Cannabis: The Potential to Alleviate Fibromyalgia Symptoms Better Than Prescriptions

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  • Updated 439 days ago
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Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions in the world; it is a neurological condition that causes widespread body pain and many other seemingly unrelated symptoms.

Living with fibromyalgia can be incredibly difficult. Since pain medications are generally ineffective, doctors commonly prescribe anti-depressant and anticonvulsant medications shown to help regulate pain signals. Unfortunately, many people find these medications ineffective or can't tolerate the side effects.

The pain is so debilitating that many people living with fibromyalgia are eager or even desperate to find an alternative—for this reason, many have turned to cannabis.

Current research suggests that cannabis (marijuana and hemp) could be more effective for fibromyalgia symptoms than prescription medications, with significantly less risk.

The Therapeutic Potential of Cannabis

To appreciate the therapeutic potential of cannabis, it may be helpful to understand how plant-based cannabinoids support the largest regulatory system in your body, your endocannabinoid system.

Your endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors and neurotransmitters that regulate every essential function in your body, from pain perception to sleep cycles. The messengers (cannabinoids) relay essential information to key receptors to initiate a response from your brain. Ideally, your body would synthesize all the messengers needed to keep communication flowing smoothly, but injury, illness, and stress can increase the demand.

The interaction between the endocannabinoid system messengers and receptors is so essential to your survival that many researchers believe endocannabinoid deficiencies cause disease. The plant-based cannabinoids in cannabis mimic the effects of the cannabinoids made in your body (endocannabinoids) and help keep essential processes functioning efficiently.

Supporting Endocannabinoid System Functions

The concept of endocannabinoid deficiencies was first proposed in 2001. Cannabis researcher, Dr Ethan Russo, discovered that patients diagnosed with particular medical conditions had lower endocannabinoid levels than healthy individuals. In 2004, Dr Russo presented three compelling examples of conditions believed to be caused by endocannabinoid deficiencies, IBS, migraine, and fibromyalgia.

Researchers supporting the concept of endocannabinoid deficiencies believe cannabis to be the better treatment option because it supports endocannabinoid system function. Since the concept was first introduced, numerous studies and user testimonials suggest cannabis is a valid alternative. Consider the following examples:

  • In Israel, fibromyalgia patients reported significant improvement in their symptoms. Half of the study participants were able to discontinue other medications.
  • A 2011 study noted 81 percent of participants reported improved sleep, reduced pain and stiffness, and increased feelings of overall wellbeing.
  • Research shows that CBD, one of more than 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, has analgesic, anxiolytic, anti-spasmodic, and anti-emetic properties. Many patients find these properties beneficial for numerous fibromyalgia symptoms.

Choosing the Plant That's Right for You

Most of the research on the therapeutic potential of cannabis focuses on two main cannabinoids, CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD is non-intoxicating. THC causes the type of intoxication marijuana is known for.

Marijuana is high in THC and contains varying amounts of CBD. Full-spectrum hemp products contain large quantities of CBD and trace amounts of THC (0.3 percent or less), not enough to cause intoxication.

While THC-free pure CBD (CBD isolate) may be ideal for anyone wanting to avoid THC, many cannabis users believe full-spectrum hemp oil and medical marijuana the more potent options because of a little-known phenomenon called the entourage effect. It's the entourage effect that explains how individual components of cannabis plants magnify and multiply the impact of the others.

Whether you choose full-spectrum hemp oil, medical marijuana, or products made with hemp-derived CBD isolate, research suggests that cannabis could be more effective than prescription medications because it has the potential to address multiple symptoms in addition to pain relief. If you have a medical condition or take medication, please consult with your physician before using a cannabis product. CBD and THC can interact with several medications.

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