Category Archives: fibromyalgia

Is Marijuana an effective treatment for Fibromyalgia?

weedAnyone who suffers from fibromyalgia syndrome knows that it’s painfully frustrating to treat.  Many of these folks resort to alternative therapy and some find medicinal marijuana to be a very effective way to ease many of the most persistent and virulent symptoms.

The June 21 edition of the journal Arthritis Care & Research includes a study that states about 10 percent of fibromyalgia patients use marijuana to relieve symptoms such as pain, fatigue and insomnia.  The article noted that traditional drug treatments for fibromyalgia have a low or partial efficacy which leads some patients to self medicate with marijuana, either legally or illegally depending on the state of residence.

I know the issue of medical marijuana is vast and complex due to its controversial nature, so I don’t wish to get into the politics here.  I am interested in determining whether people think it works or not.  And if so, what might be the risks and side effects.

The findings of the journal article raise several questions for me.  For example, the study revealed that marijuana use was associated with mental illness, opioid drug seeking behavior, and unemployment.  Now, having myself exhibited some of these things at one time or another during my lifetime, I believe any of these factors can cause any of the others.  The simplest case-in-point would be that chronic pain frequently causes clinical depression and vice versa.  Furthermore, depression can cause unemployment or drug seeking behavior and so on.  What do you think about this issue?

The study concluded by cautioning against the use of “illicit” drugs until more research is done (would this include medicinal marijuana or not since it it legal in 12 states or so?):  “While self-medicating with cannabinoids may provide some pain relief to fibromyalgia patients, we caution against general use of illicit drugs until health and psychosocial issues risks are confirmed.”  Clearly these are sophisticated experts but the researchers have probably never suffered from chronic pain, i.e., the complex relationship between depression and chronic pain is not noted or elaborated on.  Judging from their recommendations they seem to view these symptoms as compartmentalized factors albeit somewhat related.

In general, I would argue that marijuana does not cause mental illness simply because these test subjects would probably have not begun using had they not been seeking relief from chronic pain.  I believe that the depression they noted in subjects was caused by the chronic pain.  But that’s just conjecture based on personal experience coming from me.  What do you think?