Understanding the Benefits of Medical Cannabis for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that causes chronic muscle pain that comes with fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. People with fibromyalgia have what we call “tender points”, specific places in your body that hurt if you put pressure on them. These tender points are usually on the neck, back, shoulders, hips, arms, and legs. Middle-aged women are more likely to have Fibromyalgia than are men.

The usual symptoms of fibromyalgia are:

  • Headaches
  • Widespread pain
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Sleeping problems
  • Morning stiffness
  • “Fibro Fog” which are problems with the person’s memory and thinking
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet

People living with fibromyalgia may also develop anxiety, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, depression and irritable bowel syndrome. There is no cure for fibromyalgia but there are treatments to help people whoe live with this disorder, thus reducing the symptoms. Creating great habits like exercising, eating well, relaxing and stress-reduction are some measures that a person with fibromyalgia can take to help with the symptoms.

The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown but it is believed by the doctors that it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors, half the risk attributed to each possible cause. The condition seems to run in some families and the environmental factors are probably psychological stress, trauma and specific types of infection. There aren’t specific lab tests to diagnose fibromyalgia.

Medical Marijuana showed itself being a great symptom relief for patients who suffer from fibromyalgia. A study from 2011 analyzed 28 patients with fibromyalgia that smoked cannabis and 28 patients with fibromyalgia who didn’t, comparing the patterns and benefits that marijuana brought them. All the information was recorded on a questionnaire to see the benefits of cannabis in various symptoms using standard 100-mm visual analog scales (VAS). Both groups of patients were asked to complete the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36).

The results were positive, after 2 hours of using cannabis the VAS score showed significant reduction of pain and stiffness, the patients were more relaxed, feeling more sleepy and a feeling of well-being and the mental health component summary score were higher in SF-36 with people that used cannabis against the ones who didn’t. Authors reported, “Patients used cannabis not only to alleviate pain but for almost all the symptoms associated with FM and no one reported worsening of symptoms following the cannabis use”.

Investigators at Germany’s University wrote in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion about their evaluation of the analgesic effects of cannabis on nine patients with Fibromyalgia. After a three-month period taking oral doses of THC, these nine patients with Fibromyalgia reported significant pain reduction in daily-recorded pain and electronically induced pain. Subjects received daily doses of 2.5 to 15 mg of THC and no other pain medication during the three months.

Another study that examined the concept of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) and this study suggested that cannabis-based medicines are able to treat a migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS and related conditions since they all possess common clinical, biochemical and psychopathological patterns that suggested an endocannabinoid deficiency.