Fibromyalgia is a common musculoskeletal condition. Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain, stiffness and fatigue. What exactly causes the symptoms of fibromyalgia is unknown. Usually nothing that is found in the bodies of patients explains the condition. Fibromyalgia is therefore very difficult to diagnose. The treatment of fibromyalgia is also difficult, there are no drugs for fibromyalgia that universally work. In this article, we review two studies that examined the effectiveness of cannabinoids.
172 patients were examined in a study by Weber and colleagues. This group consisted mainly of patients with neuropathic pain, as well as 29 patients that suffer from fibromyalgia . About a quarter of the patients in this study prematurely dropped out for various reasons, including their perception that the treatment wasn’t working. The vast majority of patients who completed treatment (92%) reported a significant improvement in the intensity of their pain, an improvement in mood and quality of life, and a reduction in their use of opioid medication (if applicable).
In a study of Fitz and colleagues two groups of fibromyalgia patients were compared: 28 of them used cannabis, 28 didn’t . On other accounts, the two groups were similar to each other. The subjects used cannabis orally, by smoking it, or a combination of both methods. Patients administered cannabis to themselves. Before and two hours after they had taken cannabis, they completed a questionnaire about symptoms they experienced. Those who had taken cannabis experienced significant improvements in pain, stiffness, relaxation, well-being and drowsiness.
Advice for using cannabinoids against fibromyalgia
That cannabinoids may be effective against pain in general is well known by now. The scientific literature with respect to fibromyalgia is somewhat more limited, but a similar effect is observed. THC seems to be the most important cannabinoid here, but also some other cannabinoids (such as CBD) work against pain. In addition, we also know that CBD can counteract some of the undesirable effects of THC. A combination of THC and CBD (or, preferably, an extract of the whole plant) therefore appears to be most recommended against fibromyalgia. Click here to read more about safe use of cannabinoids.
- Janet Weber, Marcus Schley, Matthias Casutt, et al., “Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9-THC) Treatment in Chronic Central Neuropathic Pain and Fibromyalgia Patients: Results of a Multicenter Survey,” Anesthesiology Research and Practice, vol. 2009, Article ID 827290, 9 pages, 2009. doi:10.1155/2009/827290
- Fiz, J., Duran, M., Capella, D., Carbonell, J., Farré, M. (2011). Cannabis use in patients with fibromyalgia: effect on symptoms relief and health-related quality of life. PLoS One, 6(4): e18440.