For people with fibromyalgia, simple everyday tasks can be a struggle. The mysterious pain and fatigue associated with this chronic disorder can leave patients and their loved ones desperate for a solution. Could cannabis be the answer they are looking for?
Let’s take a look at what the current research has to say about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis for fibromyalgia.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that has a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life. Symptoms can resemble those of arthritis, but it’s the soft tissue that is affected rather than the joints. It’s a poorly understood and commonly misdiagnosed disease that causes pain, cognitive problems, fatigue, and many other types of discomfort.
While there is some speculation that fibromyalgia might be a neurological disorder, doctors don’t know the cause. Things like trauma, infections, and even genetics are thought to be triggers, but how these factors contribute to the diseases isn’t well understood.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but some patients find relief with treatments like acupuncture, exercise, behavioral therapy, and medications for pain and sleep. And a growing number of patients have been finding success relieving their symptoms with medical cannabis.
Cannabis for Fibromyalgia
Cannabis is proven to work to help relieve chronic pain, so it makes sense that it could be an effective way for fibromyalgia patients to supplement their medical treatment. While further clinical research on using cannabis for this disease is still needed, what we’ve seen so far is very promising. There’s also a massive amount of anecdotal evidence that cannabis brings relief to those suffering from the pain of fibromyalgia.
One study looked at 56 patients with fibromyalgia, half of which used cannabis while the other half abstained. The cannabis users reported a significant reduction in stiffness and pain, as well as an easier time relaxing than those not using cannabis.
The authors concluded this study with a call for more research into cannabis for fibromyalgia, so we can better understand it’s potential as a treatment. Studies like these and the impressive amount of anecdotal evidence makes researchers hopeful that cannabis will one day become an established treatment for fibromyalgia.
How Does Cannabis Work for Fibromyalgia?
While we still have a way to go in understanding fibromyalgia, some researchers think it could be connected to deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for keeping our bodies in a state of balance. When the ECS isn’t functioning correctly because of a deficiency, systems are thrown out of balance which can lead to things like fibromyalgia.
Medical cannabis can supplement the ECS with compounds similar to those our bodies naturally produce, helping to restore homeostasis. Cannabis can also have a leg-up on other treatments because it doesn’t pose the same overdose and dependency risks as opioids. It can also help with both sleep regulation and mental stimulation depending on dosage, which can be particularly helpful in relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The Bottom Line?
Although fibromyalgia is still poorly understood, there is hope on the horizon. Medical cannabis has the potential to help reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia, like the pain and fatigue that makes life difficult. Every patient deserves to be able to find a treatment that works for them, and for some people that treatment is cannabis.
Do you or a loved one have fibromyalgia or another pain condition? If you’d like to learn more about your options with medical cannabis, we’d love to help. Stop by or make an appointment and let our expert staff assist you with learning about the medical benefits of cannabis or becoming a new medical cannabis patient.