Cannabis for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia can be defined as chronic and often disabling pain that is usually in more than one location on the body.
Fibromyalgia can be defined as chronic and often disabling pain that is usually in more than one location on the body, pain is often felt throughout the entire body. Currently, the exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown but one theory is that it results from abnormal pain perception processing, meaning that the places on the body experiencing pain aren’t actually injured or in distress, rather our brain is processing signals that cause us to feel pain. The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is often determined by ruling out other conditions since there’s no specific test to identify the disease.
Other symptoms that accompany the feelings of pain brought on by this disease include sleep disorders, depression or anxiety, headaches, and problems with memory and focus. There has been a substantial amount of anecdotal evidence supporting cannabis as a treatment for the disease, and a recent study further supports this notion.
The study done in August of 2018 involved 26 fibromyalgia patients from two hospital registries in Israel, and found that all patients reported significant improvement in managing their pain when consistently consuming cannabis. Half of these patients reported they had stopped taking the other medications they had been using to manage their fibromyalgia symptoms.
Another study conducted in 2011 also looked at how cannabis could possibly ameliorate the symptoms of fibromyalgia. The findings of this study support the notion that the plant can help reduce pain and stiffness, enhance relaxation, and improve one’s overall well-being.
Because of our lack of understanding fibromyalgia, we presently don’t have a cure for it. Instead, patients are encouraged to alter their lifestyles and improve their health by exercising, adopting healthy eating habits, and of course they are often prescribed medication to ease the symptoms when needed.
The pain level associated with fibromyalgia can vary greatly from patient to patient. It can range from dull and achy to intense and disabling. Many patients are prescribed some form of pain medication, including opioids, an antidepressant, or a muscle relaxant. Opioids can become addictive and escalating doses can lead to serious side-effects other health concerns. The medical community has collected several self-reports and surveys that support the idea that cannabis can act as either a supplement or replacement for such medications, especially for opioids.
Pain brought on by fibromyalgia may be treatable with cannabis in a few different ways. Smoking or vaping the plant is the most common method of consuming it and will allow the cannabinoids of the plant to spread throughout the body, easing pain in multiple areas. Ingesting it is an easier method that can allow the patient to forego any smoke, keeping lungs carcinogen-free, and oftentimes edible cannabis has stronger effects than smoking it. Then there are topicals that can be used directly on the pain site if the idea of inhaling or ingesting cannabis doesn’t suit you.
The other complications associated with fibromyalgia also have the potential to being treated with cannabis. Indica strains often help consumers relax and fall asleep so improving a sleeping disorder is possible. Some patients have discussed cannabis’s ability to help with depression or anxiety depending on the strain and dosage consumed. Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests some strains, specifically sativa or sativa-dominant hybrids, can help the mind focus.