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Cannabis improves quality of life in women with fibromyalgia – study

The treatment was shown to improve physical and psychological symptoms related to the condition.



Woman with fibromyalgia experiencing neck pain
Fibromyalgia can affect anyone, but it is more common in women than in men

A new study suggests cannabis could have a significant impact on quality of life for women living with fibromyalgia.

A recently-published study suggests that early treatment with cannabis could improve quality of life for women with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

The treatment was shown to improve physical and psychological symptoms related to the condition, including pain levels and sleep quality.

Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic condition which can cause a range of debilitating symptoms, including a high sensitivity to pain, muscle stiffness, brain fog, problems sleeping and low mood.

While anyone can develop fibromyalgia – it currently affects almost one in 20 people – it is more common in women than men.

There is no cure for the condition and it is notoriously hard-to-treat, with doctors often relying on prescription drugs such as opioids and antidepressants to mask the symptoms, rather than getting to the root cause. 

However, since the increased access to medical cannabis globally, more patients are reporting that the treatment is beneficial for managing many of the symptoms. Some early research from renowned cannabis scientist Dr Ethan Russo even posed the idea that fibromyalgia could be caused by a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Last year a survey of fibromyalgia patients in the US found that over 70% of participants were swapping prescription medications for CBD.

Elsewhere, previous studies showed that cannabis can be effective for pain relief and promoting better sleep, something which plays a fundamental role in the condition.

The latest findings

This study used the World Health Organisation Quality of Life Bref questionnaire (WhoQoL-bref) to examine the impact of cannabis on the quality of life in 30 women aged 18-70-years-old with treatment-resistant fibromyalgia.

After 30 days of treatment the women reported a marked improvement in general quality of life, general health, physical health and psychological domain.

According to the paper, their financial resources and home environment were not influenced by cannabis treatment.

The authors concluded: “Results suggest a potentially significant role of cannabis in treatment-resistant fibromyalgia women. Early cannabis treatment may result in a beneficial short-term effect on the quality of life through its influence on pain, sleep, physical and psychological domains. 

“Further studies are still indicated to understand this potential and its long-term beneficial impact.”

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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