Daily tasks such as bathing, dressing or cooking can become exhausting for patients with fibromyalgia. In addition to being quite uncomfortable and evolving over time, this type of chronic pain commonly ends up causing other problems such as insomnia, intense fatigue and mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
The drugs commonly prescribed for the treatment of fibromyalgia (antidepressants, gabapentinoids, anxiolytics and muscle relaxants) often fall short in controlling this myriad of symptoms, and increasingly doctors and patients feel the need for new and more effective therapeutic alternatives.
Fortunately, scientific research on the use of medical cannabis in the treatment of fibromyalgia has brought increasingly promising results. Many of these studies prove significant relief from fibromyalgia pain, even in the most severe cases. Continue reading and keep updated on this context!
Symptoms and disorders resulting from fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia predominantly affects women. A Brazilian study shows that 3% of the women aged between 30 and 55 years suffer from this disease, which is characterized by the occurrence of generalized high-grade pain.
The level of pain perception increases over the years and, in some cases, the musculoskeletal discomfort is so great that it can become disabling.
Neuropsychiatric disorder is another complication of fibromyalgia, which arises associated with poor control of the disease. Over time, it is common for patients to develop sleep disorders, mood disorders, severe headaches, difficulty concentrating, among other symptoms that directly affect quality of life.
As it is a chronic disorder, the treatment basically consists of controlling episodes of pain and improving the quality of life of these people. In addition to pharmacological therapy, regular physical exercise, psychotherapy and acupuncture, are also highly recommended by doctors to treat fibromyalgia.
Cannabis and fibromyalgia: using the CBD and THC in the treatment
One of the most relevant scientific investigations on the relationship between medical Cannabis and fibromyalgia was developed by Brazilian researchers, at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC). Published in 2020, this research confirms evidence from previous studies and updates important data regarding the use of phytocannabinoids to relieve chronic fibromyalgia pain.
Among the results of the experiment, we highlight the reduction in disease severity from 75 to 30 points, on the scale of 0 to 100 points of the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) in patients who used Cannabis-based products for eight weeks.
In the placebo group, the reduction was only 70 to 61 points on the FIQ scale during the same time interval. In addition to the significant result in terms of decreasing the degree of the disease, the research also pointed out improvements in the features related to well-being, work ability and perception of pain.
THC and fibromyalgia
It is important to highlight that, in the research mentioned above, the THC was the main active principle of the experiment, confirming the therapeutic potential of this substance in specific contexts. In the cases evaluated, it was possible to obtain significant medicinal effects even with a low daily dose of THC, which consequently reduces the possibility of psychoactive effects.
Furthermore, as for the THC medical attributes, it is worth remembering that this phytocannabinoid has a unique therapeutic potential, even compared to CBD, in several clinical contexts, such as its ability to modulate the perception of painful stimuli in chronic pain conditions.
In addition, the substance is also potentially effective as a muscle relaxant, appetite stimulator and sleep inducer, which is very welcome in the treatment of other disorders that, as we said before, often arise from fibromyalgia.
CBD and fibromyalgia
Another research conducted by researchers from the Department of Anesthesiology of the School of Medicine of the University of Michigan showed that, of a group of 2,701 patients with fibromyalgia, 32% of them used CBD as a therapeutic agent to fight the chronic pain of the disease, anxiety and sleep disorders.
This article indicates that the use of CBD is common among people with fibromyalgia and the results infer that many patients benefit from the use of CBD in different aspects of the disease. The authors suggest that physicians should discuss the use of CBD with patients with fibromyalgia, and that further studies are needed to assess the therapeutic value of CBD more accurately for fibromyalgia symptoms.
For this reason, it is essential that doctors expand their therapeutic arsenal and seek for an appropriate training for the safe and effective prescription of cannabinoid derivatives. It is essential to have extensive knowledge about the profile of the prescribed products to develop assertive dosing strategies.
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Boehnke KF, Gagnier JJ, Matallana L, Williams DA. Cannabidiol Use for Fibromyalgia: Prevalence of Use and Perceptions of Effectiveness in a Large Online Survey. J Pain, 2021.
Chaves C, Bittencourt PCT, Pelegrini A. Ingestion of a THC-Rich Cannabis Oil in People with Fibromyalgia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.. Pain Med, 2020.