What does the latest research say about fibromyalgia and cannabis?

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How many people in the United States live with fibromyalgia? It might be surprising to find out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports it’s roughly 4 million U.S. adults who have this chronic medical condition.

Fibromyalgia consists of widespread, severe and frequently overwhelming musculoskeletal pain. Traditional fibromyalgia treatment methods currently exist and are used to help combat the pain and other uncomfortable symptoms associated with the condition, but cannabis as an alternative medicine is gaining traction.

Fibromyalgia: A day in the life

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain syndromes, with intense musculoskeletal pain being a common symptom. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia causes more than pain.

This chronic condition can result in sleep issues or sleep disorders, fatigue and lethargy and even emotional or mental distress. Beyond these issues, other common fibromyalgia symptoms include headaches and migraines, depression and anxiety, memory and concentration issues, and overall body stiffness. Additionally, fibromyalgia often wreaks havoc on an individual’s quality of life and overall well-being.

Cannabis may offer a light at the end of the tunnel for fibromyalgia patients, especially with respect to its analgesic properties.

Pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) pain-relievers are typically used to help manage fibromyalgia, but emerging medical evidence shows cannabinoids such as CBD and THC are now being considered more often.

The evolving relationship between fibromyalgia and cannabis

Cannabinoids can act as analgesics, as indicated by recent research findings that support cannabinoids as a fibromyalgia pain-reliever.

For example, one 2020 randomized controlled trial was conducted to understand how THC-rich whole cannabis plant oil can help fibromyalgia patients to treat their symptoms and improve their quality of life. It was concluded that phytocannabinoids can serve as an affordable yet well-tolerated therapy for fibromyalgia symptom relief and quality of life improvements.

The researchers further suggested the cannabinoid therapy method could become an herbal/holistic choice of medicine for treating fibromyalgia as part of Brazil’s public healthcare system.

The significance of the endocannabinoid system

Regardless of the latest findings, more studies are needed to better understand phytocannabinoids and fibromyalgia. Additional study related to the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and endocannabinoid system deregulations and deficiencies is also in order.

Researchers from the 2020 controlled trial said of the ECS and medical conditions such as fibromyalgia: “Some studies suggest that pathological conditions in pain modulation such as fibromyalgia, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome, among others, may be, at least in part, related to the deregulation of the endocannabinoid system.”

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