Medical Cannabis As a Ray of Hope for Fibromyalgia Patients


A prevalent chronic illness called fibromyalgia can lead to widespread body aches, exhaustion, and cognitive problems. Fibromyalgia symptoms can be mistaken for arthritis or joint inflammation symptoms. The illness is not an autoimmune ailment but frequently coexists with autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). (1)

Although fibromyalgia does not inflame or harm joints or muscles, it might make people feel more pain in their joints and muscles.

Despite using a variety of therapeutic approaches, only a small number of which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved, we continue to struggle to provide adequate care. Cannabis used medicinally has recently shown promise in treating chronic pain caused by neuropathic pain, osteoarthritis, and other non-cancerous illnesses.

What is Fibromyalgia? Definition Explained

A chronic (long-lasting) condition called fibromyalgia leaves the body delicate and painful throughout, as well as tired and sleep-deprived. Although the disorder’s exact source is unknown, those who suffer from it have heightened pain thresholds.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia can be managed and treated, but there is no known cure for the condition. Exercise or other movement therapies, counseling, and medications are frequently used in conjunction with treatment. Fibromyalgia can affect everyone, although more women than males develop it.

Although it can affect anyone at any age, including youngsters, it typically begins in middle age, and the likelihood of developing it rises with age. People from all racial and ethnic backgrounds experience it.

In recent years, several claims have popped up saying that fibromyalgia can be manageable with the use of medical cannabis. This article will discuss the link between medical cannabis and fibromyalgia and how fibromyalgia is made manageable through cannabis.

Causes of Fibromyalgia:

Fibromyalgia’s precise origin is unknown. In rheumatology, a recent theory claims that fibromyalgia results from a central nervous system dysfunction (CNS).

Fibromyalgia risk may be influenced by a number of factors, such as (2)

  • An upsetting, traumatic experience, such as a car accident or persistent injuries
  • Repetitive injuries
  • CNS issues with RA or other autoimmune diseases like lupus affect how a person’s genes control the way they process painful inputs.

Also, fibromyalgia may run in families. Females are more likely to develop fibromyalgia if they have a close relative who has the illness. (3)

There is an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia among those with RA, lupus, or spinal arthritis.

The Difficulty in Diagnosis:

Due to how closely the symptoms of fibromyalgia match those of other illnesses, including Lyme illness, autoimmune diseases, and hypothyroidism

Before fibromyalgia is identified, several other disorders must be ruled out by a doctor.

Because there is no laboratory testing for the illness, a diagnosis may be delayed or incorrect.

Signs and Symptoms:

Before we dive into the whole discussion about medical cannabis and fibromyalgia, it is necessary to discuss some important symptoms. The signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia include but are not limited to: (4)

  • Extensive pain
  • Stiffness in the joints and muscles after sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Inconsistent sleeping habits
  • Hands and feet feeling tingly and numb
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Restless Legs
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold
  • “Fibro fog,” or problems with memory and attention
  • Fatigue

Treatments and Medications:

It might be challenging for an individual to manage fibromyalgia alone. A rheumatologist or other expert will create a treatment plan to help manage the illness. Typically, this will require a mix of pharmaceutical and non-pharmacological treatments. Since fibromyalgia is a syndrome, each patient will have a unique set of symptoms, necessitating a customized treatment strategy.

The following treatments, in part or in full, are possible: a low-impact exercise regimen, acupuncture, psychotherapy, chiropractic care, physical therapy, stress-reduction methods, and medicines such as antidepressants.

To treat particular symptoms, a medical expert may suggest drugs. These may consist of over-the-counter analgesics. However, the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) advised against using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to treat fibromyalgia in its revised 2016 guidelines. (5)

Medical Cannabis and Fibromyalgia

Medical cannabis has become very popular for research and controversies in the last few years, but it also represents hope for many patients. Cannabis-based formulations have been tested for their ability to lessen the pain when more conventional methods have failed in clinical settings.

For a variety of reasons, including their anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties and their impact on pain-related symptoms, cannabinoids may be helpful in the management of rheumatic illnesses. Cannabis acts as an analgesic primarily by inhibiting presynaptic glutamatergic and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transmission through cannabinoid receptors. (6)

Despite significant uncertainty regarding the mechanism of action and its precise role in managing pain and non-pain symptoms of fibromyalgia, the use of medical cannabis has gained increasing traction over the past several years.

How is Medical Cannabis Helpful?

Cannabis is a plant that belongs to the genus Cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main active components

of the plant. The psychoactive substance that causes the “high” feeling is THC. In addition to being able to smoke, it can also be used in the form of edibles, oils, and capsules.

Since CBD is not psychoactive, it does not produce the same “high” as THC. It can be purchased in the form of extracts, gummies, supplements, oils, gels, and more.

Few studies have specifically compared the efficacy of THC against CBD for treating fibromyalgia symptoms. Many fibromyalgia patients utilize cannabis-based medications to relieve their symptoms.

Studies on the Use of Cannabis for Fibromyalgia:

The National Academies Press (NAP) released a thorough analysis of the medical and non-medical consequences of cannabis in 2017. The review found strong evidence that cannabis can effectively treat adults with chronic pain.

  • A 2007 study comparing the effects of the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone with a placebo on the symptoms of 40 fibromyalgia patients found that the nabilone treatment significantly reduced pain. (7)
  • Twenty-eight people who used cannabis to treat fibromyalgia ranked the drug’s perceived advantages for each symptom in a 2011 Source. Among them, 43% reported significant pain relief, and 43% reported only minor relief. The remaining 7% said their pain problems had not changed. (8)
  • According to the 2018 NAP review mentioned in the preceding section, there is a fair amount of evidence that cannabis-related medications can temporarily enhance sleep in fibromyalgia patients. (9)
  • The effects of nabilone, a synthetic medication with properties resembling those of cannabis, were also the subject of a 2010 study. Researchers discovered that nabilone enhanced sleep in fibromyalgia patients.

Can Cannabis Alleviate Severe Symptoms?

According to the aforementioned studies, medical cannabis may be able to assist fibromyalgia-related pain and sleep problems. Speak with your doctor if you’re considering taking medical cannabis for fibromyalgia. Cannabis can conflict with any existing medications you may be taking.

You can consider the potential advantages and risks of taking cannabis for fibromyalgia with the assistance of your doctor. They can also tell you if it is legitimately offered in your region.

Use cannabis in moderation if you are nursing or pregnant. THC can harm growing fetuses and newborns by crossing the placenta and getting into breast milk.

Avoid smoking near babies, pregnant women, or pets.

Risks and side-effects:

Unpleasant short-term adverse effects of cannabis can occur. These may consist of: (10)

.       Alterations in perception

·       Alterations in mood

·       Confusion and brain fog

·       Alterations in movement

·       Alterations in focus

·       Alterations in memory

Teenagers and young adults with a known family history of schizophrenia or psychosis may experience hallucinations and delusions due to high cannabis doses, but not the drug itself. In light of the present data, these people would be prudent to refrain from using any mind-altering substances, including alcohol, cocaine, or methamphetamines.

How to Obtain Cannabis Legally?

You must ascertain the local regulations if medical cannabis is permitted in your state or country. State-by-state differences in requirements exist in the United States. Find out specifically if having fibromyalgia makes you eligible for medical cannabis. The website for health services in your state ought to include this information. If it’s not, call and find out.

You might need to apply for a medical cannabis card to be eligible for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

You will be required to submit proof of your condition in the form of medical or other records in order to apply. Additionally, a doctor’s prescription is needed. You can also be required to provide identification documentation, such as a passport or driving license. Where you live may or may not make it impossible to purchase cannabis legally. You shouldn’t attempt to purchase cannabis illegally if it isn’t permitted in your state.

Final Thoughts:

Some individuals with fibromyalgia may find relief from their symptoms using medical cannabis. The usefulness and safety of cannabis in treating symptoms, however, are still unknown. If you’re considering using cannabis to alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms, you should learn more about the regulations in your region. Avoid attempting to obtain cannabis illegally if it is prohibited where you reside.

Before taking cannabis to alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms, always talk to your doctor.



Legal Disclaimer : Medical Cannabis Doctors does not provide medical services or medical advice. This information is for awareness purposes only and is NOT medical advice. Do not self diagnose or prescribe any forms of treatments based on this information or the information on this site. Always consult with a licensed physician in your state for any medical advice, treatments, prescriptions and medical services.

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