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Information about Fibromyalgia:
Fibromyalgia is a painful disorder affecting an estimated 5 million people. It is more common in women and is often disabling as it can make living a normal life very difficult.
Fibromyalgia is often treated with long-term lifestyle changes and powerful antidepressant medication. For many, the side effects of these medications are as bad or worst than the condition.
Marijuana is a powerful pain reliever. When in the form of CBD oil, fibromyalgia sufferers can safely treat their symptoms while avoiding the psychoactive qualities of THC. This article explains the relationship between marijuana and fibromyalgia
In this video, Bunny Hethcox tells us that her pain flares were severely reduced thanks to the use of CBD oil. She only has had them twice since 1997!
What is Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes tenderness and pain throughout the body. Its name comes from both Greek and Latin roots – fibro is the Latin word for fibrous tissue, while myo is the Greek work for muscle and algia is the Greek work for pain.
People with this disorder experience symptoms at all times of the day. Fibromyalgia can limit a person’s ability to engage in everyday activities, and make it difficult to enjoy day-to-day life. It’s considered a rheumatic condition, which means it impairs the joints and soft tissues, similar to arthritis, but it does not cause inflammation.
What Causes Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia can be caused by a number of different factors. In some cases, the disease is developed after a physically or emotionally traumatic event. In other cases, it can be caused by a repetitive injury. It can also come on after an illness or even begin spontaneously, with no apparent cause.
It may also be due to problems in how the central nervous system, includes the brain and spinal cord, processes pain signals. Genes may regulate how your body processes pain, and problems with that can cause you to experience pain even when you aren’t being actively hurt. Some genes have been identified as being more prevalent in people who suffer from fibromyalgia, which means that the disease could be healed through gene therapy.
Since the main symptoms of fibromyalgia – pain, and fatigue – are common among many diseases, it can take a long time for people to be diagnosed. Often, the patient will visit many doctors before being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, because they will need to rule out myriad other possibilities. Plus, there isn’t a diagnostic lab test for the disease, which means that people might be told that their pain is not real, or that there is nothing that can be done.
However, when a doctor understands fibromyalgia and is able to identify it correctly, they do so following criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology.
Those criteria include:
- widespread pain lasting more than three months
- cognitive difficulties
Doctors will usually consider where in the body the patient is experiencing pain, and other potential causes of that pain, to diagnose the disease.
As a chronic condition, fibromyalgia is not something that will go away. For most patients, it lasts a lifetime. However, it is not progressive, (becoming worse over time), and it is never fatal. It also does not damage the body.
Current Treatments for Fibromyalgia
There are a number of ways to minimize the impact of fibromyalgia and improve quality of life. Many of these strategies are self-administered and do not require any medical intervention.
These include habits such as:
Sleeping: A huge part of the disease is fatigue, but getting enough sleep will help minimize that. However, fibromyalgia patients might also suffer from restless leg syndrome, pain, and other symptoms that interfere with sleep, making this healthy habit difficult.
Exercise: Maintain a healthy exercise regimen to minimize pain and fatigue, even though those symptoms can make it difficult to engage in exercise. Regular exercise helps build up endurance and strengthen muscles. It is one of the most effective ways of treating fibromyalgia.
Eat Healthily: Proper nutrition provides energy for those with fibromyalgia and generally helps patients feel healthier. It will also prevent the development of additional health problems. However, no specific diet has been proven to help fibromyalgia.
Modify Daily Activities: Changes at work can help patients cope with pain. For example, a job that includes repetitive actions or heavy lifting might benefit from adaptations that make the job less painful.
There are also medical treatments for fibromyalgia. Three drugs are FDA-approved for treating the disease: duloxetine, milnacipran, and pregabalin. Duloxetine and milnacipran are antidepressants with the possible side effects of decreased appetite, confusion, seizures, muscle twitching and spasms and depression. Pregabalin treats nerve pain and seizures and may also cause mood changes, thoughts of suicide and an uneven heartbeat.
Doctors may also prescribe painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or some alternative therapies to help minimize pain.
Marijuana as a Treatment for Fibromyalgia
Marijuana can be used to treat many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, without causing dangerous side effects. It is especially good at minimizing pain, making it a logical choice for fibromyalgia. Marijuana can also be used to stimulate an appetite and improve sleep – two recommended activities for those with fibromyalgia.
A number of studies have considered how marijuana can help people with fibromyalgia improve their daily life. One study: Cannabis for fibromyalgia: its effects on health-related quality of life looked at more than the pain.
In this study, scientists talked to 56 fibromyalgia patients. Half of them were cannabis users, and half were not. The group was chosen so that they had similar demographics and clinical variables. The patients that used marijuana reported a reduction in pain two hours after using, it, as well as an increase in feelings of well-being, and general relaxation. The cannabis users also scored significantly better on mental health evaluations than non-users. The study suggests that there may be clinical proof that marijuana could help people with fibromyalgia improve their quality of life.
Another study asked, “Could clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD)” explain the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions? It then attempted to answer that question.
That study found that fibromyalgia shares common biochemical and pathophysiological patterns with other problems such as migraines and IBS. It also discovered that they may have a deficiency in naturally produce cannabinoids, which means these conditions may be treatable with cannabinoids.
CBD vs. THC
In marijuana, there are two primary ingredients: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The two have different impacts on the human body and work together to create the effects that people associate with marijuana. THC is psychoactive and causes the high that people think of when they think of pot. THC may also cause feelings of anxiety as well as fatigue.
Most strains of marijuana are bred to be high in THC since most recreational users are seeking out a version that will give them the strongest high. However, for medical purposes, it’s best to choose a strain that also has CBD in it. Many patients prefer a high CBD strain, simply because it is non-psychotic and reduces anxiety while leading to wakefulness. It can also minimize pain, making it an excellent potential treatment for fibromyalgia patients.
CBD oil is a special type of cannabis product. It typically includes little to no THC and does not cause drowsiness or increased appetite. Because CBD oil is not psychoactive, while still providing many of the medicinal benefits of marijuana, it is a popular choice for medical marijuana users.
How to take medical marijuana
There are many options for consuming marijuana to treat your fibromyalgia. Everyone has a different preference, so if you have never used marijuana before, you may need to try a few before finding your favorite.
The most common way of consuming marijuana is by smoking it either through a pipe or a joint. This method is the least expensive, since it doesn’t require any specialized equipment, and it delivers instant results. However, it will make you smell like marijuana which is unacceptable in some environments, plus the smoke can cause lung damage.
Another option is to try vaping, where you simply inhale the vapors of the drug. You can also try eating the marijuana, in the form of edibles. To do this, the drug is reduced to an oil and then baked into almost any kind of food, although brownies are the most commonly associate baked good. When using edibles, you’ll find that it takes longer to kick in, so you need to be careful not to eat more than recommended, since it will take you a while to notice the effects. However, those effects will also last longer.
If none of these work for you, you may want to look into other less common options, such as topicals, teas, and sprays. Nowadays, there are so many ways to consume CBD, that you’re sure to find one that will work well for you.
Grow your own marijuana to treat Fibromyalgia
Worldwide, people are growing marijuana for their own consumption. Part of the reason is because it’s simple. There’s a reason it is called weed.
Science is demonstrating that CBD is a great way to find relief without the negative side effects of standard painkillers. By growing marijuana, you grow your own medicine; and you can treat your fibromyalgia with nature. As science learns more about the medical potential of marijuana, it is becoming clear that it is a useful plant for a variety of conditions. Why wouldn’t you want to have some always at hand?
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