Fibromyalgia is a disorder that is characterized by pain, mood swings, fatigue, memory, and sleep problems, etc. About 2-4 percent of the people in the United States suffer from this condition.
For managing fibromyalgia pain, depression, and fatigue, there are various prescription medications such as antidepressants available. But, these medications may cause various side-effects. Research says that cannabis can be used as an alternative to fibromyalgia medications. Currently, 33 US states have legalized the medical use of cannabis. To access state-licensed dispensaries, you require a doctor’s medical marijuana recommendation.
How do cannabinoids work for alleviating fibromyalgia symptoms? How to access marijuana legally? Read on for complete information.
Medical Marijuana For Fibromyalgia
Marijuana’s compounds have amazing psychoactive properties, which can help in managing fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, fatigue, depression, etc.
Also, Read- Cannabis For Depression – Does it Really Work?
THC and CBD are the most-researched compounds. THC is a psychoactive compound, which has a similar chemical structure to that of a naturally occurring chemical called anandamide. When it’s delivered into the body, it stimulates the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. This helps in activating the brain’s reward system, thus relieving pain.
According to a study published in the National Institute of Health, THC can help in relieving headaches. Moreover, it also interacts with the brain areas related to coordination and memory.
CBD is non-psychoactive—it doesn’t cause euphoria and high effects as THC does.
In June 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD, for treating Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. These conditions are associated with seizures, which can’t be managed using prescription medications.
A review published by the National Academies Press (NAP) in 2017 was focused on the health effects of marijuana. Researchers found that cannabis helps manage chronic pain in adults.
Here are some more studies about cannabis’ effectiveness in fibromyalgia pain management-
In 2011, a study conducted on 28 patients ranked marijuana’s benefits for different fibromyalgia symptoms. 43 percent of the participants reported they received strong pain relief while 43 percent said they received mild pain relief. The remaining 7 percent of the participants said they notice no improvement in pain symptoms.
Researchers also found that cannabis is beneficial in managing fibromyalgia sleep problems. A 2011 study confirmed that 81 percent of the participants relieved sleep issues associated with fibromyalgia.
Medical Marijuana Vs Prescription Medications
There are three FDA-approved drugs for fibromyalgia—Cymbalta, Savella, and Lyrica. Doctors often prescribe these medications for managing fibromyalgia symptoms.
However, cannabis also helps in managing fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms. Which is better? A survey conducted on over 390 people who used cannabis over FDA-approved drugs. They reported that marijuana works way better than drugs. 62 percent of the participants said marijuana was “very effective” in managing symptoms. 33 percent said that cannabis “helped a little.” However, only 5 percent said that marijuana didn’t help them.
Before starting cannabis treatment, make sure you talk to a licensed doctor to discuss your condition and seek medical advice for building the right treatment plan.
Are There Any Risks?
Marijuana doesn’t work the same way for everyone. However, it may cause certain short-term side-effects, such as-
- Mood swings
- Memory problems
- Trouble moving
Long-term risks of cannabis use include-
- Psychological disorders
- Cognitive impairments
- Respiratory problems
Thus, you should always seek medical advice from a licensed doctor before using marijuana for managing fibromyalgia symptoms.
Accessing Marijuana Legally
Despite the federal ban, cannabis is legal for medical purposes in many states in the United States. However, it doesn’t mean that anyone can access marijuana. Only people who are approved to use cannabis for health benefits can access state-licensed dispensaries.
To get medical marijuana recommendations, you need to talk to a licensed doctor who will verify your condition by checking your medical history. After you are approved, you will get an MMJ recommendation letter.
With telemedicine, you can apply for your medical marijuana card from home. Here’s the complete process-
- Sign up an account
- Talk to a licensed doctor
- Receive your MMJ recommendation letter in PDF format
However, to buy and use CBD products, you don’t require an MMJ card. As per the Farm Bill of 2018, CBD products derived from the hemp plants (that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC) are legal. Thus, when buying CBD oils, creams, lotions, etc., make sure you check the label carefully and visit only trusted sites.
Lifestyle Changes For Managing Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Doing some lifestyle adjustments can also help in alleviating fibromyalgia symptoms-
Exercising provides lots of mental and physical health benefits. It helps you stay active, boosts mood, and reduces anxiety levels. Research says that the body releases anandamide during exercise, which helps in managing pain. Doing gentle exercises such as walking, running, swimming, etc. can deliver amazing results.
Managing stress levels can help promote wellness. Meditation, massage therapy, muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises are effective in reducing stress and managing other fibromyalgia symptoms.
It’s a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves calming the mind by using fine needles. Acupuncture reduces pain by stimulating certain areas in the body. It’s also effective in reducing inflammation and releasing endorphins, the natural pain killers of the body.
Getting Proper Sleep
Sleep is important. It helps in relaxing the mind, easing fatigue, and improving focus on work. So, you should get an adequate amount of sleep. However, sleep requirements vary from person to person. Most healthy adults require 7-9 hours of sleep a day. Learn more about how many hours of sleep do you need?
Eat Healthy Foods
Fibromyalgia may make you feel tired. Eating certain foods can help you boost energy levels. Eat nutrition-rich foods. Add more green vegetables, fruits, and foods that contain low added sugar and high in fiber, such as beans, tofu, avocado, oatmeal, and broccoli. Avoid eating junk foods, sweets, etc.
Marijuana contains amazing medicinal properties to help manage fibromyalgia symptoms. It contains cannabinoids (THC and CBD are important ones) that bind to the receptors in the ECS, thus boosting mood, memory, sleep, and appetite.
Marijuana can be used as a natural alternative to prescription medications for managing fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and depression.
Consult with a licensed doctor to get medical marijuana recommendations and medical advice for what’s right for you.
The COVID-19 Alert
During the coronavirus pandemic, we appeal to you to stay at home and take care of your family. Prefer home delivery services over store visits. Use telemedicine to talk to a doctor online, and get medical advice remotely. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and wear a safety mask and gloves when going out.