Thursday, April 18, 2024

Can Cannabis Help With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

There is no known, underlying medical cause for the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue, which include inexplicable exhaustion that doesn’t improve with increased rest and sleep.

For someone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the tasks faced in everyday life feel insurmountable with a limited resource of energy to tap into. The frustrating nature of CFS, sometimes called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, is that it is difficult to diagnose. There is no known, underlying medical cause for the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue, which include inexplicable exhaustion that doesn’t improve with increased rest and sleep.

Accompanying symptoms may include inflammation of lymph nodes, joint pain, muscle pain, and difficulty remembering things or focusing. Some individuals may also experience headaches and a sore throat.

In a Univeristy of New Mexico study, titled The Effects of Consuming Cannabis Flower for Treatment of Fatigue” published in the journal, Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids,  researchers showed using cannabis results in improvement for feelings of fatigue in the majority of users. This was the first large-scale study to show that, on average, people are likely to experience a 3.5 point improvement of feelings of fatigue on a 0-10 scale

Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

There isn’t a  standard treatment method for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. While there are suspicions infection, hormonal imbalances, or issue with the immune system may have something to do with the condition, not knowing the cause of the CFS prohibits knowing how to cure or treat it.

RELATED: The Truth About Marijuana And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

For now, the standard approach is management, not treatment of the conditions. One such method is called pacing and involves managing exertion to avoid a flare-up of more severe symptoms. This requires a good understanding of what you are capable of carrying out without bringing yourself to a point of exhaustion. Additional management techniques focus on symptoms or co-occurring conditions, like depression and sleep problems.

chronic fatigue syndrome
Photo by Benjamin Combs via Unsplash

CBD and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

From the start, it is important to be upfront that there is no existing formal research on the effects of CBD or marijuana on chronic fatigue syndrome. There are anecdotal reports, however, from individuals using CBD to manage their symptoms. 

Many individuals who have CFS also experience joint paint. There are recent animal studies that have observed improvements in pain symptoms with the use of a topical CBD product, such as this study published in 2018.

There is evidence that chronic fatigue is connected to having a hypersensitive central nervous system. In 2017, the journal Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets listed cannabidiol as a way to decrease the activity of brain cells called glia, which triggers that hypersensitivity of the nervous system.

Marijuana and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

With the UNM study, there may be solutions soon to help.  Additional uses for marijuana for these individuals could include improving sleep, managing depression, and decreasing chronic pain. Patients struggling with chronic fatigue should find a doctor who are open to alternative therapies. Someone who has experience prescribing medical marijuana and cannabidiol can help guide you on dosing as you look for new ways to manage the worst symptoms for your conditions.


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