Medical cannabis is legal in more than half the U.S. Research about its benefits for fibromyalgia pain is growing nearly as well as the popular plants. Cannabis has over 500 naturally occurring compounds with wellness advantages. Many are aware of CBD and THC, but those are two of over 140 phytocannabinoids. The plant also contains between 100 and 200 terpenes with unique medicinal properties, flavonoids, and many beneficial nutrients.
What Does the Medical Community Say About Fibromyalgia and Cannabis?
Fibromyalgia affects 5-7% of the world’s population. It causes widespread pain and fatigue, has no current cure, and few treatments outside pain medications. Israel provides some of the most advanced knowledge medical researchers have regarding medical cannabis. A clinical trial in 2018 found extremely favorable outcomes with the right formulations for patients. One individual exclaimed,
“I returned to be the same person I was before.”
And another added, “This is a miraculous treatment.”
The study involved 26 patients at two hospitals in Israel. Each participant saw improvement, and 50% stopped taking other fibromyalgia pain medications. In addition, only 30% experienced mild side effects from medical cannabis.
Cannabinoids & Chronic Pain
A review of fibromyalgia pain studies and cannabinoids from 2015 to 2019 found significant potential for medical cannabis and chronic pain. The journal went over five reports covering 827 participants with six different treatments for fibromyalgia. It found the most effective relief came from inhalation via smoking or vaping, oral administration, and transdermal. Side effects of smoking included respiratory irritation.
The study’s conclusion is significant.
“The authors of the selected studies collectively suggest that medical cannabis is a safe and effective treatment option for patients with fibromyalgia, with reports of significant improvements in pain intensity/severity, sleep quality, level of depression, level of and overall quality of life.”
What Symptoms Can Medical Cannabis Reduce?
A 2019 study in the Journal of Clinical Medicine breaks down the potential symptom-by-symptom benefits for medical cannabis and fibromyalgia.
- Reduced pain intensity
- Improved quality of life
- Reduced use of opioids
- Reduced or stopped benzodiazepines
These results matched other studies over the past few years. The authors concluded,
“. . .present observational study innovates by showing that medical cannabis may be an effective and safe treatment to fibromyalgia in a large cohort with six months follow up. Our data indicate that medical cannabis could be a promising therapeutic option for the treatment of fibromyalgia, especially for those who failed on standard pharmacological therapies.”
State medical cannabis programs have found enough evidence of the plant’s ability to relieve chronic fibromyalgia pain to approve its use. In addition, the all-natural relief may reduce opioid dependence or lower doses, lessening the patient’s risk of an accidental overdose. Physicians and cannabinoid experts also prefer individuals have access to pain solutions with few side effects. Medical cannabis meets these requirements, proving it’s a safer option than many narcotics available for prescription. However, further studies on formulations and interactions with other medications are necessary.