Cannabis for fibromyalgia is a subject that continues to captivate the interest of researchers and patients alike. Fibromyalgia, often called FM, is a complex and debilitating medical condition that plagues countless individuals. This enigmatic disorder is characterized by pervasive pain and a host of other distressing symptoms that impact a person’s overall well-being.
In this blog, we will delve into the potential benefits of using cannabis for fibromyalgia, exploring how it may alleviate the symptoms and offer hope to those afflicted.
What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are both diverse and distressing. Since the precise cause of the pain is still a mystery, fibromyalgia is classified as a “nociplastic” pain condition, closely linked to the central nervous system. It’s believed that the endocannabinoid system, responsible for maintaining various bodily functions, might play a role in this disorder. The risk factors for fibromyalgia include a family history, obesity, repetitive injuries, and traumatic events. Notably, it is more prevalent in women than men.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia, as outlined by the CDC, are as follows:
- Pain and Stiffness All Over the Body: This is the hallmark of fibromyalgia, with widespread pain and muscle stiffness.
- Fatigue and Tiredness: Patients often experience extreme fatigue and a constant feeling of tiredness.
- Depression and Anxiety: Mental health is profoundly affected, with many individuals battling depression and anxiety.
- Sleep Disorders: Sleep is often elusive, and individuals may suffer from insomnia or other sleep disturbances.
- Problems with Thinking, Memory, and Concentration: Cognitive functions are compromised, leading to memory issues and difficulty concentrating.
- Headaches, Including Migraines: Headaches, especially migraines, are common among fibromyalgia patients.
Additional symptoms can include tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, facial or jaw disorders, digestive problems like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. The complexity and diversity of these symptoms make fibromyalgia a challenging condition to manage.
Cannabis for Fibromyalgia: The Role of the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a remarkable network that spans the whole body, including the central nervous system. It maintains homeostasis, regulates memory, sleep, and pain perception. Anandamide, an endocannabinoid produced naturally in the body, interacts with the ECS and is known for its role in pain relief and the “runner’s high.”
Studies have indicated that anandamide levels are altered in conditions such as fibromyalgia. A 2008 study observed increased anandamide levels in fibromyalgia patients, suggesting that it might be an endogenous mechanism to limit pain and cope with chronic stress. Furthermore, preclinical evidence shows that FAAH inhibitors, which increase endocannabinoid levels, could potentially help in cases of fibromyalgia.
Cannabis, particularly the cannabinoids it contains, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), interacts with the ECS. When these compounds activate cannabinoid receptors, they mimic the body’s natural endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-AG. This interaction can induce pain relief, euphoria, appetite stimulation, and reduced nausea and inflammation.
Can Marijuana Provide Relief from Fibromyalgia? Some Studies Show Its Promise
Pain management is critical to enhancing the quality of life for fibromyalgia patients. Medical cannabis is well-known for its analgesic potential, making it a promising avenue for managing the relentless pain associated with this condition.
A systematic review in 2022, spanning two decades of clinical cannabis and fibromyalgia research, highlighted the benefits of inhaled cannabis, describing it as the most beneficial in terms of pain relief, enhanced quality of life, and improved sleep.
One 2017 study published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research revealed the potential for cannabis in regulating neuropathic pain and addressing headache disorders. Headaches are a common and debilitating symptom of fibromyalgia. This study showed how cannabinoid receptor CB1 and THC could effectively regulate pain.
Furthermore, a study of nine California clinics found that medical marijuana was approved for 2.7% of cases based on patients’ reports of headaches and migraines as a reason for seeking a medical marijuana ID card. Another study documented a significant reduction in migraine frequency for 85.1% of patients who received cannabis for migraine treatment.
In 2018, the journal Pain reported that a randomized experimental study demonstrated the relief cannabis offered to 20 chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia. The study noted that cannabis varieties containing THC significantly increased pressure pain threshold compared to a placebo, indicating its effectiveness in alleviating pain.
A more recent open-label study involving 70 fibromyalgia patients found that medical cannabis therapy significantly reduced pain intensity at 1, 3, and 12 months, with at least a 30% improvement.
Talk to One of Our Providers About Using Cannabis for Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms
If you are considering cannabis for fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions, reach out to Pause Pain & Wellness. They have clinics across Mississippi, including Oxford, Meridian, Flowood/Jackson, Tupelo, Olive Branch, Starkville, Hattiesburg, and Gulfport, ready to assist you. Your journey toward relief and improved quality of life could begin with a simple call to 833-940-5060.