Medical Cannabis and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome, is hard to treat and impossible to cure. With pain so debilitating, patients may wonder about trying medical Cannabis to ease their discomfort.
Those experiencing the chronic pain of fibromyalgia are increasingly turning away from potentially dangerous and addictive opioids, and towards cannabis as a safer, more effective treatment option. But cannabis is a diverse medicine, and it’s important to first educate yourself on potential methods of ingestion when treating fibromyalgia.
Anyone suffering from fibromyalgia will tell you it can be devastating. On some days, simple chores like doing laundry or making breakfast can be exhausting, if not downright impossible.
While the cause of fibromyalgia is widely debated, Dr. Ethan Russo, a prominent neurologist and pharmacologist who has dedicated much of his professional career studying cannabis and the endocannabinoid system, theorized that fibromyalgia could be related to Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD).
The endocannabinoid system is like the Internet of your body — a communications network facilitating communications between your brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. The primary goal of the ECS is homeostasis — helping your body maintain a stable internal environment.
Some research indicates that the use of cannabis is associated with beneficial effects on some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. On the other hand, a 2016 review of studies found insufficient evidence to recommend any marijuana-based treatments for the management of symptoms in people with rheumatic diseases, such as fibromyalgia.
In an online survey of over 1,300 fibromyalgia patients conducted by the National Pain Foundation, 62% of those who had tried marijuana said it was effective at treating their fibromyalgia.
For many sufferers, marijuana was the only treatment option that helped relieve their symptoms.
Another survey of fibromyalgia sufferers examined two groups: marijuana users and non-users. The survey found that sufferers used marijuana (smoking or eating) not only to alleviate pain but for relief of almost all of their other symptoms.
Most patients reported significant decreases in pain and stiffness, and increases in relaxation, sleep, and well-being 2 hours after cannabis use. There were also some side effects like dry mouth, dizziness or feeling sedated.
More than 80% of sufferers experienced relief of sleeplessness when they used Cannabis. Overall, Cannabis use improved symptoms and increased their sense of well-being.
It should also be kept in mind that Cannabis is a plant that is grown, not carefully synthesized in a laboratory. Therefore, the amounts of potentially beneficial compounds present vary from one batch of plants to another. Symptom relief may also vary as a result.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia may be managed through one or more of the following lifestyle modifications:
- Exercise. Consistent gentle exercises such as walking, swimming, and pilates may help to decrease pain symptoms.
- Stress reduction. Reducing both the physical and emotional symptoms of stress is important in the management of this condition. Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises are among the techniques recommended.
- Massage. The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association state that massage therapy can improve chronic pain and fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Acupuncture. Some research indicates that tailored acupuncture can ease symptoms in some people.
- Sleep. People should aim to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. This will help to ease fatigue, one of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia. Those who struggle to get enough sleep should discuss the issue with their doctor.
- Behaviour modification therapy. Working with a therapist to learn new coping skills and define and set limits can improve quality of life and self-esteem in those with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.
If you are wanting to try medical Cannabis for Fibromyalgia we would suggest a THCa Cannabis tincture with added CBD isolate. Its non-psychoactive and will not make you ‘high’.
Consult with your doctor before stopping your current medication or before starting any new treatment.
Have you used cannabis to treat fibromyalgia? If so, share your experience with us in the comments section.