We still don’t know what causes fibromyalgia.
But we do know that it’s a chronic pain disorder that affects 5 million people in the U.S. The most common symptoms are muscle and bone pain and fatigue. Other symptoms include
- Points of tenderness
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle stiffness
- Irritable bowel syndrome
After seeing that list, you can imagine why fibromyalgia is such a devasting disease. Often, the pain is so overwhelming that it impacts a person’s emotional and mental well-being as well as their physical health. It can feel as if the disease is taking over your life, and it’s no wonder that some patients invest hours and hours of research into their condition, trying to find an effective way to treat the pain.
But what are the options?
FDA-Approved Drugs For Fibromyalgia Pain Relief
- Pregabalin (Lyrica)
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
- Milnacipran (Savella)
For some, these drugs can effectively treat fibromyalgia. But anecdotal evidence suggests that many patients don’t get the relief that they need from these medications.
Another problem is that all three of these drugs come with potentially serious side effects; your kidneys and liver can take a huge beating when using these drugs.
In some cases, doctors will prescribe opioids for fibromyalgia pain relief. But as we’ve written before, opioids also have serious side effects like constipation, sexual dysfunction, and dependency/addiction.
Why Medical Marijuana Could Help Fibromyalgia Sufferers
For patients looking for a natural fibromyalgia pain relief treatment, medical marijuana may offer them the solution they’re looking for.
Meet Juliet Hopper, a management consultant who suffers from fibromyalgia and cervical cancer. She moved from Ohio to California so that she could have access to medical marijuana. Here’s her story, as reported by National Geographic:
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The video includes a nifty animation that depicts cannabinoids (marijuana’s active compounds) binding with cannabinoid receptors in the human body. These receptors are part of the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating important functions like
- Motor control
That’s how marijuana is able to work its magic: when it binds with the receptors in your body, it “calms down” the pain signals sent to your brain.
Marijuana May Be More Effective at Treating Fibromyalgia Than FDA-Approved Medicines
In March of 2014, the National Pain Foundation and National Pain Report did a survey of over 1300 fibromyalgia patients.
Of the Patients Who’ve Tried the Drug Cymbalta
- 60 percent said the drug had no effect
- 32 percent said it worked mildly well
- 8 percent said it worked very well
Of the Patients Who’ve Tried the Drug Lyrica:
- 61 percent said the drug had no effect
- 29 percent said it worked mildly well
- 10 percent said it worked very well
Of the Patients Who’ve Tried the Drug Savella
- 68 percent said that the drug had no effect
- 22 percent said it worked mildly well
- 10 percent said it worked very well
Of the Patients Who’ve Tried Medical Marijuana:
- 62 percent said that it worked very well
- 33 percent said it worked mildy well
- 5 percent said that it had no effect
When you compare the FDA-approved drugs, their numbers are about the same. But when you compare those numbers to the medical marijuana numbers, they practically flip. More people are getting fibromyalgia pain relief through marijuana than the standard prescription drugs.
In the video below, Teri Robnett of Colorado talks about how she initially used prescription drugs for fibromyalgia, but she grew worried about the side effects and drug interactions. She switched to medical marijuana, and now things are looking up:
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A couple important things to note here:
- Because the symptoms of her condition change from day to day, Teri is able to create a highy individualized treatment regimen based on her needs at the moment. Vaporized medicine gives her immediate relief before going to bed; edibles help make sure she gets a good night’s sleep; and CBD-based medicines provide her with pain relief during the day while allowing her to remain clear-headed.
- Because of the effectiveness of the medicine, she’s able to continue doing the things that are important to her: spending time with grandchildren and being actively involved in her community.
What About You?
Have you tried using medical marijuana to treat your fibromyalgia, or are you thinking about it? We want to hear what you have to say, so write to us in the comment section below.
If you suffer from fibromyalgia or any other type of chronic pain condition, schedule an appointment with our doctor to find out if medical marijuana is right for you!