Some people with fibromyalgia are using marijuana to relieve symptoms such as pain, fatigue and insomnia
Although there hasn’t been a great deal of research on the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of disease, some people with fibromyalgia are using marijuana to relieve symptoms such as pain, fatigue and insomnia. According to a study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, one in 10 self-medicate with marijuana but may be putting themselves at risk of poorer mental health.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that affects three per cent of the UK population. The cause isn’t known, but scientists theorise that it may have both physical and emotional components and could be linked to a hormonal and chemical imbalance. Symptoms include headaches, extreme fatigue and difficulty sleeping. Prescribed medications may not be very effective and as a result, many patients are deciding to take things into their own hands using herbal remedies such as marijuana instead.
Because marijuana is a restricted or illegal substance in most parts of the world it’s difficult to research its effects on diseases and their symptoms. So this study focused on ascertaining how widespread cannabis use was and whether it might have any adverse effects on patients’ mental wellbeing.
In total, nearly 500 study participants were assessed and the researchers found that 13% of FB patients had used cannabinoids, with 80% of those using the herb itself rather than prescription cannabinoids. (In the UK possession of cannabis is illegal but certain cannabinoids can be prescribed medically.) Herbal cannabis was found to be significantly associated with unstable mental illness. “While self-medicating with cannabinoids may provide some pain relief to FM patients, we caution against general use of illicit drugs until health and psychological issues and risks are confirmed,” says study author Dr Fitzcharles, of the American College of Rheumatology in Georgia.