Updated on January 30, 2019.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
If you have fibromyalgia, you’re well acquainted with pain. This condition is characterized by the pain it produces. Doctors aren’t sure what causes fibromyalgia, but they think it may be associated with the way our brain perceives stimuli. The brain’s pain receptors develop a “memory,” making them hypersensitive to stimuli, perceiving pain where there is none.
The goal of fibromyalgia treatments is to help patients live normal lives. But traditional medications often fail them because they don’t treat all their symptoms. Although marijuana isn’t a cure for this condition, it addresses many of the symptoms associated with it, allowing patients to live fuller lives.
If you’re ready to try medical marijuana as a treatment for your fibromyalgia, you probably have a lot of questions. Many patients wonder what the best method to use cannabis medications is. Although you should discuss this matter with your marijuana doctor, here are some tips to help you make that decision.
Using Medical Marijuana for Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Cannabis isn’t a cure for fibromyalgia. However, patients struggling with the debilitating symptoms associated with the condition often find relief by using pot. Depending on the symptoms you’re experiencing at any given time, medical marijuana strains can target these and bring relief.
- Pain. This is the most common side effect of fibromyalgia. In a recent study, it was found that medical marijuana helped fibromyalgia-related pain in 62% of patients. Another 33% found some relief, and only 5% said it brought no relief at all.
More experts believe the pain associated with conditions like fibromyalgia is caused by issues in our endocannabinoid system. This system includes cannabinoid receptors throughout our bodies that act as a bridge between mind and body. When patients use cannabis, natural cannabinoids found in the plant mimic our cannabinoids, which could be why weed is such an effective pain reliever.
- Sleep. Cannabis is well-known as a sleep aid. Indica strains or indicia-dominant hybrids create feelings of peace and allow patients to drift into a deep slumber. This effect, combined with cannabis’ ability to fight pain, allows fibromyalgia patients to get the rest they need.
- Muscle Spasms. Marijuana’s antispasmodic properties are important for patients who experience uncomfortable spasms in their muscles. Be sure to look for products containing both CBD and THC.
- Depression. Because of the chronic nature of fibromyalgia, depression is a common side effect in patients. Medical marijuana contains cannabinoids that are known to lift the user’s spirit and give patients the energy they need to live their lives.
Best Cannabis Delivery Methods
Finding a delivery method for your medical marijuana is almost entirely about personal preference. Each method has its benefits and downsides. They also vary in how quickly the marijuana takes effect and how long those effects last. The most popular methods include:
- Smoking. Smoking marijuana brings almost instantaneous relief. If you’re in pain and need the product to work quickly, this may be a good mode to try. However, smoking can harm your lungs, so you may want to vary between this method and another. Also, it can make you smell like pot.
- Vaporization. Vaporization has a fast-acting effect, like smoking, but without the danger to your lungs and the strong odor. It has a lower burn point, which allows you to get the product’s effects without combusting the herb. The only downsides are the vaporization accessories — they cost more and can also take some time to warm up.
- Edibles. The variety of edible products is fantastically broad, ranging from gummies to teas to brownies. Because you can use cannabis oil in almost anything, there’s a huge range of options. Although edibles can take up to 30 minutes to take effect, the relief often lasts longer. Many patients use edibles at night so they can have an undisturbed sleep free from pain.
- Topicals. This method of delivery is an excellent option for fibromyalgia patients. Creams or patches are applied where you need relief, allowing the medication to seep in through the skin directly into problem areas. It treats the pain without the high.
To find the best mode for your condition or symptoms, talk with your doctor and experiment. You may even find one method works better for the day, while another is more effective at night.
Information on Medical Marijuana & Fibromyalgia