Cannabis for Fibromyalgia Relief: Does it Work?


Fibromyalgia is a condition identified by fatigue, chronic pain, memory problems, and sleeping difficulty. There are many unknowns concerning the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis in treating fibromyalgia symptoms. Can fibromyalgia patients benefit from cannabis? Does it actually relieve the pain?

Can Medical Marijuana Treat Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

Marijuana originates from plants in the Cannabis genus. It contains two primary active ingredients or compounds called cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

  • CBD is a nonpsychoactive compound. In short, it doesn't produce any of the "high" associated with THC. It gets consumed in the form of supplements, gels, oils, gummies, extracts, and more.
  • THC is the psychoactive compound that provides a high feeling. It gets administered into your system through smoking. It is available in other forms, such as capsules, oils, and edibles. 

Marijuana products may contain just THC or CBD, or a mixture of both. Many people use marijuana products to treat their fibromyalgia symptoms. A book published in 2017, called The Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies, stated that medical marijuana and related products might be valuable in treating some symptoms of fibromyalgia.

However, many researchers agree that additional studies are necessary to understand the role of marijuana and its active components in treating fibromyalgia effectively. There are a few studies made that already examined the value of CBD versus THC for symptoms of fibromyalgia. Here’s a short outline of the studies made for widespread fibromyalgia symptoms:

Fibromyalgia Pain and Medical Marijuana

The National Academies Press (NAP), in 2017, published a full review of the health benefits of cannabis, including therapeutic effects. According to this review, considerable evidence showed that cannabis helps treat adults of their chronic pain.

Few studies observed exclusively the pain associated with fibromyalgia. There was a 2011 study. It had 28 participants who administered cannabis meant for fibromyalgia. The patients also ranked its perceived benefits for each fibromyalgia symptom. In conclusion, approximately 43% reported considerable or substantial pain relief, and another 43% reported mild pain relief. The remaining participants indicated no improvement in their pain symptoms.

In comparison, a 2018 study composed of 25 people with fibromyalgia compared the pain-relieving effects of four kinds of marijuana. Each type had varying degrees of CBD and THC contents. Surprisingly, one of the four types of medical marijuana was just a placebo that did not contain any THC or CBD.

Following the placebo treatment, about 44% of the participants showed a 30% reduction in their pain, while 24% reported a 50% pain reduction. This study’s conclusion showed that compared to the placebo, medical marijuana showed no significant effect on the participant pain rankings.

Therefore, more studies are necessary to understand whether medical marijuana can be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia pain.

Fibromyalgia Sleep Problems and Medical Marijuana

A review from NAP in 2018 concluded that there is a moderate level of evidence that cannabis-related products can assist people with fibromyalgia in improving theirs in the short term.

In the 2011 study, 81% of the participants who used medical marijuana to treat their fibromyalgia reported that they received substantial relief from their sleep problems.

Finally, a study investigated the properties and effects of nabilone, a synthetic drug with results that are comparable to those of medical marijuana. The researchers discovered that nabilone considerably helped those with fibromyalgia attain improved sleep.

What Options Do Fibromyalgia Patients Have?

Some people find fibromyalgia relief by using cannabis, while others do not. Also, the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating other fibromyalgia symptoms remains unclear.

If you’re thinking about using medical marijuana to start relieving your fibromyalgia symptoms, start by knowing your local laws first. If marijuana isn’t legal where you live, don’t attempt to get through illegal means. Moreover, always consult a medical doctor before trying to use marijuana as a reliever for your fibromyalgia symptoms. 

A doctor can assist you in weighing the risks involved and the potential benefits of using marijuana for fibromyalgia. Also, a doctor can tell you whether medical marijuana is legally available in your location.

The Side Effects And Risks Of Taking Medical Marijuana

Cannabis can cause objectionable short-term side effects. These are the following:

  • Confusion
  • Changes in perception
  • Mood swings
  • Impaired movement
  • Lack of concentration
  • Impaired memory
  • A high dose of marijuana triggers delusions, hallucinations, and psychosis.

Research into the long-term risks associated with near-daily or daily marijuana use is still ongoing. In addition, some potential risks of long-term marijuana intake are the following:

  • Addiction
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Mental illnesses
  • Circulatory problems
  • Respiratory problems

Fibromyalgia and Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care

A natural option that people have to relieve their fibromyalgia symptoms is upper cervical chiropractic. This is a vital category of chiropractic that focuses on the restoration of healthy brain-body communication via the brainstem. Realigning misaligned bones in the upper cervical spine restores proper nerve and body communication.

The brainstem is the central hub, which sends signals between the rest of the body and the brain. It plays a significant role in the processing and delivery of pain signals. Surrounding and protecting the brainstem is the atlas vertebra, which sits at the very top of the neck.

Trauma, extreme pressure, or injury can cause the atlas (C1) to misalign. As a result, it starts to irritate the nerves that it should be protecting.  If this occurs, it compromises the optimal blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow between the neck and the head. As a result, this disturbance of normal nervous system function may be an underlying cause of fibromyalgia. Thus, it can easily explain why symptoms such as chronic pain, fatigue, and cognitive issues happen to fibromyalgia patients.

Upper cervical chiropractic care has proven it can help fibromyalgia patients find dramatic relief and improvement. In short, once the atlas is adjusted and healthy neurological function restored, healing begins, and people with fibromyalgia may experience relief and resolution of their chronic pains and other symptoms. 

Therefore, look through our website for help in finding an upper cervical chiropractor near you.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.