A new study, conducted by Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles from the Montreal General Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Canada, examined the relationship between medical marijuana and the alleviation of fibromyalgia symptoms. According to the study, approximately 10% of patients suffering from fibromyalgia use medical marijuana to ease their symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness with symptoms including pain, headaches, fatigue, and problems sleeping. The illness is more common among young women, but only affects 3% of the population.
Along with her colleagues, Fitzcharles surveyed 302 patients with fibromyalgia and 155 patients who suffered from other forms of chronic pain. Of those who participated, 13% were given cannabinoids to treat their symptoms and 80% were given marijuana.
72% of the patients who used marijuana reported using one gram or less per day to alleviate their symptoms. The marijuana smokers were found to have suffered adverse side effects as well, including mental illness, unemployment, and desire to use opioid painkillers.
Fitzcharles explained, “While self-medicating with cannabinoids may provide some pain relief to fibromyalgia patients, we caution against general use of illicit drugs until health and psychosocial issue risks are confirmed.”