According to new research, the use of marijuana is a safe and effective treatment for those with fibromyalgia.
The study, titled Safety and efficacy of medical cannabis in fibromyalgia, was published by the Journal of Clinical Medicine and was published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.
Researchers conducted “A prospective observational study with six months follow-up period based on fibromyalgia patients who were willing to answer the questionnaire in a specialized medical cannabis clinic between 2015 and 2017. The study had 367 participants.
It was found that 81% of participants reported “at least moderate improvement in their condition”, and this occurred “without experiencing serious adverse events. 22% “stopped or reduced their dosage of opioids,” and 20% reduced their use of benzodiazepines.
“In the present study, we demonstrated that medical cannabis is an effective and safe option for the treatment of fibromyalgia patients’ symptoms,” states the study. “Considering the low rates of addiction and serious adverse effects (especially compared to opioids), cannabis therapy should be considered to ease the symptom burden among those fibromyalgia patients who are not responding to standard care”. They conclude by stating that “Future studies should aim to compare medical cannabis to the standard therapy of fibromyalgia, to establish the proper place of cannabis in fibromyalgia therapeutic arsenal.”
Below is the study’s full abstract:
Chronic pain may be treated with medical cannabis. Yet, there is scarce evidence to support the role of medical cannabis in the treatment of fibromyalgia. The aim of the study was to investigate the characteristics, safety, and effectiveness of medical cannabis therapy for fibromyalgia.
A prospective observational study with six months follow-up period based on fibromyalgia patients who were willing to answer the questionnaire in a specialized medical cannabis clinic between 2015 and 2017.
Among the 367 fibromyalgia patients, the mean age was 52.9 ± 15.1, of whom 301 (82.0%) were women. Twenty-eight patients (7.6%) stopped the treatment prior to the six months follow-up. The six months response rate was 70.8%. Pain intensity (scale 0-10) reduced from a median of 9.0 at baseline to 5.0 (p < 0.001), and 194 patients (81.1%) achieved treatment response. In a multivariate analysis, age above 60 years (odds ratio [OR] 0.34, 95% C.I 0.16-0.72), concerns about cannabis treatment (OR 0.36, 95% C.I 0.16-0.80), spasticity (OR 2.26, 95% C.I 1.08-4.72), and previous use of cannabis (OR 2.46 95% C.I 1.06-5.74) were associated with treatment outcome. The most common adverse effects were mild and included dizziness (7.9%), dry mouth (6.7%), and gastrointestinal symptoms (5.4%).
Medical cannabis appears to be a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms. Standardization of treatment compounds and regimens are required.
For more information on this study, including a link to its full text, click here.