Updated: Nov 20
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A 2023 study entitled "Cannabis for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review" that was published in the journal Biomedicines included four randomized controlled trials and five observational studies involving a total of 564 participants. It investigated the effects of cannabis on fibromyalgia symptoms.
Cannabis for Fibromyalgia Study
The study defined fibromyalgia as "a common and often debilitating disease syndrome characterized by chronic pain." It reported that fibromyalgia symptoms involve fatigue, impaired sleep, and psychiatric comorbidities and that the syndrome affects between two and eight percent of the population. Most fibromyalgia patients are women.
"Fibromyalgia is a clinical diagnosis based on defined criteria including widespread pain, chronicity of symptoms, and lack of an alternative explanation for symptoms."
"Fibromyalgia is a clinical diagnosis based on defined criteria including widespread pain, chronicity of symptoms, and lack of an alternative explanation for symptoms," explained the study's authors. The pain element of fibromyalgia is believed to be due to problems in the pain processing mechanisms of the central nervous system.
The researchers reported that conventional treatments involve antidepressant and neuropathic medication, exercise therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy—but that these approaches are limited. Fibromyalgia patients, declared the study, "face a difficult prognosis with limited treatment options," in addition to "diminished quality of life."
Cannabis for Fibromyalgia Study Results
Cannabis for Fibromyalgia Study. The researchers reviewed nine studies involving 564 participants. The data gathered did not support the ability of cannabis to reduce pain in fibromyalgia patients. However, the prior studies did present evidence in support of the ability of cannabis to produce positive improvement for overall quality of life, including sleep quality, mood, libido, and appetite.
CBD & THC for Fibromyalgia
However, the study's authors noted that these improvements "were largely inconsistent across studies." Some studies indicated that administration of THC resulted in pain reduction and improvements in appetite and mood. Some studies indicated that CBD delivers both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities.
"Some studies indicated that administration of THC resulted in pain reduction and improvements in appetite and mood."
"In theory, when combined, the synergistic effects of both components could be beneficial in using cannabis as an anti-nociceptive (pain reducing) agent. However, antagonistic interactions between THC and CBD can also occur due to their varying properties," noted the researchers.
Cannabis for Fibromyalgia Study Conclusions
Cannabis for Fibromyalgia Study. The study reported the following conclusions:
"The use of cannabis in fibromyalgia treatment is still an area of ongoing study. CBD and THC have been studied for their potential therapeutic benefits in a variety of medical conditions with manifestations of pain and sleep disturbances. These cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating pain, mood, and other physiological processes, suggesting that they could play a role in managing the cardinal symptoms of fibromyalgia.
"Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating pain, mood, and other physiological processes."
"There remains a growing interest in the use of cannabinoids as potential treatment options for fibromyalgia. While some studies show promising results, others have been inconclusive. Overall, the effectiveness of these cannabinoids in treating fibromyalgia remains uncertain. Our investigation revealed that they may be effective in reducing pain and improving sleep in fibromyalgia patients, but more studies are needed to strengthen these findings.
"The use of cannabinoids for medical purposes is still relatively new, and much is still unknown. To understand the potential benefits, risks, and optimal dosages and formulations, there is more work to be done through clinical trials.
"Overall, there remains a potential role for cannabinoids in the management of fibromyalgia, despite currently limited evidence. Nonetheless, more research on this topic is needed to confirm the efficacy of cannabinoids, ascertain the most effective THC–CBD formulation, determine a more standardized assessment for clinical outcomes, and analyze long-term outcomes."
View the original study.
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