A group of Israeli researchers has found that medical cannabis therapy could help manage and relieve the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, a chronic musculoskeletal disorder that plagues over 4 million people in the United States alone.
Titled “Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis in Fibromyalgia”, the study was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.
For the study, the researchers assessed 367 fibromyalgia patients’ use of cannabis over a 6-month period- of those, 301 were women. At the end of the assessment period, 261 patients answered a survey aimed at checking the efficacy of cannabis in treating Fibromyalgia, and if the drug had any side-effects. Please note that the remaining participants did not participate in the survey as they had stopped their medical cannabis treatments midway because of various undisclosed reasons.
The results look quite promising as at the end of 6 months, patients reported a decline in the median pain intensity from 9 to 5 (on a scale of 10). In addition, 194 patients experienced at least some improvement in their condition without any adverse side effects.
That’s not all, the cannabis therapy also made sure that the participants weren’t as dependent on prescription opioids as they once were. While 22% of patients “stopped or reduced their dosage of opioids, 20% pulled back on benzodiazepines.
The most common adverse side effect experienced by 7.9% of the patients was mild dizziness. The two other side effects that bothered participants were dry mouth (6.7%) and gastrointestinal symptoms (5.4%). When compared with the harmful effects of opioid painkillers, cannabis looks safer and thus a better alternative to relieve Fibromyalgia.
Only a handful of studies have so far seen how (and if ) marijuana can effectively treat the disorder. For instance, a 2006 study by a group of researchers in Germany deduced that oral marijuana treatment having 2.5-15 mg of THC drastically reduced pain symptoms for 9 patients over a period of 3 months.
Another study conducted by Spanish researchers in 2011 found that cannabis is good at not only alleviating pain but also reducing other symptoms caused by the condition, such as stiffness, drowsiness, etc.