Medical cannabis could give hope to the millions of people around the world who suffer from fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic, uncured disease that, among its many symptoms, involves widespread pain in the muscles and bones. The effects can be uncomfortable or debilitating. The symptoms of the disease are sometimes treated with opioid-based medications that add to your own problems.
Everywhere between 2 – 5% of the population suffers from fibromyalgia, which means that it is a significant health problem. It also has significant economic implications, with a study published in 2015 estimating the average annual cost per patient in the US at $ 2,274 to $ 9,573.
There is a growing interest in the use of medicinal cannabis as a potential treatment, especially in view of cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), which has anti-inflammatory properties.
While there is a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence that cannabis can be useful, there are few scientific studies.
A recent study conducted with a small group of fibromyalgia patients in Israel helps build knowledge.
In the study, all 26 patients reported significant improvement in all areas treated in the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, a commonly used tool in patient assessment. In addition, half of these patients were able to discontinue their other medications. Only 30% of patients experienced adverse reactions that were mild in all cases.
There are many more studies on the potential benefits of using medical cannabis in the treatment of fibromyalgia. In December 2016, we reported that the Canadian Arthritis Society had received a research grant using oral cannabinoids to treat the disease. The results of the study do not seem to have been published yet, and it is not clear if it has even started.
In 2014, an online survey of more than 1,300 fibromyalgia patients conducted by the National Pain Foundation and National Pain Report found sixty-two percent who have tried cannabis has reported that it is very effective in treating their fibromyalgia symptoms. The report found cannabis to be more effective than any of the three prescription drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of fibromyalgia.