Study Summary: Cannabis for Fatigue

A 2022 peer-reviewed research study entitled "The Effects of Consuming Cannabis Flower for Treatment of Fatigue" that was published in the Swiss journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids examined the effects of cannabis on fatigue. Because fatigue is such a significant symptom of fibromyalgia, these results may benefit those suffering this painful and debilitating condition.

The study involved 3,922 cannabis consumption sessions by 1,224 participants that were recorded using a mobile application between June 2016 and August 2019. The research considered many aspects of the consumption sessions, including the phenotype (cultivar/strain), potency, consumption avenue, and any side effects (positive or negative).


It should be noted that the integrity of self-reported data of this type is objectively lower than that of robust clinical studies in which trained medical professionals observe and examine participants. However, an advantage of this study is that it offers a relatively large data set resulting from more than three years of session collection.


The Results

The scientific investigation revealed that, overall, 92 percent of participants "experienced decreased fatigue following [cannabis] consumption," although the phenotype of the cannabis consumed (sativa, indica, hybrid) did not seem to influence the symptom relief delivered.


The scientific investigation revealed that, overall, 92 percent of participants "experienced decreased fatigue following consumption"

Interestingly, "people that used joints to combust the flower reported greater symptom relief than pipe or vaporizer users." A minority of study participants (under 24 percent) self-reported sometimes experiencing negative side effects that included increased fatigue and a lack of motivation. However, a larger portion of participants (37 percent) reported positive side effects that resulted in improved energy and increased activity.

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"On average, users reported a starting symptom intensity level of 6.08 and an ending symptom intensity level of 2.60, suggesting an average symptom relief of 3.48," reported the study. Sixty-eight percent of participants reported a minimum of one negative side effect, while 96 percent of patients reported at least one positive effect.


Terpenes Touted

The study reported that the terpenes alpha-pinene and d-limonene "are the most and the second most widely abundant terpenes, respectively, found in nature" and that both may deliver improved energy levels and decreased fatigue based on the results of previous studies of terpene-rich essential oils.


The study reported that the terpenes alpha-pinene and d-limonene "are the most and the second most widely abundant terpenes, respectively, found in nature."

The study noted "additional terpenes and terpenoids that can be found at therapeutic levels in the cannabis plant" and that may aid in reducing fatigue in patients that include "pulegone, cineole (eucalyptol), alpha-terpineol, and p-cymene."


Conclusions

The study concluded that "the majority of patients experience decreased fatigue from consumption of cannabis flower" and that this positive outcome is likely due to the presence of both cannabinoids and terpenes and may involve the controversial entourage effect theory.


The study reported that "the consistent finding that vaporization of cannabis flower resulted in worse outcomes than joints" suggests that the temperature of combustion or vaporization "may affect changes in fatigue."


"The magnitude of the effect and extent of side effects experienced...vary with individuals' metabolic state."

The study's authors emphasized the subjective efficacy delivered by cannabis consumption. "The magnitude of the effect and extent of side effects experienced...vary with individuals' metabolic states and the synergistic chemotypic (strain-specific) properties of the plant [being consumed]," concluded the researchers.


View the original study.


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