We already knew that marijuana has played a medicinal role for thousands of years. Some studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that marijuana or its extracts can help with pain symptoms, including the pain that occurs with fibromyalgia.
Marijuana contains many substances, including at least 120 active ingredients, some of which show promise for treatments. These include cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD has no psychoactive properties. Both CBD and THC appear to have useful medicinal properties. One possible use could be as a way to relieve pain. As such, they could have benefits for people with fibromyalgia.
Marijuana and fibromyalgia
People living with fibromyalgia may experience pain, headaches, and nausea, among other symptoms. Studies have shown that the active ingredients in marijuana can improve these symptoms in some people.
However, few studies have focused on the effects of marijuana or its extracts as a specific treatment method for fibromyalgia, and the existing literature has reached mixed conclusions.
Research published in 2011 indicated that cannabis use may have beneficial effects on certain fibromyalgia symptoms.
The study looked at people who “used cannabis” rather than focusing on a specific medicinal extract or chemical.
However, a 2016 review of studies found that there was very little evidence available to recommend marijuana-based treatments for managing symptoms in people with rheumatic conditions, such as fibromyalgia.
In 2018, an Australian study, Trusted Source, did not find that cannabis use reduced pain or the need for opioids among people with a variety of conditions. However, this study, like many others, focused on people who use marijuana recreationally rather than for medical purposes.
Up to 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia are women. However, at least one study has found that marijuana provides better pain relief for men than women.
Some evidence confirms that some of the components in marijuana can help relieve chronic pain, nausea, muscle spasms, and nerve pain associated with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Cannabis can be effective in alleviating similar symptoms in people with fibromyalgia.
Medical marijuana may be an option for people with fibromyalgia. It contains compounds that may alleviate some of the symptoms.
The THC and CBD components have received the most attention. THC is similar to the cannabinoid chemicals found naturally in the body. It works by stimulating cannabinoid receptors in the brain. This activates the brain’s reward system and lowers pain levels.
At least one study, a reliable source, suggests that THC can help relieve headaches. It also influences areas of the brain associated with memory and coordination.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and does not bind to cannabinoid receptors. In other words, it doesn’t produce the feelings of pleasure and euphoria, also known as a high, that THC often does.
The entire plant is not approved for use as a medicine. However, certain extracts can be effective for some conditions.
These conditions involve seizures that do not improve after taking other medications.
In some countries, Sativex, or nabiximol, is available by prescription as an oral spray for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) whose symptoms have not responded to other treatments. Contains CBD and THC and treats pain and muscle spasms.
Scientists continue to conduct research and clinical trials to find out if medical marijuana is safe and effective for a variety of conditions.
When is marijuana suitable?
People use marijuana for a wide range of conditions, although research has only confirmed its benefits for a few.
Currently, good scientific evidence confirms the benefits of its use in the treatment of chronic pain, including nerve pain and muscle spasms.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research is underway to find out if compounds in marijuana could help with the following:
- loss of appetite and anorexia
- conditions that affect the immune system, including HIV
- substance use disorders
- mental health conditions
Studies with mice have indicated that purified marijuana extracts can slow the growth of cancer cells in a type of brain tumor. A combination of CBD and THC extracts helped kill cancer cells in mice during radiation treatment. Without a doubt we are facing a world of infinite possibilities thanks to cannabis.