New Study Finds Cannabis Effective for Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Medical cannabis reduced pain and increased energy levels in those with fibromyalgia.

Using medical marijuana is effective for treating the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, according to clinical data published recently in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.

A team of Israeli researchers investigated the efficacy of inhaled marijuana on 26 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. They collected demographic, clinical, and laboratory data from the patients’ respective hospital registries, and had patients fill out a questionnaire.

The researchers found that all 26 of the patients “reported a significant improvement in every parameter on the questionnaire,” including reductions in pain and increases in energy. The study also found that several of the patients were able to return to work once they started using medical marijuana.

Most of the patients were also able to reduce their intake of traditional prescription medications, including opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines, during the trial period while they were consuming cannabis. Nearly half of the patients reduced their prescription drug intake by more than 50 percent.

“Medical cannabis treatment has a significant favorable effect on patients with fibromyalgia, with few adverse effects,” the researchers concluded.

marijuana for fibromyalgia pain

What is Fibromyalgia?

Affecting about 4 million adults in the United States, Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, as well as fatigue, memory, sleep, and mood problems.

The cause of fibromyalgia isn’t well understood, but medical professionals believe that the disorder is related to an issue with the way the brain processes pain signals, causing amplified painful sensations and tender points that hurt when pressure is put on them.

Women are twice as likely to develop fibromyalgia as men, and while the disorder can affect people of all ages, most are diagnosed during middle age.

Traditionally, fibromyalgia is treated with prescription and over-the-counter pain medications. Physical activity, good sleep habits, and stress management are treatment methods also encouraged by doctors to minimize flare-ups.

Cannabis and Fibromyalgia

This latest study is the latest in a growing body of evidence concluded that the use of cannabis and its cannabinoids are beneficial for managing symptoms related to fibromyalgia.

In one study, patients with fibromyalgia experienced significant reductions in pain and stiffness and an increase in relaxation and mood two hours after consuming cannabis. In another, cannabis was well tolerated and effective at improving sleep quality.

Of the 29 U.S. states to legalize medical marijuana, four  — Arkansas, Illinois, North Dakota, and Ohio — have approved the substance specifically for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Nearly every state with legalized medical marijuana, however, includes chronic pain as a qualifiable condition for legally obtaining medical marijuana.

Read More Cannabis Research

This latest study on cannabis and fibromyalgia, “Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia,” is available to access in full through the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology.

Thousands of studies on cannabis and its therapeutic potential for various diseases, disorders, and symptoms have been completed. You can learn more about those findings by visiting our education page, or we welcome you to keep up with the latest cannabis medical studies through our news page.