Study: Fibromyalgia Patients Reduce or Eliminate Their Prescription Drug Use Following Cannabis Therapy

Netanya, Israel: Fibromyalgia patients report mitigating or eliminating their use of prescription medications following their use of medical cannabis, according to data published in Israeli scientific journal Harefuah.

A team of Israeli researchers assessed characteristics in 181 medical cannabis patients with fibromyalgia. Qualified patients may legally access state-regulated medical cannabis products in Israel.

After initiating cannabis therapy, 51 percent of subjects either “reduced the dose or the number of medications” that they took to treat fibromyalgia-related symptoms. Nearly half of the study’s participants reported ceasing their use of prescription medications altogether.

Participants in the study were most likely to report either smoking or vaporizing cannabis flower (72 percent), and only three percent of subjects reporting using cannabis oil extracts. Patients were most likely to report that medical cannabis mitigated their pain and improved their quality of sleep.

Authors concluded, “Medical cannabis is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. … Medical cannabis treatment enabled nearly half of the patients to discontinue any treatment for fibromyalgia and all participants recommended medical cannabis treatment for their loved ones in case they develop severe fibromyalgia. … Mild adverse effects were reported in nearly a quarter of the patients but did not result in discontinuing its consumption.”

Both observational and placebo-controlled trials have shown that the use of either whole-plant cannabis and/or synthetic cannabinoids are associated with reduced symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.

Full text of the study, “Characteristics of medical cannabis use among patients with fibromyalgia,” appears in Harefuah. Additional information regarding the use of cannabinoids and fibromyalgia appears online.