Fibromyalgia and Medical Marijuana

“Make the most of the hemp seed, sow it everywhere”, George Washington

I’m not very humble when I say that I believe my book will one day be a steppingstone toward a greater understanding about why certain types of people are more prone to fibromyalgia. Furthermore, I haven’t read any books which outline all of the various theories regarding the cause of this condition such as mine has. Hearing the voices of others who suffer daily can help the reader know that s/he is not alone in the day- to- day struggles. I give details of various treatment modalities and I believe the book to be a valuable source of information about not only cause but what can be helpful in living with the daily challenges of this dis-ease. Yet, surprisingly, in spite of this comprehensive review and analysis I had never explored whether or not  marijuana (Cannibas Sativa)  as prescribed by a physician could be useful for pain control. In fact, even now I have mixed feelings about the issues surrounding fibromyalgia and marijuana use even though I believe that cannibas is very helpful for several other medical conditions, in particular following chemotherapy.

In the February,2008  issue of Journal of Pain it was reported that 40 patients were part of a study at the University of Manitoba in which a control and an experimental group were given either a placebo or Nabilone, (brand name Cesamet) a pain drug based on marijuana’s active ingredient. The results indicated that after one month there was significantly less pain and a better quality of life for those who took Nabilone.

I believe that the ways in which cannabinoids are taken is extremely significant. For example, smoking could not in any way be thought to be beneficial for someone with fibromyalgia since smoking is harmful to the lungs and of course increases chances of cancer, among other conditions. Those with terminal cancer and in great pain have been reported to do well with smoking  marijuana, whereas, someone with such conditions as Multiple Sclerosis or  Rheumatoid Arthritis have benefited from an oral spray. Others have suggested that eating various forms of cannabis, in the form of cake (brownies) can help with certain conditions.

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The battles to legalize or decriminalize marijuana are ongoing in many countries, but it is not my intent to discuss those legal issues. Instead, I would place the smoking of marijuana and regular tobacco, as well as alcohol consumption in the same category and believe that all three are harmful for those of us with fibromyalgia and an already out of control nervous system. While I have never smoked anything, I am not  a moral judge of anyone who does. I myself am addicted to sugar (chocolate especially) and know what a battle addictions can be! I used to enjoy a glass of wine with a meal but have given that up now for many years as it acted as a stimulant and made me feel worse. Oh! The discipline required to avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and fast foods. However, we all chose (or not) our own poisons. Furthermore, I am not suggesting that those who smoke an occasional joint or who drink alcohol sensibly are addicts. My point here is that these habits are not particularly helpful for those of us with fibromyalgia, particularly since we already have highly sensitive nervous systems!

Many believe that smoking or taking marijuana in any form helps to relieve their fibromyalgia pain . People who do so and have reported this publicly usually have a prescription from their physicians. To report  publicly otherwise is to face  breaking the law in many countries. I have no doubt they have reached the point that their pain is unbearable and none of us can place a judgement on them. We cannot walk in any other person’s shoes. I would hope however that the choice is one made with the understanding of other risks involved (if smoked) that could worsen fibromyalgia. My final thought though is not about the use of marijuana, but rather of the many legal chemical medications  that are often prescribed for fibromyalgia and the trauma to our bodies from over medicalization.

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