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Cannabis: Beneficial Yet Effective Treatment Method For Fibromyalgia

Not only is fibromyalgia a painful medical condition, it can have a negative impact on an individual’s well-being and daily life.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical disorder that causes fatigue and muscle pain, and affects roughly 5 million people. However, according to other sources, the number of fibromyalgia sufferers is more than double that figure.

Since fibromyalgia is hard to diagnose and because multiple people go undiagnosed for years, the statistics on this condition are somewhat unreliable. Nonetheless, not only is fibromyalgia a painful medical condition, it can have a negative impact on an individual’s well-being and daily life. Aside from pharmaceutical medications, what treatment options are available? One treatment method that’s gaining more attention and popularity by fibromyalgia patients is cannabis.

About Fibromyalgia & Its Symptoms

As briefly stated above, fibromyalgia is a chronic medical condition that delivers fatigue, widespread musculoskeletal pain, and tenderness/sensitivity in localized areas of the body. Unfortunately, every day could be a struggle for fibromyalgia patients. This is especially the case because of the condition’s symptoms. Fibromyalgia’s symptoms can have a negative impact on one’s quality of life. Aside from pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia can cause sleeping difficulties, muscle stiffness, numbness, memory difficulties, and focusing issues.

It has been estimated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia than men. When individuals are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the most common age range is middle age. As people get older though, they’re more likely to develop fibromyalgia. However, children can be diagnosed with the disorder too.

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Regarding risk factors, there are several when it comes to fibromyalgia. If an individual has Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis, they’re more likely to develop fibromyalgia. Other risk factors include obesity, family history, illnesses including viral infections, repetitive injuries, stressful or traumatic events, and one’s gender.

Cannabis as a Fibromyalgia Treatment Method

Does cannabis have the ability to provide individuals with fibromyalgia some relief? Based on cannabis consumers who have been diagnosed with this condition, the unanimous answer is yes.

Fibromyalgia
Photo by blackboard1965/Getty Images

In addition to chronic pain, fibromyalgia is often associated with other health issues that cannabis can help treat, including depression, anxiety, arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Fibromyalgia can also cause insomnia, digestive difficulties, and headaches. Fortunately, though, cannabis and certain cannabinoids can help treat all of these issues.

Research Findings that Support Cannabis as a Fibromyalgia Treatment Method

In a 2011 study, researchers studied 56 fibromyalgia patients. Half of them consumed cannabis and the other half didn’t. The study’s researchers expressed their concluded findings by stating that, “…the use of cannabis was associated with beneficial effects on some fibromyalgia symptoms.” Additionally, the study’s authors suggested that further research is needed to fully understand how cannabis can specifically help in this situation. However, this is not to say that fibromyalgia patients shouldn’t consume cannabis because more research is needed. It’s actually the exact opposite. If cannabis helps fibromyalgia patients to some degree, then it may be best to stick with it.

So far, there’s no cure for fibromyalgia. Therefore, patients with this condition should try to not only find a medicine that effectively relieves their pain and other symptoms, but also one that helps with their mental state of mind and overall well-being, which is cannabis. In general, there’s still a lot to learn about fibromyalgia and its specific causes. However, the characteristics of this condition indicate clinical endocannabinoid deficiencies, according to Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist and pharmacologist.

Linkage Between Fibromyalgia and Endocannabinoid Deficiencies

We all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), and the role of this system is to maintain balance amongst all body processes. When the body’s ECS isn’t functioning as it should because of an endocannabinoid deficiency, many ailments can occur including migraines, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s Disease, or irritable bowel syndrome. These ailments can be tough to treat with other traditional medications, however, fortunately, cannabis can target the ECS. This is the case because the cannabinoids within the cannabis plant mimic the compounds our bodies should naturally produce. Thus, this keeps the ECS running smoothly and in balance.

RELATED: Cannabis May Treat Fibromyalgia Pain, According To New Study

Overall, cannabis could be added onto other medicine in the form of an adjunct therapy method or it can be used on its own. If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or if you know someone who has been, try suggesting cannabis to them. But first, it’s suggested to start slow, pace yourself, and spend some time experimenting with different cannabis strains, doses, and delivery methods to find what works best.

If you’re tired of experiencing daily fatigue and chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia, consider giving cannabis a chance, and see what it can do for you! Since a natural and medically beneficial form of medicine exists, why not try it out?

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