Due to the lack of scientific evidence, marijuana doctors used to be hesitant about recommending medical cannabis to patients with disorders like fibromyalgia, even if they personally believed in the plantspalliative effectiveness. Fortunately, thanks to recent studies depicting the effectiveness of medical marijuana as a potential treatment for fibromyalgia, medical marijuana doctors’ hesitation is now being replaced with a growing confidence that cannabis can benefit these patients plagued by chronic pain and debilitating fatigue.
For decades, both patients and medical cannabis doctors have advocated for the effectiveness of medical marijuana as a treatment for various diseases and conditions. However, in the past, these people rarely received support from the general public because they only had anecdotes to offer as evidence. Fortunately, recent studies have provided more concrete evidence supporting the use of medical cannabis for diseases, including fibromyalgia.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia, also referred to as fibrositis, is a disorder that involves musculoskeletal pain that impacts the entire body, according to Mayo Clinic. This musculoskeletal pain is frequently accompanied by memory, fatigue, sleep, and mood issues. Most researchers believe that fibromyalgia impacts the function of the brain, particularly when it comes to processing pain signals. This results in the amplification of all painful and uncomfortable sensations.
An individual can develop fibromyalgia after a surgery, infection, physical trauma, or psychologically stressful event. However, some individuals accumulate the symptoms of fibromyalgia gradually over time with no one triggering event.
Women have a greater risk of developing fibrositis than men. Most people who have this disorder experience irritable bowel syndrome, tension headaches, depression, anxiety, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Unfortunately, researchers still have not developed a cure for fibromyalgia. Therefore, the only option for individuals suffering from this disorder is taking medications and developing new habits to control the symptoms. For example, relaxation, exercise, and stress-reduction measures are effective ways to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Due to recent research and anecdotal evidence, many believe that medical marijuana is also a possible way to treat fibromyalgia symptoms.
What Are the Causes of Fibromyalgia?
One topic that is widely debated among researchers is the cause of fibromyalgia. Dr. Ethan Russo, a pharmacologist and neurologist, believes that fibromyalgia may be associated withClinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD).
The endocannabinoid system refers to a communications network in the body that promotes communication between organs, the brain, glands, connective tissues and more. Maintaining the homeostasis, or stable internal environment, of the human body is one of the main goals of the endocannabinoid system.
Accordingly, one’s health will suffer if the endocannabinoid system is disrupted. A disruption can cause many issues influencing gastrointestinal health, mood, sleep, and muscle spasticity. Dr. Russo realizes that these symptoms are also commonly experienced by those suffering from fibromyalgia.
Can Medical Marijuana Treat Fibromyalgia?
Like many chronic pain disorders, fibromyalgia is difficult to treat and impossible to cure. In 2008, Russo discussed his findings about the effectiveness of medical cannabis when it comes to treating the pain associated with fibromyalgia. In the paper, Russo discussed the ability of THC to reduce hypersensitivity to pain for patients suffering from fibromyalgia and migraines. The THC imitates anandamide, which is the natural endocannabinoid of the body. This also supports the idea that fibromyalgia is linked to the endocannabinoid system.
Russo argues that medical marijuana possesses other side effects that can prove helpful when it comes to treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Some of these side benefits include anti-insomnia, anti-nausea, and neuroprotective antioxidant properties.
University of Manitoba researchers used Nabilone, which is a synthetic cannabinoid, to treat patients suffering from fibromyalgia. These researchers concluded that not only did the cannabinoid decrease the pain, but also the patients tolerated it well. Most patients saw major improvements when it comes to anxiety symptoms and tender points ato through 4-week mark. The researchers also found major improvements in the results of the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaires (FIQ). This questionnaire tests for disturbances of quality of life like fatigue, muscle stiffness, depression, interference with work, fatigue, and physical functioning.
Medical marijuana doctors from Germany’s University of Heidelberg published a study in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion. In the study, the investigators studied the analgesic effects of oral THC. Nine patients suffering from fibromyalgia were involved in the study over three months. The subjects took daily doses of of oral THC. Subjects either took 2.5 or 15 mg of THC throughout the study. These subjects did not receive any other pain medications throughout the duration of the study. All of the subjects in the study reported a major improvement when it comes to daily recorded pain as well as electronically induced pain.
Every year, more states opt to legalize the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for a number of conditions and treatments, including fibromyalgia. Due to the legalization of medical marijuana and recent studies showing the effectiveness of medical marijuana, many marijuana doctors are recommending that their patients take medical marijuana. Patients suffering from fibromyalgia have been traditionally disregarded, so many are pleased to find an effective way to manage symptoms.