What is Fibromyalgia?
10 million patients in the United States with fibromyalgia, 75-90% are women. While the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, infections, physical or emotional trauma, and genetics appear to play a role in onset. Patients with lupus, osteoarthritis, and or rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk of developing fibromyalgia. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include muscle pain and tenderness, muscle spasms, joint pain, bone pain, neurological pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, headaches, anxiety or depression, gastrointestinal issues, and cognitive issues including issues with memory.
Common prescription or OTC treatments for fibromyalgia include anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs including gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica), the first drug to be FDA approved for fibromyalgia. Massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, diet change from as going gluten-free, and cognitive therapy have also provided relief for patients but are not widely adopted nor covered by health insurance.
In Canada, 30% of patients with fibromyalgia are on disability, whereas in the United States, the percentage is unclear because disability as a well as a fibromyalgia diagnosis is harder for patients to obtain. In a survey conducted by the National Fibromyalgia Association in 2003, 99 % of the respondents who were currently disabled because of fibromyalgia said that they would return to work immediately if they could find some relief for their pain.
Active Fibromyalgia Clinical Trials
There has been a lot of clinical research on cannabis for fibromyalgia in the last 10 years. We’ve transitioned from fibromyalgia being a medical condition linked to endocannabinoid deficiency based on Dr. Ethan Russo’s research, to anecdotal evidence that over 90% of fibromyalgia patients benefit from cannabis, to clear clinical trials showing evidence that cannabis works.
- Efficacy Trial of Oral Tetrahydrocannabinol in Patients With Fibromyalgia – Hadassah Medical Organization (Israel)
- Supporting Effect of Dronabinol on Behavioral Therapy in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Back Pain – Heidelberg University (Germany)
Published Fibromyalgia Research
- Adding medical cannabis to standard analgesic treatment for fibromyalgia: a prospective observational study (2020)
- Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis in Fibromyalgia (2019)
- An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia (2019)
- Effect of adding medical cannabis to analgesic treatment in patients with low back pain related to fibromyalgia: an observational cross-over single centre study (2019)
- The Consumption of Cannabis by Fibromyalgia Patients in Israel (2018)
- An Online Survey of Patients’ Experiences Since the Rescheduling of Hydrocodone: The First 100 Days (2016)
- Association of herbal cannabis use with negative psychosocial parameters in patients with fibromyalgia (2012)
- Cannabis use in patients with fibromyalgia: effect on symptoms relief and health-related quality of life (2011)
- The effects of nabilone on sleep in fibromyalgia: results of a randomized controlled trial (2011)
- Characteristics of patients with chronic pain accessing treatment with medical cannabis in Washington State (2009)
- Efficacy, tolerability and safety of cannabinoids in chronic pain associated with rheumatic diseases (fibromyalgia syndrome, back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis) : A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (2016)
- Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) revisited: can this concept explain the therapeutic benefits ofcannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions? (2014)
- Cannabinoids for treatment of chronic non-cancer pain; a systematic review of randomized trials(2011)
- Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions? (2003)