Fibromyalgia: Cannabis v. Big Pharma Drugs
Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia means that you can say goodbye to any semblance of a normal life. It is a debilitating condition characterized by constant muscle pain and fatigue, symptoms which are usually accompanied by headaches, difficulty sleeping, and widespread joint pains. Because of the severity of the condition, people with fibromyalgia also tend to suffer from anxiety and depression.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown and there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Patients are often given pain medications, anti-depressants, and anti-seizure drugs, all of which can have serious side effects later on. In addition, consuming more painkillers only worsens the existing overdose problem that we already have.
According to the National Pain Foundation and the National Pain Report, the FDA has only approved three medications to treat fibromyalgia. These pharmaceutical treatments can only make things worse for patients, considering all their side effects:
1.Cymbalta: nausea, fatigue, constipation, drowsiness, diarrhea, headaches, insomnia, restlessness, decreased appetite
2.Lyrica: constipation, infections, headache, dizziness, ataxia, tremors, fatigue, vertigo, difficulty thinking, speech disturbance, cognitive dysfunctions, twitching, edema
3.Savella: dizziness, hot flashes, insomnia, constipation, increased pulse, hypertension, palpitations, migraines
Pharmaceutical companies are earning millions of dollars from the sale of these drugs alone. But are they really helping patients? The same report discusses the results of a survey conducted in 2014, which consisted of more than 1,300 fibromyalgia patients. Nearly a third of participants said that they’ve tried medical marijuana to ease their symptoms, and 62% said that it was “very effective”.
On the other hand, only 8-10% said that Cymbalta, Lyrica, or Savella were “very effective”.
No wonder big pharma continues to fight legalization…
In a 2011 observational trial of 28 users and non-users in Spain, the participants reported beneficial effects after using cannabis to address fibromyalgia symptoms especially when it came to muscle and pain relief. According to the study’s authors:
“Patients used cannabis not only to alleviate pain but for almost all symptoms associated to FM, and no one reported worsening of symptoms following cannabis use. … Significant relief of pain, stiffness, relaxation, somnolence, and perception of well-being, evaluated by VAS (visual analogue scales) before and two hours after cannabis self-administration was observed.”
In addition, participants who used cannabis also had better mental health scores compared to the non-users. The researchers added,
“The present results together with previous evidence seem to confirm the beneficial effects of cannabinoids on FM symptoms.”
Medical marijuana is effective in treating the severe pain associated with fibromyalgia. This is because of the plant’s miraculous analgesic qualities. Although clinical trials are still limited because of the prohibition, there is a significant amount of anecdotal evidence about cannabis and its pain-relieving qualities.
Aside from treating pain, there are many other reasons why cannabis is such a potent and beneficial medicine for those suffering from fibromyalgia. Cannabis can also help patients sleep better. Sleep is elusive for many people living with fibromyalgia. Because this is such a common problem, many agree that difficulty sleeping combined with muscle and joint pain are the distinctive characteristics of fibromyalgia. Smoking a quality indica strain can help you relax, reduce pain, and enjoy deep restful sleep.
Cannabis can also help reduce the tightness and muscle spasms that typically accompany fibromyalgia. Many studies over the past few years have proven how effective cannabis is at reducing muscle spasms, which can happen even while you’re sleeping. Cannabis can also be a great help in addressing the depression. Toking up will do wonders for your body and even put a smile on your face.
If cannabis is legalized and allowed to be studied and actually prescribed (as opposed to simply “recommended,” as is currently is), a former debilitating condition like fibromyalgia could become a thing of the past.
Let’s hope marijuana policy continues forward without any federal set backs. Check out DEA includes CBD in Schedule I list if you want to see why this may not be the way it turns out.