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Israeli Cannabis Study Finds Improvements In Patients With Treatment-Resistant Fibromyalgia

By Frank Schuler

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Fibromyalgia is a condition involving widespread musculoskeletal pain. The condition is accompanied by feelings of fatigue, lack of sleep, memory issues, and mood swings. It is estimated that as many as 1 out of every 20 people on earth suffers from fibromyalgia.

Women are much more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia compared to men, with roughly seven times as many women suffering from the condition compared to men. Women between the ages of 20 and 55 are particularly susceptible to being diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Pharmaceutical prescriptions, including anti-depressants, are common treatments for fibromyalgia, although most if not all of them can yield very undesirable side effects. Fortunately, cannabis provides a safer alternative to many pharmaceutical drugs, and a recent study in Israel found it to be effective. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Holon, Israel: Cannabis treatment is associated with quality of life improvements in patients with treatment-resistant fibromyalgia (FM), according to the results of a prospective cohort study published in the journal Pain Practice.

Israeli researchers evaluated cannabis’ efficacy in a cohort of 30 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. All of the study’s participants had previously failed to respond to conventional pharmaceutical treatments. Investigators assessed patients’ quality of life, general health, and physical health following 30 days of cannabis treatment.

They determined: “Cannabis treatment … showed a marked improvement in general quality-of-life by 1.97 points out of a 5-point score and enhanced general health by 1.83 scores. Cannabis treatment also improved the physical health domain score by 1.5 points. Further examination of the physical health subdomains showed a reduction of 1.67 points in pain and discomfort, pain and fatigue (1.57), and an improvement of 2.13 points in activities of daily living.”

The authors further acknowledged that cannabis use was also associated with improvements in patients’ self-esteem, mood, memory, and concentration.

“This study suggests that cannabis treatment shows short-term improvement in quality of life through its influence on pain, sleep, and physical and psychological domains,” they concluded. “Further studies are still indicated to understand this potential and its long-term beneficial impact.”

Survey data reports that fibromyalgia patients frequently consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes, and several recent observational trials have affirmed its safety and efficacy in this population. A recent review of the relevant literature, published in 2021, concluded, “[T]he use of cannabinoids and cannabis carries limited side effects in the treatment of FM, and they can also improve some common and debilitating symptoms associated with FM, thus making them an adequate potential treatment option, when other treatment lines have been exhausted.”

Full text of the study, “The role of cannabis in treatment-resistant fibromyalgia women,” appears in Pain Practice. Additional information on cannabis and FM is available from NORML.

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