As cannabis has now been legalized for medicinal use in many states, more Americans are turning to cannabis to alleviate pain symptoms. In today’s post, we will talk about fibromyalgia and how it affects the body of those suffering from this syndrome. To understand how cannabis can help with fibromyalgia pain, we must first learn more about the disease; what is it, what causes it and how can it be treated?
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is more common than you may think; in the United States alone over 10 million people live with the debilitating pain and discomfort caused by the disorder. Fibromyalgia causes long-term pain in the whole body, including, tenderness in joints, tendons, and other soft tissues of the body. In addition to these symptoms, fibromyalgia is accompanied by discomforts such as fatigue, sleep disorders, headaches, depression, and anxiety.
An interesting fact is that 75-90 percent of patients with fibromyalgia are women, There is no explanation for this, but it may be related to hormones as the disease affects women both before and after menopause. Fibromyalgia is also more common amongst people between 30 and 60 years of age, however, there are cases of elderly, adolescents, and even children with the syndrome.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Doctors do not yet have an exact answer to this question, however, there are a few factors that may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia including:
- Genetics. Fibromyalgia may be linked to genetic factors. Studies have shown that several people from the same family have been diagnosed with the disease;
- Infections by viruses, or autoimmune diseases;
- Physical or emotional trauma. Physical trauma and psychological stress can trigger the onset of the syndrome.
How Can Cannabis Help?
More and more research is being done on this topic to find out which treatments are most suitable for treating fibromyalgia, and among them, we find cannabis as an alternative treatment.
A study that interviewed 1,300 people showed how cannabis helped in the management of pain and discomfort. Since fibromyalgia has no cure, medical researchers believe that cannabis can actually help more than pain medications to treat discomfort associated with the syndrome. Below we will show the responses of the interviewees about their experience with Cannabis.
The chart above shows that 62% of respondents said that cannabis was very effective during treatment; 33% said it helped a little, and 5% said that cannabis did not help at all.
In another study done by the National Pain Foundation, the patients had new answers. Everyone surveyed noticed improvements in all tests performed and half of the patients even stopped taking prescribed medication for treatment.
Some patients use both cannabis and pain medications for fibromyalgia, especially those with more severe pain. Studies prove that medical cannabis is very effective in reducing the strongest pains and presents no risk of chemical dependence or overdose as is the case with some medications.
Cannabis also has properties that are able to provide benefits for sleep. That is to say that the patient who uses cannabis as treatment have a more restful night’s sleep. Aside from improving the quality of the sleep, depending on the dose and the concentration of cannabinoids, it can leave the patient feeling energized, which for some is a good advantage.
Depending on how cannabis is ingested, it can provide a variety of effects and benefits for the patient., Smoking or vaporizing the substance provides immediate relief for pain and can improve the individual’s mood.
For those who prefer not to inhale, another method is sublingual consumption, for example, sprays or tinctures. Like smoking and vaping, this method affects the body quickly, but wears off in a shorter time, so the patient should repeat the dose every two or three hours as needed.
For longer lasting effects, the best option is the cannabis edible. The effects can last for four to six hours, but keep in mind that they take longer to take effect, sometimes up to two hours after being ingested, so it is not advisable to patients who seek immediate relief.
Other Activities That Help With the Treatment
As we mentioned earlier, fibromyalgia has no cure, but treatments can help decrease pain and discomfort., In addition to using cannabis, patients can seek more alternatives to lessen their suffering, including:
- Exercise: Light exercises such as walking, swimming, or pilates can help a lot;
- Stress Reduction: meditation, progressive muscle relaxation (a technique used to relax the body and mind) and breathing exercises;
- Massage: Massage therapy can relieve the pain of the patient;
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture can work to relieve symptoms in some people;
- Sleeping: Sleeping and waking at the same time every day can help lessen fatigue;
- Behavior Modification Therapy: A therapist may designate this therapy for the patient to learn new skills and face their limits, improving the quality of life and helping with self-esteem.
Make sure you talk to your doctor to see which of these alternatives can help you live a better quality of life without major discomforts.
In our blog, you can learn more about how medical cannabis works, thus helping to eliminate prejudices about how it is used and its use in the medical world.
Follow our posts and see how we are trying to make the world a better place, especially without pain and discomfort for people who have to live with chronic pain, as is the case for those who live with fibromyalgia and seek a more natural alternative with fewer side effects than synthetic remedies.
Remember that for any treatment using cannabis products, it is necessary to seek advice from your doctor to determine what the ideal product and dosage is for your needs.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate treatment for your medical condition.