It is estimated that roughly 2 to 4 percent of Americans have fibromyalgia, which equates to 6 to 10 million people. Though this condition affects both men and women, it is at a disproportionate rate as 90% of the people with fibromyalgia are female. Though it is relatively unknown to many, data suggests that it is as prevalent as diabetes.
So, what exactly is fibromyalgia? It is a condition that makes it difficult to perform daily activities and is associated with the following symptoms:
- Chronic widespread pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Memory problems
The intensity of the symptoms varies over time, and there are times when patients are unable to walk short distances or even perform the lightest of tasks. Despite ongoing research on fibromyalgia, doctors are yet to ascertain the primary cause of the condition. However, it has been established that system defects of the central nervous system, such as alterations in the ascending and descending pain pathways play a significant role.
To manage the conditions of fibromyalgia, patients are encouraged to make lifestyle changes such as eating healthier foods and exercising. However, with the debilitating pain that comes with the condition and no cure as well as ineffective treatments, the priority for most patients is finding a reliable way to alleviate the symptoms.
One treatment that is proving to be effective as much as it is controversial is the use of medicinal marijuana to treat fibromyalgia in Maryland. Read on to find out how cannabis is used to treat this condition and whether it is effective.
Medical Use of Marijuana
Marijuana is derived from plants in the Cannabis genus, and it has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years and by different cultures. It contains over 120 active ingredients, and some have shown a lot of promise for use as a treatment for various conditions.
Though the use of marijuana is illegal in many states, some provisions allow its use for medicinal purposes. The two main ingredients in marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Tetrahydrocannabinol is the compound in marijuana that causes users to feel high. Though it is usually smoked, it can also be consumed via edibles, oils, and capsules. On the other hand, CBD is not psychoactive and is available in a variety of products such as gummies, gels, supplements, and more.
How Does Marijuana Relieve Pain?
The human body has an endocannabinoid system which is a complex cell-signaling system that helps in sending messages between the brain and body. For this system to function, endocannabinoids pass instructions to cells by attaching to cell receptors. If this system is disrupted or unable to function properly, you may experience sleep disturbances, or feel pain, among other issues.
Marijuana contains cannabinoids that can fill in for our natural endocannabinoids in the ECS. These cannabinoids cause a decrease in pain sensitivity, which helps alleviate the pain fibromyalgia patients feel. Other symptoms that cannabinoids help alleviate are insomnia and nausea.
However, it is important to note that marijuana helps alleviate the symptoms of marijuana but does not cure the condition.
How Effective Is Marijuana for Alleviating Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
Since many fibromyalgia treatments have proven to be ineffective, patients have turned to medical marijuana as it has a renowned pain-relieving history. Though research about the effectiveness of marijuana as a fibromyalgia treatment is still ongoing, results thus far are positive.
In the Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies, released in 2017, the potential of marijuana as a treatment for some symptoms of fibromyalgia was highlighted. The National Pain Foundation also surveyed people who tried medicinal cannabis for treating fibromyalgia, and the results were as follows:
- 62 percent of participants indicated it was effective for relieving their symptoms
- 33 percent indicated that they benefit from some relief
- 5 percent suggested it offered no relief
In a study conducted in 2011 involving 28 fibromyalgia patients using marijuana for symptom relief, 43% reported experiencing strong pain relief, whereas only 7% did not experience any form of relief.
How Do I Get Medical Marijuana?
The legality and requirements for accessing and using medical marijuana vary from one state to the next. If you live in a state where the use of medical marijuana is permitted, you will need to find out what the local requirements are.
Though marijuana is not legal in Maryland, small possessions are decriminalized. Therefore, Maryland residents can comfortably use medical marijuana to alleviate their symptoms. However, to get the most benefits out of medical marijuana, it is paramount to source it from professionals conversant with fibromyalgia symptoms and treatment.
Medical Marijuana Doctors is a facility committed to providing health solutions to those who need it most. Our licensed physicians give individualized attention to all our patients. Reach out to us today to book an appointment and find out how best to alleviate your fibromyalgia symptoms.