Treating Fibromyalgia with Medical Marijuana – How It Helps
Can medical marijuana be used to treat fibromyalgia?
95 percent of patients who used marijuana for fibromyalgia reported some relief.
Almost two-thirds found the treatment to be highly effective.
How medical marijuana might be used to treat the causes and symptoms of fibromyalgia
Effective Cannabis Strains for Fibromyalgia
As medical marijuana finds more and more support amongst the medical community, a growing number of fibromyalgia patients are enjoying the relief from potentially debilitating pain provided by medical marijuana.
What is fibromyalgia? What causes the condition? And why does medical marijuana seem to help fibromyalgia patients? We’ll answer each of these questions starting with an explanation of the condition and potential causes.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a common affliction causing unbearable chronic pain in muscles, bones, and joints. The condition is often accompanied by relentless fatigue.
Very little is known of this mysterious malady. Doctors have no concrete idea of what causes it. Some believe genetics may play a role in its manifestation. If fibromyalgia runs in your family, you stand a much higher chance of it manifesting in your lifetime.
Fibromyalgia affects approximately 10 million people in the U.S. and around 3 to 6 percent of the global population.
Research tells us that women are far more susceptible. In fact, 75 to 90 percent of all patients are female.
This painful condition generally rears its ugly head in individuals between the ages of 20 to 50 years. The elderly are by far the most vulnerable. In fact, adults past the age of 80 meet the American College of Rheumatology classification of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia doesn’t care about your race. All ethnicities are prone to the disease.
Microbial and viral infections or emotional and physical traumas might also cause this syndrome.
There is some evidence that points to vulnerability amongst those with rheumatoid arthritis. This could be due to the autoimmune response.
Studies indicate that a short circuit between the spinal cord and the brain might be the cause of the ceaseless pain. In cases of fibromyalgia, the patient may have an abnormally high number of cells that carry pain signals and fewer cells that soothe the pain.
Fybromyalgia is challenging to diagnose. The condition tends to mimic the symptoms of many other maladies. This can result in patients being treated with the wrong medication.
At this time, there is no known cure for fibromyalgia. There are only methods to treat its symptoms.
Many patients live relatively normal lives with the proper medication, exercise, and proper nutrition.
Nonetheless, fibromyalgia is a terrible affliction that radically affects the day to day existence of those with the disease.
Three Categories of Fibromyalgia Pain
There are three categories of fibromyalgia pain as defined by the medical community:
Allodynia refers to pain generated by gentle pressure or touch on tissue. In some cases, even clothing brushing against the skin may cause great pain and discomfort akin to a severe sunburn. Allodynia is an extreme reaction stemming from central sensitization that FM causes. This condition is a rarity and thought to be associated with several other afflictions, like neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia (shingles), and migraines.
Paresthesia is a type of nerve pain sometimes described as “pins and needles” prickling the body. This symptom is often treated with serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
How Harmful Is Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, in and of itself, is not a life-threatening disease. Living with this condition and it’s ongoing, life-altering pain requires Herculean strength of spirit and determination.
Doctors will generally look into a possible FM diagnosis once a patient has experienced mysterious, unexplained pain for more than three months.
There are no quantitative diagnostic tools for determining FM, so they must use a process of elimination to rule out other conditions with similar patterns.
The first step would be a blood test, including:
- Complete blood count
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- Cyclic citrullinated peptide test
- Rheumatoid factor
- Thyroid function tests
Can Medical Marijuana Help with Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
Scores of studies indicate the pain-killing properties of cannabis. The plant has been shown to be highly effective in treating chronic, multi-faceted pain in FM patients.
One of the culprits behind this mysterious affliction may be a condition known as CECD (clinical endocannabinoid deficiency).. FM patients have shown much lower levels of naturally occurring cannabinoids in addition to a dearth of signaling hormones and molecules, that are produced and modulated by the endocannabinoid system.
If, in fact, cannabinoid deficiency is a factor of fibromyalgia onset, it makes sense to supplement the naturally occurring endocannabinoids with the phytocannabinoids present in marijuana.
More and more evidence points to the efficacy and safety of cannabis over traditional pharmaceutical protocols used to treat fibromyalgia such as Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella.
In an online survey, the National Pain Foundation discovered that 95 percent% of individuals surveyed found some degree of relief with medical marijuana. A full 62 percent reported great satisfaction and found it to be “very effective” in dealing with their symptoms. Only 5% of the patients reported no relief at all.
A research report titled “Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia” was published in 2018 titled.” One fact that really stood out in the data was that half of the subjects utilizing cannabis for symptom relief were able to terminate their daily use of allopathic medicines completely.
Authors of the study reported the following::
METHODS: Data were obtained from the registries of 2 hospitals in Israel (Laniado Hospital and Nazareth Hospital) on patients with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia who were treated with MC. After obtaining patient consent, demographic, clinical, and laboratory parameters were documented. All the patients also completed the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire regarding the period before and after MC treatment.
RESULTS: Thirty patients were identified, and 26 patients were included in the study. There were 19 female patients (73%), and the mean age of the study group was 37.8 ± 7.6 years. The mean dosage of MC was 26 ± 8.3 g per month, and the mean duration of MC use was 10.4 ± 11.3 months. After commencing MC treatment, all the patients reported a significant improvement in every parameter on the questionnaire, and 13 patients (50%) stopped taking any other medications for fibromyalgia. Eight patients (30%) experienced very mild adverse effects.
CONCLUSIONS: Medical cannabis treatment had a significant favorable effect on patients with fibromyalgia, with few adverse effects.
Inflammation is yet another aspect of FM. Cannabis and CBD are known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory. And depression, caused by relentless chronic pain, presents another very common problem for FM patients. Cannabis has also been shown to be an effective antidepressant.
Most Effective Cannabis Strains for Fibromyalgia
Here is a list compiled by HelloMD of the best marijuana strains for relief of Fibromyalgia:
- Harlequin (5:2 CBD to THC ratio)
- Cannatonic (low- to medium-THC, medium- to high-CBD)
- God’s Gift (medium- to high-THC)
- Fire OG (high-THC, low-CBD
- Romulan (high-THC, low-CBD)
- Red Dragon (high-THC, low-CBD)
- Critical Mass (high-THC, low-CBD)
- Strawberry (high-THC, low-CBD)
- Scooby Snacks (high-THC)
- Key Lime Pie (high-THC, low- to medium-CBD)
If these strains are not available at your local dispensary they can assist you in finding an alternative. It’s wise to speak with an expert — either a health practitioner or budtender — to discover the best balance of CBD and THC.
There are alternative delivery systems for ingesting medical marijuana besides smoking. Tinctures, oils, pills, baked goods, and vape liquids may be a better fit for FM patients.
When determining which delivery method is best for your needs, many aspects of your lifestyle need to be taken into consideration such as work schedule, type of employment, and daily routine.
Patients with Fibromyalgia are strongly advised to consult with a medical professional who is educated in the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of fibromyalgia before beginning any medical marijuana treatment regimen.
If your physician is against the use of medical marijuana and you would like to find another opinion, we suggest that you reach out to FM patient support groups in your area for a recommendation.
How To Get Medical Marijuana for Fibromyalgia
If you are suffering from Fibromyalgia or another health issue and are a resident of a legal state interested in trying medical marijuana for treatment, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor. To get started, fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and your on your way to get or renew your medical marijuana card. See if you qualify today!
Sign Up for Medical Cannabis Today!
For potential patients, if you’re ready, we make it easy to connect with a medical marijuana doctor nearby or online. If you are interested in getting certified, please fill out the MMJ patient registration form below and press submit to get started. See if you qualify today!
MedCard Registration Form
Helpful Medical Marijuana Links:
Studies on marijuana and Fibromyalgia:
- Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia
- Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): Can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and other treatment-resistant conditions?
- Cannabis use in patients with fibromyalgia
- Cannabinoids for fibromyalgia