Medical Marijuana for Fibromyalgia

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Julie is in her 50’s from Palo Alto, CA waging war against Fibromyalgia.  She’s come across medical marijuana and is wondering if it’s something she should add to her arsenal of medicines.  Here’s her story.

 

 


 

medical_marijuana_for_fibromyalgiaDear Dr. Patel,

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in my early 50s. Now in my late 50s, I’m still in that same boat as when I was first diagnosed.  I’m still in just as much pain.

It’s a constant aching pain over my entire body. Then, there are times when the pain from something as little as stubbing a toe can last all day long.

I’ve tried exercising to help my pain, but any amount of exercise wipes me out.  I’m sure the fact that I don’t sleep well doesn’t help.  Even when I get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, I wake up feeling exhausted, sore, and stiff.

Over the years I’ve probably tried every treatment that’s out there for Fibromyalgia.  

On my own I tried massage, and then acupuncture.  

I didn’t get very far with that so I decided to go to my doctor.  He started me on a medication that’s suppose to to help with nerve pain.   That didn’t cut it.  So, he had me try an anti-depressant.  We incrementally raised the dose of that and a
dded a muscle relaxant to the cocktail.  Eventually, we gave up on that option.  I went so far as trying an anti-seizure medication, which I’m taking for the time being.  It barely helps, but I don’t seem to have very many options left at this point.    

The pain and fatigue makes it so difficult to enjoy the time I spend with my family. Bearing through so much pain on daily basis has really taken it’s toll on me.  Every now and then I find myself feeling really depressed.

But, I’m still hopeful.  I continue to search for a solution with the hope that one day I will truly enjoy something as simple as a walk in the park with my kids and grandchildren.  

In my search, I’ve come across a few articles on Google about medical marijuana for Fibromyalgia, but part of me is skeptical and the other part of me is hesitant.  It is marijuana that we’re talking about after all.  

I’d like to know your thoughts on using medical marijuana for fibromyalgia symptoms.

Sincerely,
Julie
Palo Alto, CA


Julie, thanks so much for sharing your story with me. Fibromyalgia is a tough medical condition.  I have patients walking into my office beyond frustrated with their situation. But, I think you’ll be encouraged by the information I have to share with you.


Medical Marijuana for Fibromyalgia: The Research

A 2011 medical study surveyed 56 patients diagnosed with Fibromyalgia on the effects of medical marijuana.

Half of the patients had already been using marijuana for Fibromyalgia by choice because none of the conventional medical treatments worked for them. The other half had never used marijuana for Fibromyalgia before. Both groups were given a survey of questions, which they answered both before and two hours after using cannabis.

Both groups reported that cannabis not only helped relieve their pain, but also their morning stiffness, anxiety, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), and overall mood.  None of the patients reported a worsening of their symptoms when using cannabis.


Medical Marijuana for Fibromyalgia: The Results

In my own practice, my patients have reported very similar results about using medical marijuana for Fibromyalgia.  In fact, many of them tell me that they’ve finally found a medicine that helps alleviate their pain.

In addition to pain relief, my patients report reduced levels of anxiety and depression. They find that their energy levels have improved as well, which allows them to once again engage meaningfully with their family and friends.

The best news is when many of my patients return to me reporting that with the help of medical marijuana they’ve:

 

1.  significantly reduced the dose of the pharmaceutical drugs they’re on

2.  or they now don’t need to take as many pharmaceutical drugs as they were on before.  

 

Even better is when they tell me that they have completely come off the pharmaceutical drugs they were on and are able to manage their pain with just with medical marijuana on an as needed basis.

They’re able to get these results by using the marijuana in such a way that they don’t experience “the high” that’s typically associated with marijuana.

Julie, I hope this information helps to answer your question. I look forward to hearing the results of your future success story, too.

With gratitude,
Dr. Patel


Research Referenced:

More information on Medical Marijuana for Fibromyalgia:



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  • Kate

    Hi Dr. Patel,

    Thank you for the helpful information on your website.

    I wanted to briefly share my story and ask you a question about cannabis medicine.

    I have Fibromyalgia and pain from degenerated lumbar vertebrae and disks. I get nerve block injections two to four times per month for the past two years. The treatment provided a huge improvement in the beginning but it was difficult to get more forward progress.

    I finally asked my chronic pain doctor about medical marijuana. I started taking Cannabis Oil, mostly CBD formulation, on June 17.

    I’m amazed how well it works. Within 30 minutes of putting a few drops (only .25ml) on my tongue, I feel all my muscles, tendons and ligaments melt into relaxation from the frozen prison they have been in for at least five years.

    During the day, the relief lasts 6-8 hours and at night it helps with sleep.

    I can do things I couldn’t do and move in ways that weren’t possible before.

    Since I can do more things, I do. I was feeling so good on day five I over did it with several hours of gardening and shrub planting.

    When I woke up in the morning, I was rather sore but having the medicine helped relieve much of the stiffness.

    My question is, over time on the cannabis medication, will my deconditioned muscles, tendons and ligaments get used to the new activity level and reset to a new normal?

    Sincerely,

    Kate
    Clarington, Ontario

    P.s. I’m so happy to go for a walk in the woods with my dog and not have pain. ☺