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In a community pilot survey of 2016 involving Australians with fibromyalgia, they found out that having the condition has a high impact on work ability. The adverse effects of fibromyalgia on work are often heavy during the symptoms’ onset or before fibromyalgia is diagnosed [1].  

 Fibromyalgia affects at least 2% of Australia’s population. It mainly preys on young to middle-aged women [1]. Early diagnosis and immediate intervention of fibromyalgia provides an opportunity to immediately prevent the risk of work disability and other life inconveniences. 

What is fibromyalgia? 

 Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain in the bones and muscles. Sometimes, it can cause inflammation, the feeling of tiredness, sleeping, and cognitive disruptions [2]. Fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed because its manifestations are similar to other illnesses [3].  

 Fibromyalgia is challenging to treat, but with the right combination of medication, therapy, and some lifestyle adjustments, its symptoms can be managed. 

What are its symptoms? 

 Fibromyalgia causes pain in some parts of the body referred to as “regions of pain.” The patient will feel a consistent dull ache in those regions. A patient is diagnosed with fibromyalgia if he experiences muscle and bone pain in the 4 or more regions of pain outlined in the Fibromyalgia Diagnostic Criteria [4]. 

Other symptoms of fibromyalgia includes: 

  •  A general feeling of fatigue 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Sleeping for an ample amount of time but waking up feeling as though you haven’t slept 
  • Headaches 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Cognitive disturbances such as trouble in focusing 
  • Consistent ache in the lower belly 
  • Dry eyes 
  • Problems in the bladder

[2] 

Current treatment for fibromyalgia

Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Most of the treatments on Fibromyalgia are focused on managing its symptoms so that even if a person has it, they can still live a full and quality life [5]. 

 Some of the common fibromyalgia management methods are through:  

  1. Medication: Some of the used medicines for treating fibromyalgia’s symptoms are pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-epileptic drugs.
  2. Self-care methods: Fibromyalgia is sometimes triggered by stress. By taking steps in mellowing down stress, one can better manage fibromyalgia’s symptoms. Some self-care methods include physical therapy, meditation, acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, massage therapy, and the likes.
  3. Lifestyle changes: Some fibromyalgia patients report to feel better by changing their usual diet. Although a particular diet isn’t proven yet as a triggering factor for fibromyalgia flare-ups, it helps keep the body healthy by engaging in a well-balanced diet. 

[2] 

Can medical cannabis treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia? 

 Medical cannabis may help alleviate some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, there is still a lot to explore on marijuana’s effectiveness as another form of treatment [6]. To demonstrate marijuana’s potential on symptom management, here are some of the best research landmarks.  

 Contrary to popular belief, many fibromyalgia patients use marijuana for fibromyalgia symptoms [7]. In a 2017 published resource called the Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies, the author expounded on why Cannabis and related products effectively manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia, particularly with pain [8].  

CBD or cannabidiol, an active component in cannabis, particularly garner interest for fibromyalgia treatment among researchers [9].   

  1. Cannabis for fibromyalgia-related pain: The National Academies Press or NAP in 2017 published a review on the therapeutic effects on cannabis. They concluded the study stating that cannabis is effective in treating chronic pain among adults [10]. 
  2. Cannabis for fibromyalgia-related sleep problems: In a 2011 study, 81% of the study participants who used cannabis experienced strong relief from sleeping disturbances [6].  

 Finally, a study published in 2010 capitalized on the use of nabilone, a synthetic drug that mimics the effects of marijuana. The researchers found out that nabilone helps in relieving sleeping issues among fibromyalgia patients [11]. 

CanView does not endorse the use of Medicinal Cannabis without lawful prescription. Just like any Medicine, Medicinal Cannabis may have both positive and negative side effects on the user and should only be prescribed to patients by a Health Professional with the authority and expertise to do so. The information provided by CanView is for informational and educational purposes and is of a general nature. If you are interested in accessing Medicinal Cannabis please talk to your doctor and request a referral to a Medicinal Cannabis clinic.   

Endnotes: 

 1.Guymer, E.K, et al. 2016. Fibromyalgia onset has a high impact on work ability in Australians. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/imj.13135

2.Cherney, K. 2020. Everything You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/fibromyalgia

3.Web MD. N.D. Common Misdiagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/common-misdiagnoses-of-fibromyalgia 

4.Wolfe, F, et al. 2016. 2016 Revisions to the 2010/2011 fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.semarthrit.2016.08.012

5.Arthritis Foundation. N.D. Treatments Worth Trying for Fibromyalgia. Available at: https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/more-about/treatments-worth-trying-for-fibromyalgia

6.Fiz, J, et al. 2011. Cannabis Use in Patients with Fibromyalgia: Effect on Symptoms Relief and Health-Related Quality of Life. Available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0018440

7.Vandergriendt, C. 2019. Can Medical Marijuana Alleviate Fibromyalgia Symptoms? Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/fibromyalgia/marijuana-fibromyalgia#does-it-work

8.2017. Farre, M, et al. Cannabis Use in Fibromyalgia. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Magi_Farre/publication/312152936_Chapter_e16_Cannabis_Use_in_Fibromyalgia/links/59f20dcca6fdcc1dc7bb0f16/Chapter-e16-Cannabis-Use-in-Fibromyalgia.pdf

9.Anthony, K. 2020. CBD for Fibromyalgia. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-for-fibromyalgia

10.National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. Available at: https://www.nap.edu/read/24625/chapter/6#90

11.Ware, M, et al. 2010. The Effects of Nabilone on Sleep in Fibromyalgia: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Available at: http://www.med.mcgill.ca/epidemiology/joseph/publications/Medical/ware2010.pdf