Fibromyalgia affects as many as 4 million adults in America (2 percent of the adult population) and is a debilitating condition that can cause pain all over the body, as well as sleep problems, fatigue and, not surprisingly, often emotional and mental distress.
One theory is that people with fibromyalgia may have abnormal pain perception processing, making them more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia.
To date, fibromyalgia has been routinely managed with medication and self-management strategies, but there is an increasing interest in using cannabis to potentially get to the route of the problem in a more targeted way.
The results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in Pain Medicine in October 2020 were encouraging — in this study, a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-rich cannabis oil had the effect of improving symptoms and quality of life of fibromyalgia patients as measured with the standardised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ).
“Phytocannabinoids can be a low-cost and well-tolerated therapy to reduce symptoms and increase the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia,” the Brazilian authors of the study wrote, even suggesting that cannabinoid therapy could become an herbal/holistic choice of medicine for the treatment of fibromyalgia in Brazil’s public healthcare system.
It’s already well accepted that cannabinoids can have analgesic benefits, but studies suggest that cannabis might be a specifically good fit for pathological conditions in which there's an error in how people perceive/ modulate pain, which include migraine and irritable bowel syndrome as well as fibromyalgia.That's because it's believed that these conditions may be, "at least in part, related to the deregulation of the endocannabinoid system,” the authors of the Pain Medicine study noted.
However the researchers add that more investigation still needs to be done, particularly that future studies should assess long-term benefits, and that “studies with different varieties of cannabinoids associated with a washout period must be done to enhance our knowledge of cannabis action in this health condition.”