Is Cannabis an Option for Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is notorious for its widespread muscle pain and tenderness, along with fatigue and cognitive issues. It’s a chronic medical condition, and doctors aren’t yet certain about its cause. Even worse, there is no cure, and symptoms can be so debilitating they affect a person’s ability to function at home and at work. For many, fibromyalgia is largely misunderstood, which can create additional issues including depression and anxiety. Clearly, finding treatment is a priority for anyone living with this condition. And with cannabis increasingly accessible in legal markets across the US, people want to know — is cannabis an option for symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Current Treatments

As it stands, a mix of medications (typically pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs), therapies (physical, occupational, and counseling), and lifestyle modifications (reducing stress, prioritizing sleep, quality nutrition, and regular exercise) are currently used to treat fibromyalgia. And while research is limited, there is evidence that cannabis may be another option for treating symptoms of pain and sleeplessness.

  • A 2011 study examined 28 participants who treated their fibromyalgia symptoms with cannabis and assessed the effects, concluding, “The use of cannabis was associated with beneficial effects on some FM symptoms.” The study also noted that 81% of participants found strong relief for their sleep issues. Findings included an appeal for further studies.
  • National Academies Press (NAP): This comprehensive review looked at the therapeutic effects of cannabis based on multiple studies and concluded, “There is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.”

Can Cannabis Help?

Clearly, there is a great need for clinical studies to parse the efficacy of cannabis for symptoms of fibromyalgia. Still, the limited evidence we do have may be enough for people who are seeking treatment options. The best place to begin is by starting a frank conversation with your doctor. And be clear that cannabis should only be purchased in licensed dispensaries, in states with legal medical and recreational markets. An experienced budtender can also be a valuable resource. He or she can advise you on consumption methods and products to address specific symptoms, including muscle pain and fatigue.

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