This information will help those wanting to learn more about marijuana and fibromyalgia. It will be a good way to determine if it’s a treatment option for you or a loved one.
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating disorder that is difficult to treat. With no set cure for the condition and few effective treatments, it’s no surprise patients turn to medical marijuana. Any fibromyalgia patients will tell you how devastating it can be and how it can impact a happy life. Simple chores like laundry or making kids breakfast can be draining, let alone actually getting out of bed.
The winter is in full effect for those in Canada and it seems like the days are just getting hard for chronic pain sufferers. With no cure, fibro patients have been using heavy medications, exercise, acupuncture, and behavioural therapy can help relieve symptoms. But there is a better option! Marijuana.
So, What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. The pain comes and goes. Some patients experience pain that migrates or moves around the body. Some believe there are connections to the nervous system, gastro system and possible connection to brain activity.
Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that is not widely understood. Researchers believe pain may be caused by hypersensitivity to stimuli that, under normal circumstances, would not be painful. In other words, the condition occurs when the body doesn’t process pain normally. It affects an estimated five million American adults. And commonly found in women.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
Dr. Oz episode discussing fibromyalgia and pain.
The biggest issue with Fibromyalgia is no one really knows much about it. Including the root of the issue. Some options could be an event emotional or physical, injury, rheumatoid arthritis, central nervous system problems or gene regulation in pain. Fibromyalgia may also be hereditary. Females who have a close relative with fibromyalgia have a higher risk of experiencing it themselves.
Dr. Ethan Russo, a prominent neurologist and pharmacologist who has dedicated much of his professional career studying cannabis and the endocannabinoid system, theorized that fibromyalgia could be related to Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD).
Why Marijuana Is Effective in Treating Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a difficult condition to live with but marijuana is becoming a positive option for pain relief.
Marijuana is known for relieving pain, which lines up perfectly with the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. Traditional pain relievers and other medications prescribed to treat the condition often come up short. Not to mention the terrible side effects. For this reason, many patients with the condition turn to the pain-relieving properties of marijuana for fibromyalgia. In the National Pain Foundation survey, 62 percent of participants who had tried marijuana said it was very effective in treating their symptoms and another 33 percent found some relief. On the other hand, only five percent of people who tried it said it provided no relief.
To understand how weed works to relieve pain, it’s important to understand the body’s endocannabinoid system. The system aids in communicating messages throughout the body. Endocannabinoids tell cells what to do by attaching to receptors in the cells, effectively connecting the brain and various areas of the body. Disruptions in that system can cause pain, sleep issues to name a few.
The THC in marijuana may fill in for your natural endocannabinoid. In addition, this can decrease hypersensitivity to pain, which makes patients with fibromyalgia feel less pain. Medical cannabis for fibromyalgia may also help with other issues, such as insomnia and nausea, providing relief for patients who also suffer from those symptoms. While marijuana can’t cure fibromyalgia, it may be effective in relieving the symptoms, so you can live a more normal life.
In contrast, these results to FDA-approved medications where only a mere 8 – 10% reported Cymbalta, Lyrica, or Savella as “very effective”. And 60 – 68% responded to those drugs stating “it did not help at all.”
Treating Fibromyalgia With Marijuana
Just like finding the best traditional treatments, finding the ideal marijuana strain often comes down to experimenting. You may find that certain strains work during the daytime, while others are better at night. Don’t assume that marijuana doesn’t work on your fibromyalgia after one attempt.
Your method of taking marijuana is a matter of personal preference. Smoking marijuana makes the effects happen almost immediately. When you’re feeling the intense pain of fibromyalgia, that fast relief is often a high priority. If you don’t want the potential side effects of smoking marijuana, vaporizing is another option that uses a lower heat point than smoking. Vaping also provides almost instant relief but with less impact on your lungs.
Edibles come in a variety of options, from cookies and ice cream to crackers and nut mixes. Edibles take a lot longer to kick in – anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. The effects typically last longer, though. For this reason, some people prefer to use edibles at night to ensure the pain relief lasts longer through the night.
Also, another option that works for treating fibromyalgia is a topical application. You get the pain-relieving effects of the marijuana without the high. Lotions and oils also let you control application to specific areas of the body where you need the relief most.
Nevertheless, experimenting with strains and with application methods helps you find a treatment routine that is most effective. You can smoke in the morning, vape in the afternoon and have an edible dinner. Mix and match and find which best suits you.
Bonus Strains That Will Benefit Fibro Patients
With the painkilling power of THC and CBD combined, this Sativa is the perfect way to start your day. If you’re sensitive to THC, you’re in luck: Harlequin’s high-CBD content helps curb the psychoactive and anxious side effects of THC. This letting you go about your day without that dizzying euphoria that some find distracting or unpleasant. Most Fibromyalgia suffers can struggle in the morning between the pain and the IBS. This strain will be perfect to kick start the gastro system and help the inflammation of the bowels.
Content: THC: 4-10%, CBD: 8-16%
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are multifaceted, but thankfully, so are the effects of Bubba Kush. Muscles relax. Eyelids heavy. The mind goes from a running pace to walking. Bubba Kush has a sweet, earthy coffee aroma with subtle woody notes that will keep you coming back for more even after your symptoms subside. Also, its perfect for those suffering from no sleep due to restless legs, back pain or sleep disorders.
Content: THC: 14-22%, CBD: 0.06-1%
**Kannabis Kween Tip: If these strains are not available, any “pink strain” is great for pain treatment.
The Future Looks Good
There isn’t a lot of research on cannabis as a treatment for fibromyalgia, but clinical studies using synthesized THC for symptom management shows promising results.
Given the widespread frustration, patients have with available treatments, it becomes a devastating nature of fibromyalgia patients to suffer. It’s hard to find a morally defensible reason to deprive patients of the right to not only alleviate their suffering but find a new release on life. As a result, marijuana and its compounds can benefit the future for fibromyalgia patients. Everyone’s body is different, so the key is to try different strains and products to see what works best for you.
Have you used cannabis to treat fibromyalgia? If so, share your experience with us in the comments section.