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Why better sleep may help medical cannabis patients with fibromyalgia pain

Patients using medical cannabis for fibromyalgia pain may benefit even more from a good night’s sleep



Fibromyalgia: A tub of cream with a cannabis leaf on top. There is a leaf next to the tub on a marble tabletop

A new study has reported that patients using medical cannabis to ease fibromyalgia-related pain may benefit even more with a good night’s sleep

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread chronic pain and extreme tiredness. Some of the symptoms include widespread pain, extreme sensitivity, stiffness, fatigue and problems with sleep. It may also cause issues with cognitive function (‘fibro-fog’) and headaches.

The Canadian study stated that issues such as anxiety, sleep problems or depression can increase pain intensity and poor well-being. Medical cannabis may help with these issues helping to decrease the overall pain.

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The study involved patients who had started medical cannabis under the supervision of a physician between 2015 to 2018. A total of 2,068 patients had chronic non-cancer pain of which 308 (14.9 per cent) had fibromyalgia. The researchers examined the products, routes, doses and symptom variables of the patients at baseline then every three months for a year.

Fibromyalgia results

When it came to pain relief, most patients using THC and CBD reported ‘significant improvements in pain intensity and well-being following initiation of medical cannabis.’

The researchers also reported that reduced pain intensity was mediated by less negative affect and sleep issues. They discovered that the patient’s well-being was improved by a reduction in negativity and pain intensity.

They suggested that the findings show medical cannabis could be a good recommendation for fibromyalgia.

It was also reported that patients with higher levels of pain and negative affect tended to discontinue taking medical cannabis.

The study found that fibromyalgia patients were turning to the option after finding they were generally ‘poorly responsive to current treatments.’

Cannabis for fibromyalgia

This study echoes similar findings from other fibromyalgia studies.

Earlier this year, another study discovered that female patients with fibromyalgia and chronic pelvic pain patients are switching to CBD to help with their symptoms.

Pelvic pain is a common symptom in fibromyalgia patients, although it is not understood how the two conditions are linked.

The 1,382 female participants in the study were given a survey distributed by the National Fibromyalgia Association in April and May 2020.

76 per cent of users said they were able to substitute CBD for other medications including opioids, NSAIDS, gabapentinoids and benzodiazapams.

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