HELP FOR FIBROMYALGIA
When nothing else works or they’ve had enough of the side effects of conventional medications, people with fibromyalgia are turning to medical cannabis to manage their condition.
Fibromyalgia causes widespread chronic pain.
About one million Canadians—2% to 3% of the population—suffer from fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system. The defining symptom is widespread pain, but it can also cause a range of symptoms such as fatigue, poor sleep, stiffness, depression, lack of concentration and memory, mood swings, gastrointestinal problems, and a heightened sensitivity to touch. It can significantly impact a person’s daily life.
The causes are not understood.
For many patients, the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. About a third of cases can be attributed to a stressful trigger, like a severe illness or traumatic experience. Another suggested cause is a deficiency in the body’s endocannabinoid system—a system of natural chemicals called endocannabinoids and their receptors that are located throughout the nervous system. The endocannabinoid system is involved in many processes, including pain sensation, inflammation, and mood.
Treatment aims to relieve symptoms.
Unfortunately there’s no cure, nor is there a gold standard of treatment for fibromyalgia. Managing the condition involves alleviating the most troublesome symptoms to improve quality of life. They may be treated with pain-relievers, anticonvulsants, or antidepressants. Some medications have limited positive effects or undesirable side effects, and can even worsen symptoms. For example, opioids (used for pain) may aggravate depression, sleep problems, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Medical cannabis is a safe, regulated option.
The active ingredients in the cannabis plant (THC and CBD) are similar to the cannabinoids our bodies naturally produce and supplement the endocannabinoid system. Clinical trials have suggested beneficial effects of cannabinoids in the management of fibromyalgia symptoms. A significant reduction of pain and stiffness, and improved sleep and feeling of well-being have been shown.
It’s the #1 prescribed use of CanniMed patients.
At CanniMed, a licensed producer of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis, fibromyalgia is the most common standalone condition that patients are using medical cannabis to treat—19% of their patients take it for fibromyalgia pain. Others with fibromyalgia use cannabis for a more restful sleep or to improve symptoms like anxiety, depression, and headaches. Talk to your doctor about whether cannabis is right for you. Look for a reputable licensed producer with an in-house pharmacist who can provide advice on dosing and which product is suitable for your symptoms.