Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition with a spectrum of symptoms that include pervasive musculoskeletal pain accompanied with fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.
It’s believed to be caused when pain sensations are amplified through a disruption in the way that brain and central nervous system process pain and non pain signals.
Now a new study from Brazil has found that cannabis oil can be an effective treatment. The study, “Ingestion of THC-rich cannabis oil in people with fibromyalgia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial,” was published in the journal Pain Medicine.
Researchers used a randomized control trial study design—considered a gold standard— in 17 patients with fibromyalgia who lived in an economically deprived neighborhood with a high incidence of violent crime (relevant because stress and anxiety can amplify fibromyalgia symptoms).
At the start of the study, participants were randomly assigned either cannabis oil, containing the active ingredients cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), or a placebo (olive oil) for internal consumption. Instructions were to consume was one drop (0.02 mg of CBD and 1.2 mg of THC) sublingually. Participants progress was measured over eight weeks with the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), a validated self-administered test that evaluates physical and mental symptoms.
Pre-intervention, there were no significant differences between groups on FIQ mean scores. However, after eight weeks, the cannabis group presented a statistically lower total score compared with the placebo group.
Overall, those who took the cannabis oil ultimately had higher well-being and more energy for day to say activities, as well as a reduction in pain attacks .
The ramifications of this study are limited by the small number of participants, but nevertheless the researchers conclude that “phytocannabinoids can be a low-cost and well-tolerated therapy to reduce symptoms and increase the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia”. They say future studies are warranted to assess long-term benefits, and studies with different varieties of cannabinoids should be done to enhance knowledge of cannabis in this health condition.