Medical Marijuana’s Effects on Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia (FM or FMS) is a central nervous system disorder that affects 2 to 8% of the population. Patients suffering from fibromyalgia experience widespread muscle pain throughout their bodies, as well as allodynia, a painful response to pressure. Along with pain, many patients develop symptoms of fatigue, joint stiffness, sleep issues, bowel and bladder issues, and cognitive dysfunction that affects mood and memory. Although many people continue to live their normal lives once they develop symptoms of FM, majority suffer in silence. A survey conducted in 2014 by the National Pain Foundation found that all of the three FDA approved FM medications – Lyrica, Cymbalta, Savella – had over 60% of respondents say they were completely ineffective. In the same study 62% of patients who had tried medical marijuana, which was only 30% of respondents, said it was very effective at treating their symptoms.
Because “fibromyalgia” was only identified in the 1990’s, there is not a clear consensus on what causes it. Although genes and environmental factors influence the possibility of developing FM, it seems as though the main pain symptom of FM is caused by neurochemical imbalances in the brain and activation of inflammatory pathways. Cannabis is an excellent anti-inflammatory and palliative agent, and for those who have access to medical marijuana – it may be the most effective relief they can find. Along with treating pain, medical marijuana could effectively treat multiple symptoms of FM including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and bowel issues.
To treat pain symptoms fibromyalgia patients should seek out Indica-dominant strains. The most widely available and best-reviewed strain in this category is Kush, and luckily many hybrid varieties are bred from this potent strain. Some of the most popular indica strains specifically reviewed for fibromyalgia relief include Master Kush, LA Confidential, and Querkle. Hybrid strains recommended for treatment are Blackberry, Skunk #1, Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, and OG Kush. There are also several Sativa strains that are recommended for FM treatment as they can help with the anxiety and depression that patients experience. Some of the best reviewed Sativa strains for FM are Power Plant, Jean Guy, and Kali Mist.