Fibromyalgia patients find relief from oral THC treatment
The findings on fibromyalgia come via researchers in Germany.
Patients suffering from a condition characterized by pain and fatigue could find relief in the form of oral THC treatment, according to newly published research.
The study, published in the German medical journal Schmerz and conducted by German researchers, provided “indications that THC can be considered as a medical alternative in addition to the substances previously recommended in various guidelines” for patients with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is “a condition that causes pain all over the body (also referred to as widespread pain), sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia. This is called abnormal pain perception processing,” the CDC says, adding that the condition “affects about 4 million US adults, about 2% of the adult population” and that the “cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but it can be effectively treated and managed.”
The German researchers examined a pool of 120 patients with fibromyalgia, 62 of whom were treated with THC.
“For the study, in the period 2017–2018, all patients in the pain ward of a clinic who were suffering from [fibromyalgia] and were treated in a multimodal interdisciplinary setting were selected based on inclusion criteria,” the researchers explained. “The patients were examined separately according to groups with and without THC about pain intensity, various psychometric parameters and analgesic consumption during the stay.”
“In the parameters of pain intensity, depression, and quality of life, there was a significant improvement in the entire group during the stay (p < 0.001), which was significantly greater through the use of THC. In five of the seven analgesic groups examined, the dose was reduced or the drug discontinued significantly more often in the patients treated with THC,” the researchers wrote in their conclusion.
The researchers said that, ever since Germany legalized cannabis for medical treatment in 2017, “there have been a number of qualitatively different studies on the effectiveness of [medical cannabis] in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).”
“The aim of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of THC in the course of interdisciplinary multimodal pain therapy (IMPT) on pain and several psychometric variables,” they explained.
The findings are not the first to suggest that THC could be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia patients.
In 2020, researchers in Brazil produced a study indicating that THC oil could work for such patients.
“To our knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled trial to demonstrate the benefit of cannabis oil – a THC-rich whole plant extract – on symptoms and on quality of life of people with fibromyalgia,” the researcher wrote at the time. “We conclude that phytocannabinoids can be a low-cost and well-tolerated therapy for symptom relief and quality of life improvement in these patients, and we suggest that this therapy could be included as an herbal medicine option for the treatment of this condition in the Brazilian public health system.”
They continued: “Considering the far-reaching damage caused by [fibromyalgia] and the effect it can have on individuals, their families, communities, and the public health system, it seems necessary to study alternative, low-cost, and well-tolerated therapies that help patients to regain their well-being and quality of life. The present study aims to evaluate the impact that cannabis oil—a THC-rich whole plant extract—can have on symptoms and quality of life of individuals afflicted by [fibromyalgia].”
A 2019 study from Israel, based on a six-month trial, likewise found that cannabis could be an effective pain management option for patients suffering from fibromyalgia.