue. Refractory pain, which is
the name given to pain that is hard to control with conventional treatment, is the
most common symptom.
In order for there to be a diagnosis, the person must have dealt with widespread
pain for at least three months with no other logical cause. Fibromyalgia typically
affects more women than men and people are usually diagnosed between the age
of 20 and 50.
Typical Treatments for Fibromyalgia
The medical treatment available for fibromyalgia is aimed at helping control or
relieve the symptoms of the condition, and the results can be limited at best for
some. Doctors may prescribe a combination of pain medication, antidepressants,
and even anti-seizure drugs or sleep aids. Physical therapy may also help improve
some of the symptoms for some patients. Unfortunately, treatment does not work
for every patient and some medications can come along with undesirable side
effects. These side effects lead a lot of patients to seek out alternatives, like cannabis,
as a potential solution.
Cannabis and Fibromyalgia Pain: The Studies
A few studies have been done in the past that seem to show cannabis could be an
effective way to help people who deal with chronic pain related to fibromyalgia. An
observational study in 2011 showed study participants saw improved relaxation,
reduced muscle stiffness, and significant pain relief. Another study surveyed
individuals with chronic pain and found reports of improved sleep quality and less
pain. The list could go on.
The mechanism of action with cannabis for pain is associated with the
endocannabinoid system, or ECS, in the human body. The ECS is made up of
receptors that react to the cannabinoids in cannabis, which may help to reduce
painful sensations or the perceptions of pain.
A more recent study has breathed new hope into cannabis as potential
alternative pain management for fibromyalgia patients It focused specifically on
participants with a diagnosis who had been using medical marijuana. Twenty-six
patients were included in the study, all of which had documented fibromyalgia and
had been using medical marijuana. All patients reported improvement, and half of
them had stopped taking other prescribed medications. The overall conclusion of
the study was that medical marijuana had a significantly favorable effect on people
with fibromyalgia with very mild negative reactions.
Living in Pain is No Fun - Hopefully Cannabis Can Help
The CDC says that more than 20 percent of adults in this country have dealt with
chronic pain on some level. That's a scary number to look at because living in pain
is no way to truly live. As continuing research develops and cannabis use becomes
more acceptable, hopefully more people can change their lives for the better.
Reach out to us at Standing Akimbo, a Denver medical dispensary, to find out
about the cannabis products we have available and how they may help.
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Medical Cannabis License Holders In The United States." Health Affairs, Feb. 2019,
2. "About Fibromyalgia." National Fibromyalgia Association, Accessed 30 Aug.
3. "Fibromyalgia." MayoClinic, Accessed 30 Aug. 2020, mayoclinic.org/diseases-
4. Habib G, Artul S. "Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia." J Clin
Rheumatol, 24 Aug. 2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29461346/.
5. Piper, Brian J et al. “Chronic pain patients' perspectives of medical
cannabis.” Pain vol. 158,7 (2017): 1373-1379. doi:10.1097/j.pain.
6. Habib G, Artul S. "Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia." J Clin
Rheumatol. 24 Aug. 2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29461346/.
7. Dahlhamer, J, Lucas, et al. "Prevalence Of Chronic Pain And High-Impact
Chronic Pain Among Adults — United States, 2016." Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, 14 Sept.2018, cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6736a2.htm.