After arthritis, fibromyalgia is the most common skeletal pain condition. It’s thought that around 10 million people in the U.S. live with fibromyalgia, which can manifest in stiffness and pain, lethargy and difficulty with memory. Many times, fibromyalgia is accompanied by other painful conditions like migraines and irritable bowel syndrome.
It’s not known exactly what causes fibromyalgia, but researchers are now looking into the brain. Some think that the constant nerve stimulation makes the brains of fibromyalgia patients change and increase pain signals. Other researchers think that fibromyalgia sufferers have more blood flow to the parts of the brain that deal with pain signals and less blood flow to the parts that regulate pain responses.
We know that compounds in marijuana bond with endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptors, which are found throughout the body and help modulate many processes including pain management, movement and memory. So, it fits that cannabis could help fibromyalgia suffers with pain and all of the related symptoms.
We’ve gathered the most popular Q&As from our Answers page about how cannabis can help ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia. If you have an additional question about marijuana for fibromyalgia, please feel free to post it on our website and a knowledgeable member of our community will be happy to answer it for you.
Q: What are others using to help with fibromyalgia?
Answer: @pamelahadfield I have had fibromyalgia and what helped me was using a tincture 2–3 times a day. I use a 4:1 tincture and a 20:1 high-cannabidiol (CBD) tincture. A company called Care By Design also has 20:1 gel caps that are 10 mg tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) each, I believe. It took a while for the effects to really be felt, but now I don't get the random pains anymore. My case isn’t severe, however.
Here’s a link to several articles we’ve written about fibromyalgia:
I hope this helps!
Q: Would CBD be a good choice for fibromyalgia?
_ Any advice from a doctor would be greatly appreciated._
Answer: @drkim For pain and mood symptoms due to fibromyalgia, most patients benefit from both THC and CBD. CBD on its own, for most fibromyalgia patients, does not provide adequate relief. THC is also a vital component when treating the mood symptoms related to fibromyalgia.
Accordingly, I recommend neither pure CBD, nor even low THC-containing products. Microdosing a low dose of sativa would be an effective dosing protocol for most. Naturally, please trial in a safe environment and avoid operating heavy machinery such as an automobile. Please consult a qualified cannabis physician before starting any cannabis protocol.
Q: The right cartridge for fibromyalgia?
I just looked at the strains that are good for fibromyalgia, but I’ve been using a vape pen and the names for the cartridges are different. Maybe I'm just confused and new at this, the dispensary that I went to was not very helpful and didn’t seem to know much about the cartridges. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
Answer: @drolson The names of the oils are not as significant as the contents. Please look for a high-CBD oil. AC/DC, Harlequin and Cannatonic are three of the more popular high-CBD strains and therefore oils to vaporize to get you out of pain almost immediately. At the same time, you may start oral CBD in tincture form, since they do take about a month to build up in your system and become fully effective. But in any form, CBD works to get rid of the inflammatory cells.
Vitamin D has also been shown to help healing in cases like fibromyalgia. Ideally the blood level for vitamin D to overcome chronic pain would be above 55ng/ml, but don’t take your vitamin D on the day you're having your blood tested or it could appear erroneously high.
Photo credit: huyen.