Literature Review: Cannabinoids “Safe and Well-Tolerated” for Patients with Fibromyalgia

Brisbane, Australia: The use of either plant-derived cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids is typically safe and effective in patients with fibromyalgia (FMS), according to data published in The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and multiple tender points in the neck, spine, shoulders and hips.

A team of Australian researchers conducted a systematic review of the relevant peer-reviewed literature regarding the use of cannabis products by FMS patients. They identified ten total studies involving 1,136 patients. Studies published prior to the year 2000 were excluded from the review, as were prior meta-analyses. Six of the ten studies involved whole-plant cannabis, while the four other studies assessed the use of synthetic cannabinoids such as dronabinol or nabilone.

Authors reported that cannabinoids typically demonstrated benefits for FMS patients in the mitigation of pain and were “safe and well-tolerated.”

They concluded: “The information obtained from this literature review indicates that medicinal cannabis can benefit people with FMS, but many research gaps remain. Future research needs to better describe: the individuals who will most benefit from cannabis use for FMS symptoms; the most effective, tolerable, and acceptable chemovar or product for this population; and the preferred dose and method of administration (oral or inhalation). Despite these gaps, this research provides evidence that oral ingestion of synthetic cannabis may assist with chronic pain management and inhalation of cannabis may assist with rapid-onset pain relief for individuals with FMS.”

Full text of the study, “Safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis in the treatment of fibromyalgia: A systematic review,” appears in The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. Additional information on the use of cannabis for fibromyalgia is available from NORML.