Fibromyalgia Sufferers: Two Thirds Of Patients Report Relief With Marijuana

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Fibromyalgia continues to be a poorly understand disease. Doctors believe that people who have the disorder may interpret pain signals differently from others, making them prone to chronic discomfort. The disorder can be so disabling that a full half report difficulty holding a job, despite getting medical treatment for the condition. Characterized by all-over body soreness, to the point of lack of mobility, some doctors and psychologists have said it is a psychiatric condition – caused by depression, anxiety, or life problems. This has seemed to be pervasive in the medical community and makes it difficult for those who suffer from the syndrome to get adequate medical treatment and pain relief.

Muscle pain and lethargy in fibromyalgia can be severe, with muscles at various “hot spots” being tender to the outside touch – which is the chief way that physicians diagnose fibromyalgia. Various areas, with points along with neck, spine, and arms being chief indicators, are so painful that it is not unusual for a patient to cry out when they are touched. Nobody is sure what causes fibromyalgia. It does seem to occur frequently in those who suffer from migraine headaches and primarily in women, but the correlation of these facts is cloudy at best. What is known is that traditional pain method relief has been a dismal failure – narcotics help some

Nobody is sure what causes fibromyalgia. It does seem to occur frequently in those who suffer from migraine headaches and primarily in women, but the correlation of these facts is cloudy at best. What is known is that traditional pain method relief has been a dismal failure – narcotics help some people but bring a host of other unpleasant risks including severe constipation and risk of opioid dependence. As with any opioid use, over time, the body requires more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effect. Since Fibromyalgia is considered to be a chronic illness – although spontaneous remissions have been reported – this is concerning for physicians and patients alike. Physicians, in general, have been criticized for prescribing too many opioids, which is arguably tied to illicit drug use when prescribed dosages fail to bring relief.

What is known for sure is that Fibromyalgia sufferers have a decreased quality of life in many areas – work, recreation, relationships, and mental health. As the disease is studied, researchers have found several things that may improve the quality of life for those who live with Fibromyalgia, and one of those is very controversial – the use of marijuana, according to Chronic Body Pain.

New York City announced plans to forgo arresting people caught with marijuana in amounts less than 25 grams, represented by the bag of oregano above, [Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

The legality of marijuana is a state by state issue, with some states completely outlawing it, others allowing it by prescription for medical use, and yet others saying it’s ok to use recreationally. This is an issue that the United States has had a major shift of thought on – just 10 years ago, marijuana was considered little more than an illegal drug that was sure to lead to harder drugs. Currently, most Americans view medical marijuana in a positive light as compared to opioids, which is good news for people who suffer from chronic conditions like Fibromyalgia.

According to a survey conducted by the National Pain Foundation in 2014, more that 1,300 patients with Fibromyalgia were polled. Over 300 had reported using marijuana to help ease their symptoms. From that data, it was noted that two-thirds reported considerable pain relief with just five percent reporting no pain relief at all.

Traditional treatments of fibromyalgia like the drug Cymbalta failed considerably in the survey, with only 10 percent or so reporting good relief. Users of Cymbalta have reported various degrees and types of difficulty with the drug, including weight gain, edema or swelling of legs and feet, and a feeling of “brain fog” which may increase when one attempts to stop Cymbalta. Other more serious side effects have been reported, as is the case with many antidepressant drugs.

While doctors in some states are free to prescribe marijuana to their patients, others must wait on legislation.

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