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The Medical Benefits of Using Cannabis To Treat Fibromyalgia

The Medical Benefits of Using Cannabis To Treat Fibromyalgia

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 11/08/2016 in Medical Marijuana Conditions

Many have heard the term Fibromyalgia, but unless you know someone who has this painful and debilitating condition, or have personally been dealt the “Fibro” card in life, it may be difficult to relate to a condition that people suffer from without a basic understanding of the illness.  A basic definition of Fibromyalgia will follow in short order.  Medical marijuana has been shown to be an effective treatment for patients suffering Fibromyalgia.  Cannabis has some definite pros and cons that it is best to understand, before going to see a marijuana doctor for a recommendation to become a legal state-qualified medical marijuana patient.

An important point to note is that marijuana doctors are not allowed to prescribe marijuana — if a physician were to ‘prescribe’ cannabis, that physician would be placing himself/herself in jeopardy of losing his/her medical license as a result of the federal schedule I status of the drug (even in states where cannabis has been made legal for medical or recreational purposes). The wording and language used to define the legal state’s laws, is written in such a way as to allow physicians to certify or recommend cannabis to patients, without having to jeopardize medical licensure.

So let’s dig in and take a deeper look at what Fibromyalgia means, who suffers from it, and how the therapeutic use of cannabis may benefit patients suffering Fibromyalgia.

The Mayo Clinic says, “Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.”  It is believed that Fibro changes the way the human brain interprets pain signals.  The initial precipitating trigger for the condition is not known.  WebMD has an interesting article highlighting expert opinions on both sides of the argument.  Donald Abrams, MD, for instance, says, “Marijuana has been a medicine for 5,000 years.  That’s a lot longer than it hasn’t been a medicine.”  He also says, “the war on drugs is really a war on patients”.  Cannabinoids are discussed albeit briefly, in relation to how cannabinoid compounds are thought to have medicinal properties and are being researched for such.  Delta-9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is probably the most famous cannabinoid that many have heard of, but there are many others in the cannabis plant in excess of 60 compounds.  Some of the other cannabinoid molecules found in marijuana include CBD (Cannabidiol), CBG (Cannabigerol), CBN (Cannabinol), and many more.

CBN for instance tends to induce sleep, making it an effective medicine for patients with Fibromyalgia who may desperately need sleep, but suffer insomnia —such patients may benefit from the therapeutic use of cannabis strains that have higher potencies of CBN.  On the other hand, a Fibromyalgia patient who deals with a lot of pain might not receive as much benefit from Sativa strains high in THC, that lead to higher levels of energy.  Dr. Abrams mentioned a study reported on in the Journal of Neurology from 2007, stating that researchers, “did a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial that demonstrated that smoked cannabis was effective….the drug was quite comparable to the best available treatment we currently have for painful neuropathy.”

Unfortunately not all doctors are on the same page yet, in terms of the potential benefits of medical marijuana for treating Fibromyalgia.  Charles Chabal, M.D., says “I see no role for it in pain management.” An interesting opinion given that the number one reason cannabis is sought out by patients, is primarily for the treatment of chronic pain.

In February 2008, a Canadian study of 40 Fibromyalgia patients mentioned that Nabilone (aka Cesamet), a more recently approved cannabinoid drug, greatly reduced pain and anxiety.  In addition, a 2011 study in Spain (Cannabis Use in Patients with Fibromyalgia: Effect on Symptoms Relief and Health-Related Quality of Life) followed 28 patients with Fibromyalgia who received cannabis via smoking plant material, oral dosage, or a combination of the two.  The results of the study were promising showing that patients did receive benefit from medical cannabis for some Fibro symptoms, and alluded that further investigation was warranted to determine the pathophysiology of the disease and its involvement with the endocannabinoid endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS).

While federal restrictions limit the research and study of marijuana’s medical benefits for treating Fibromyalgia, there is considerable anecdotal evidence to suggest that certain strains of cannabis work especially well at easing the symptoms of this disease. According to  The Weed Blog the top 7 cannabis strains for treating Fibromyalgia include:

  • AK Berry  — a sativa dominant hybrid strain effective at treating stress, tension, and daytime pain with an additional boost of stimulating energy
  • Black Jack — a sativa dominant hybrid strain effective at treating depression and nausea
  • Blue Dream — a sativa dominant hybrid strain effective at treating daytime pain, and muscle relaxation
  • Chem 4 — an indica dominant hybrid strain effective at treating severe pain
  • Grape Ape — an indica strain effective at treating chronic pain, muscle spasm, and anxiety-related disorders
  • Permafrost — a sativa dominant hybrid strain effective at treating stress and anxiety, and rejuvenating energy
  • Silver Pear — a sativa strain effective at treating migraines, and stimulating energy

To learn more about which strains most effectively treat the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, sign up to the (MD) newsletter for free monthly updates on the results as they pertain to the crowd sourcing cannabis peer review study now being conducted nationwide. The study’s initial findings have already produced some interesting results in the category of chronic pain.

The study is open to all patients using marijuana as a medicine, and is being conducted in efforts to gather the data necessary to refute the DEA’s claims that there is insufficient data to show marijuana has any medical merit — the reason, they claim, why the DEA again rejected both petitions to reschedule cannabis, in August 2016.

If you are a patient using marijuana as a medicine to treat Fibromyalgia and would like to join the study to take a stand for all patients suffering the debilitating effects of this disease, all you need to do is register on MD for instant free access to the “Symptom Tracker” app, being used to collect patient’s cannabis titration data. The more patients monitor their marijuana needs in real-time, the more data the study will be able to aggregate daily — data that will ultimately allow patients worldwide to benefit from understanding how marijuana can most effectively be used to medically relieve the symptoms of their condition, thereby improving the patients overall quality of life. Don’t delay register today, by visiting online or via our mobile site and mobile app too — help prove that marijuana is medicine, for the sake of Fibromyalgia patients worldwide.

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