Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, which can lead to sleep problems, fatigue, pain, and memory problems. Research says that cannabis can help in managing fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms.
As per federal regulations, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug and illegal in any form. However, many states have allowed medical use of cannabis for patients suffering from certain conditions. According to the Farm Bill of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products (which contain less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal. However, for buying high-THC cannabis products, you require a doctor’s recommendation in a legalized state.
Marijuana For Fibromyalgia
To understand how does marijuana for managing symptoms of fibromyalgia works, it's important to learn about the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
What is the endocannabinoid system? The endocannabinoid system is a complex biological system, which is involved in different bodily processes. These include immune function, memory, mood, and sleep.
Ethan Russo M.D., Director of Research and Development of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute says that clinical endocannabinoid deficiency could be the reason behind the development of irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraine, and other treatment-resistant syndromes. Researchers have found that the deficit in endocannabinoids may lead to fibromyalgia. Now, the question is—whether increasing the cannabinoids in the body help manage symptoms? When cannabinoids are delivered into the body, they bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the ECS, thus changing various processes, thus managing fibromyalgia symptoms. In the marijuana plant, there exist more than 100 cannabinoids, the chemical compounds that possess amazing therapeutic properties. The two most important cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid, which is available in edibles, oils, and capsules. CBD doesn’t cause high sensations and is available in various forms—gels, gummies, supplements, oils, and extracts.
How does THC and CBD help in relieving pain?
Well, we have discussed it in our previous post—CBD Vs THC For Pain Management - How do They Differ?
What Studies Have to Say? A study published in 2010 evaluated the effects of nabilone. It’s a synthetic drug that delivers similar effects as marijuana. Researchers found that the drug helped fibromyalgia patients boost sleep.
According to a review published by the National Academies Press (NAP) in 2018, cannabis’ therapeutic effects help in treating chronic pain in adults. In a study published in 2011, fibromyalgia patients who used cannabis ranked its benefits in managing different symptoms. 43 percent of the participants reported strong pain relief while 43 percent of them reported mild pain relief. However, 7 percent of the participants said there was no difference in managing pain. Contrary to that, a study performed on 25 fibromyalgia patients evaluated the effects of four different marijuana varieties with each containing different levels of THC and CBD. Placebo was one of them. 44 percent of the participants said they experienced a 30 percent reduction in pain with the placebo treatment while 24 percent of them reported a 50 percent reduction in pain. The study concluded that as compared to placebo, cannabis didn’t provide a significant effect on pain management.
However, more clinical studies are required to evaluate how exactly cannabis works for fibromyalgia.
Are There Any Risks?
Marijuana use may lead to short-term risks such as: Mood swings Impaired memory Confusion
Some of the long-term side-effects of cannabis use are: Addiction Respiratory problems
Mental health conditions
It’s important to note that cannabis doesn’t deliver the same effects to everyone. Because everyone’s condition is different. Thus, before starting cannabis treatment, make sure you talk to a licensed doctor and get medical advice for what’s right for you.
Cannabis Vs Fibromyalgia Medications
When it comes to fibromyalgia treatment, the main goal is to manage pain and improve health. It can be accomplished by using medications. The commonly used medications for managing fibromyalgia symptoms are—pain relievers, antidepressants, and antiseizure drugs. But, these prescription medications have certain side-effects such as fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, constipation, etc. However, when using cannabis for treating fibromyalgia, it doesn’t cause such risks. Moreover, you should be careful with marijuana strains, consumption methods, and dosage for managing your symptoms effectively.
Other Natural Remedies For Managing Fibromyalgia Symptoms
There are various natural treatments that focus on reducing pain and stress levels. You can use them with marijuana but should take professional advice before doing so.
Here’re some natural remedies for fibromyalgia Acupuncture
If you want to manage stressful situations, you can use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It’s psychotherapy focused on teaching how exactly the thought processes work and the relationship between feelings, moods, and behaviors. CBT is proven beneficial for managing anxiety, depression, stress, sleep disorders, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you have a busy schedule and can’t visit a therapist, you can read a book on CBT online.
Medical marijuana provides lots of health benefits, ranging from anxiety relief, pain relief, etc. Its cannabinoids possess amazing therapeutic properties and can help relax the body and mind. Research says that the herb may be effective in alleviating the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Before starting cannabis treatment for fibromyalgia, make sure you check the local laws related to marijuana possession and consumption. For instance, hemp-derived CBD products that contain less than 0.3 percent THC are legal. If you want to use high-THC products, you require a doctor’s recommendation.
What are your favorite cannabis products? Have you ever used marijuana for managing fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.