The adjunctive use of cannabis is associated with improvements in pain and other symptoms in patients with refractory fibromyalgia, according to data published in the Journal of Cannabis Research.
An Italian researcher assessed the long-term use of various types of cannabis preparations (e.g., herbal cannabis, oil extracts, etc.) in a cohort of 38 patients with treatment-resistant fibromyalgia. Participants in the study consumed cannabis for up to twelve months in combination with their prescribed medications.
The author reported that “significant improvements were observed” following the initiation of cannabis therapy in most patients. Participants were most likely to report reductions in pain, as well as declines in their disability index and overall symptom severity scores. Most subjects who were responsive to medical cannabis reported experiencing “no or mild side effects.” Subjects also did not appear to develop long-term tolerance to the substance, as patients had no need to increase their dosages of medical cannabis over the duration of the study period. No improvements in patients’ anxiety or depression scores were reported.
Similar to the findings of other studies, the majority of trial subjects who responded favorably to cannabis therapy either discontinued or significantly reduced their consumption of prescription medicines.
The study’s author concluded: “The current study revealed the positive effects of MC [medical cannabis] therapy in some patients with FMS [ fibromyalgia syndrome] and resistance to conventional treatment. Thus, cannabinoids may be considered for FMS treatment, although several side effects may still occur. Further studies are warranted to confirm these findings.”
NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “A growing number of patients with fibromyalgia are experimenting with cannabis products. This study’s findings add to the growing body of literature indicating that cannabis is a promising alternative therapeutic option for many of these patients.”
Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis for the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome: A retrospective, open-label case series,” appears in the Journal of Cannabis Research. Additional information on cannabis and fibromyalgia is available from NORML here.