Can cannabis be used to treat Fibromyalgia?
If you suffer from fibromyalgia, your quality of life can quickly deteriorate. The main symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread pain, making daily tasks less manageable. Often it is misdiagnosed or those suffering do not seek medical treatment, however, there is thought there may be as many as 2 million people in the UK with the condition.
Causes of fibromyalgia
Whilst we do not know the exact cause of fibromyalgia, we know levels of specific chemicals in the brain are imbalanced and this alters how pain messages are passed around the body from the central nervous system. It is possible that certain inherited genes can increase the likeliness of someone developing fibromyalgia, but often the onset of symptoms are triggered by an emotionally or physically stressful event in the patient’s life. This could be a physical injury, giving birth, having an operation, the end of a significant relationship or the loss of a loved one. Studies also show that the condition is more common in women than in men.</a>
Symptoms of fibromyalgia
Widespread pain is the main symptom of fibromyalgia, but other common symptoms include extreme tiredness and fatigue, extreme sensitivity, stiffness, poor sleep quality, headaches, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), dizziness, restless legs syndrome and ‘fibro-fog’ which is a decrease in cognitive function. Anxiety and depression can also be associated with fibromyalgia.
Standard treatment of fibromyalgia is largely handled by GPs who are able to prescribe medication like painkillers, antidepressants or anticonvulsants. Each medication can help manage one symptom of the condition. They also have a number of side effects which can lead to further health issues. Prescription painkillers can also become highly addictive as they rely on opioids, which can put a strain on the body’s major organs with long-term use.
What is medicinal cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis is completely legal for pain relief in the UK, with some restrictions. It is manufactured in line with current legislation, and cannot contain detectable amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC is the compound associated with cannabis that causes intoxication, giving the user a ‘high’ and can cause paranoia, anxiety and even hallucinations. Recreational cannabis contains THC, whereas medicinal cannabis does not. Essentially, medicinal cannabis does not carry the negative associations that recreational cannabis use can have.
Without the intoxication that is caused by the THC compound, the most abundant compound found in medicinal cannabis is CBD (cannabidiol), which has many benefits that could help those suffering from fibromyalgia.
How can medicinal cannabis help with Fibromyalgia?
Medicinal cannabis has been found to help with the relief of pain, as the central nervous system contains cannabinoid receptors that respond to CBD treatment. It can also help with improving the quality of sleep, reducing fatigue and improving mobility. From this type of treatment, fibromyalgia patients would be looking at potentially easing more than one symptom at a time with just one pain treatment solution.
By seeking help from a trained specialist, medicinal cannabis can be tailored to the patient to ease the symptoms, making the day-to-day easier, ultimately leading to an improvement in quality of life. To find out more, book an appointment with a pain specialist at London Cannabis Clinic. We are qualified to prescribe medicinal cannabis for the use of pain relief.