Fibromyalgia remains to this day one of the most complex pain syndromes in the medical community. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is widely debatable, and there is no known cure for the condition.
For those living with fibromyalgia, even the smallest of tasks can prove to be debilitating from one day to the next. Pain is often widespread with varying degrees of severity that can change from day to day.
Fibromyalgia affects the soft tissues of the body and can have a negative effect on range of motion as well as quality of sleep and mood. The reason why fibromyalgia presents itself in some and not in others is still unknown.
Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include still or sore muscles, tender and painful joints, headaches, anxiety related to pain and fatigue.
One of the more frustrating aspects patients find with fibromyalgia is the fact that despite the obvious symptoms of constant widespread pain, there is often no evidence of injury under an X-ray or MRI. This makes the process of coming to the diagnosis of fibromyalgia a lengthy one, as patients are usually sent for a number of tests to first rule out any possible injury that can be detected using diagnostic equipment and through running tests.
The treatments available for fibromyalgia range from physiotherapy and prescription medications to procedures done by specialists in a controlled medical setting. While the treatments are readily available to fibromyalgia patients, the success rate for these treatments varies.
There is some evidence that medicinal cannabis may hold potential benefits to fibromyalgia patients, specifically in the form of pain reduction.
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal was done on the effects cannabis has on those living with nerve pain, such as in the case of fibromyalgia. In the study, participants who suffered from neuropathic pain were selected and were administered different levels of THC to inhale 3 times a day over a 2 week period. Changes in mood, pain, sleep and overall quality of life were recorded including any adverse effects. The study concluded that the participants experienced a decrease in pain and improved quality of sleep when they received the higher level of THC three times a day for 5 days. Although the study focused on a small group of participants with pain, the results were still promising.
This study however, did not identify the long term effects of cannabis on neuropathic pain. More research is still needed to conclude the effects of cannabis on fibromyalgia and on neuropathic pain.
If you feel that you would benefit from medicinal cannabis, speak with your primary care physician to determine if you can safely use medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis is not suited for everyone. Always consult with your primary care provider before implementing a new medication or treatment.