Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood and frequently misdiagnosed situation that impacts practically five million Americans, according to estimates from the National Institutes of Well being. Its symptoms consist of headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and depression, which are frequently accompanied by deep tissue discomfort and muscle aches. In some people today, the situation can also influence their mental processing, obtaining a damaging influence on concentrate and memory. Fibromyalgia’s mixture of symptoms can be debilitating for several people today, and the couple of prescription drugs frequently prescribed to handle them are recognized to carry substantial side effects. 

In a quantity of states with health-related cannabis applications, medical doctors are permitted to advise the plant as an option therapy process. This has confirmed to be an appealing choice for several people today with fibromyalgia — according to a 2014 survey from the National Discomfort Foundation and National Discomfort Report, the majority of sufferers stated health-related cannabis was far more valuable for managing their symptoms than the 3 drugs (Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella) authorized by the Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) for fibromyalgia. Of the survey’s 1,300 respondents, 62 % stated health-related cannabis was “very effective” at relieving discomfort and other symptoms, compared to just eight % for Cymbalta, 10 % for Lyrica, and 10 % for Savella. 

Offered the increasing reputation of cannabis amongst people today with fibromyalgia, it is develop into a comparatively well-liked topic of scientific study in current years. Even though cannabis study in common is nevertheless heavily restricted, “legitimate” research like these investigating its prospective use for treating chronic discomfort have develop into far more feasible as legalization gains traction amongst each lawmakers and the common public. But several of these research have offered conflicting indications of cannabis’ prospective for managing fibromyalgia symptoms, which shows just how far scientists nevertheless have to go in understanding if (and how) the plant could be a genuine option to prescription drugs. 

What Science Can Inform Us About Cannabis and Fibromyalgia

Even though practically each scientific study on cannabis’ effects on fibromyalgia is rapid to mention 1) the scarcity of tough information on the topic, and two) the want for far more research (preferably larger, longer, far more human-oriented ones), the study so far has yielded a quantity of encouraging outcomes.

A single of the most current examples comes from a 2019 study by Israeli scientists who tracked the influence of health-related cannabis therapy on a group of practically 370 sufferers with fibromyalgia more than the course of six months. More than 70 % of the sufferers responded positively to the therapy. As a outcome, the scientists wrote in the Journal of Clinical Medicine that, “Medical cannabis seems to be a secure and productive option for the therapy of fibromyalgia symptoms,” even though they also noted “[standardization] of therapy compounds and regimens are needed.”

Also notable was a 2018 study published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, which examined a group of 26 sufferers (most of whom have been ladies in their late 30s). All the sufferers reported that health-related cannabis substantially decreased their fibromyalgia symptoms, and half of them have been capable to quit taking other prescription drugs totally, major the researchers to conclude, “[medical] cannabis therapy had a substantial favorable impact on sufferers with fibromyalgia, with couple of adverse effects.”

These findings aligned with these of prior research — for instance, in 2011 Spanish researchers writing in the journal PLOS A single identified that just two hours of cannabis use gave fibromyalgia sufferers a “statistically substantial … reduction of discomfort and stiffness, enhancement of relaxation, and an raise in somnolence and feeling of effectively getting.” 

Even so, other research have cast doubt on the genuine efficacy of cannabis when it comes to discomfort management, particularly for chronic circumstances like fibromyalgia. A 2018 study published in The Lancet public well being journal examined more than 1,500 people today suffering from chronic discomfort and showed “no proof that cannabis use decreased discomfort severity or interference.” And when German researchers reviewed the current literature on cannabis and rheumatic ailments (such as fibromyalgia) in 2016, they identified “insufficient proof for recommendation for any cannabinoid preparations for symptom management in sufferers with chronic discomfort related with rheumatic ailments.”

These conflicting messages have left several health-related pros with mixed feelings when it comes to treating fibromyalgia symptoms with cannabis. As Dr. William Martin, a UCLA rheumatologist, told MedPage Now, “I do have quite a few sufferers with fibromyalgia (and other musculoskeletal circumstances) who really feel marijuana goods support their discomfort (and also quite a few who do not really feel it aids substantially).”