Fibromyalgia is a difficult to treat medical disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain. It is commonly accompanied with fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood problems. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies pain by affecting the way the brain processes brain signals, but the root cause of the disease is not known. Millions are affected by the illness and it impacts women greater than men.
Though some find mild relief with the three FDA prescribed drugs to treat fibromyalgia, a 2014 online survey of over 1,300 fibromyalgia patients conducted by the National Pain Foundation found that marijuana rated more effective for treating the illness than the FDA drugs.
Of those patients in the survey that had used marijuana, 62% said it was very effective, 33% said it helped a little, and 5% said it did not help at all. Of those surveyed that tried the FDA approved drugs to treat fibromyalgia, on average 65% found no relief at all from these drugs. At best, 35% of patients using FDA approved drugs for fibromyalgia gained any relief from them.
This and similar studies of sufferers show that the medicinal effects of marijuana used to treat symptoms of fibromyalgia are much greater than FDA approved drugs for the illness. In addition to providing pain relief for fibromyalgia patients, medical marijuana also treats other symptoms of the condition such as, insomnia, fatigue, restless legs syndrome, depression, and anxiety.
Some theorize that marijuana helps treat pain because it contains cannabinoids similar to those that already occur naturally in the body. And, because the body’s endocannabinoid system seems to play some role in the modulation of pain, the link seems causal. That is reason enough for continued investigative studies into the benefits of marijuana for fibromyalgia, further legitimizing the medical benefits of the herb. In the meantime, those with the illness who have access to medical marijuana, and are using MMJ, are finding relief for their symptoms.