Fibro and Medical Marijuana
Some sufferers of fibromyalgia are willing to do almost anything to relieve the symptoms of this chronic, non-curable condition. This syndrome causes widespread pain, extreme fatigue and even depression that can make a person's daily life very difficult.
Sufferers tend to have similar symptoms but they show up differently from person to person. Each person with fibromyalgia experiences the classic symptoms of the condition differently.
There are a variety of medical treatment options available like Mirapex, prescription muscle relaxants and progesterone treatment. Symptoms of fibromyalgia can also be relieved through lifestyle changes and alternative therapies like acupuncture, light therapy and reflexology.
The effectiveness of the treatment options varies among sufferers. Some people might find that a lot of the standard treatment options for fibromyalgia don't work well for them. They may even unsuccessfully try many of the alternative methods of treatment.
The ineffectiveness of these treatment options may lead people to try cannabis.
Cannabis for Fibro?
Study into the effectiveness of medical marijuana on treating fibromyalgia has been limited, but there are some that suggest that cannabis works to help relieve the chronic pain associated with the condition, as well as make patients feel psychologically better.
Dr. Stuart Silverman, a clinical professor of medicine and rheumatology at the Cedars-Sinai University of California in Los Angles agrees with the effectiveness of marijuana to treat fibro. He says that the unconventional drug has been used "historically and anecdotally" as a painkiller.
The studies that have been done on the effectiveness of cannabis for fibro show that the drug releases cannabinoids. These cannabinoids seem to trigger the release of more endorphins, a natural pain reliever produced by the body.
Marijuana appears to treat multiple symptoms in some fibromyalgia patients including anxiety, restless legs syndrome and difficulty sleeping.
The Problem With Medical Marijuana
Marijuana is a complex plant. It has 60 different compounds. These 60 different compounds can each cause different medicinal effects. This means that the results of treatment can be inconsistent. This inconsistency significantly reduces the effectiveness of the drug.
Some researchers, like Dr. Mark Ware, the executive director of the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids, would like to see more research into producing a synthetic drug that's based on the compounds in marijuana.
Current Cannabis-based Medicines
There are currently drugs on the market that are loosely made to copy certain compounds found in marijuana.
· Cesamet. This medicine is made from the compound nabilone found in marijuana. In fibromyalgia, it's used to help patients sleep better and ease pain. It can also help treat anxiety. Studies have shown that it's more effective than the tricyclic antidepressant, amitriptyline.
· Nabilone. This drug contains a synthetic version of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1985 to relieve the nausea experienced by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. It's rarely used to treat fibromyalgia patients.
· Marinol. Another cannabis-based drug that contains the synthetic version of dronabinol. It's FDA-approved to treat vomiting and nausea associated with chemotherapy. The FDA hasn't formally tested and approved it for the treatment of fibromyalgia, but some patients have received prescriptions for it. Some patients have said the drug relieves the pain but makes them feel more tired.
· Sativex. Another cannibas-based drug containing THC and cannabidiol. It's undergoing clinical trials in the US as a way to treat cancer pain. Early studies show the drug eases pain and inflammation and can help relieve anxiety. It's sprayed directly into the mouth either into the cheek or under the tongue.
Legality of Medical Marijuana
The use of medical marijuana is closely regulated. But it is legal to use in some states in the United States. The rules and regulations between the states where herbal cannabis is legal vary widely. It's currently legal in 14 states.
Patients are required to have a special card that allows them to legally posses the drug. The requirements for a license vary from state as does the cost. There's an annual fee for a medical marijuana license.