1 in 8 with Fibromyalgia Uses Medicinal Cannabis

Jul 15, 2012

One in eight peo­ple with the painful con­di­tion fibromyal­gia self-medicate with pot and other cannabis prod­ucts, accord­ing to a new Cana­dian study. “That is not unusual behav­ior, in gen­eral, for peo­ple with chronic med­ical ill­nesses for which we don’t have great treat­ments,” said Dr. Igor Grant, who heads the Cen­ter for Med­i­c­i­nal Cannabis Research at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia and was not involved in the study. “Peo­ple start look­ing around, they look for other types of reme­dies, because they need the help,” he told Reuters Health. The ques­tion is if self-medicating with cannabis is really help­ful for peo­ple with fibromyal­gia, researchers say. Mar­i­juana has been shown to ease cer­tain types of pain in patients with HIV and other con­di­tions. But Grant said he doesn’t know of any research show­ing the drug can relieve the pain asso­ci­ated with fibromyal­gia. And the ques­tion of whether it helps fibromyal­gia suf­fer­ers regain some of their daily func­tions, such as house­keep­ing or work­ing, remains up in the air, too. “We don’t want to just see pain reduc­tion, but an improve­ment in func­tion,” said Peter Ste-Marie, a pain researcher at McGill Uni­ver­sity in Mon­tréal, who worked on the new study. “If it’s not help­ing them get back into a daily life pat­tern, is it help­ing them?” Peo­ple with fibromyal­gia typ­i­cally expe­ri­ence pain in their joints and mus­cles and may also suf­fer from fre­quent headaches and fatigue. Accord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, about two per­cent of adults have fibromyal­gia, which remains a mys­tery to sci­en­tists. The con­di­tion can be treated with phys­i­cal ther­apy, anti­de­pres­sants, pain med­ica­tions and other approaches, although none of them is a cure. To see how many peo­ple turn to mar­i­juana, Ste-Marie and his col­leagues col­lected infor­ma­tion from the med­ical records of 457 patients who came to the pain unit at McGill Uni­ver­sity Health Cen­ter. Their find­ings are pub­lished in the jour­nal Arthri­tis Care & Research. All of the patients had been referred to the clinic for fibromyal­gia symp­toms, although only 302 of the patients were con­firmed to have fibromyal­gia as their pri­mary diag­no­sis. About 10 per­cent said they smoked mar­i­juana for med­ical pur­poses and another three per­cent had a pre­scrip­tion for a syn­thetic form of the active chem­i­cal in the cannabis plant. “The pop­u­lar knowl­edge of mar­i­juana being avail­able for pain would tend to demon­strate why 10 per­cent of patients would give it a try,” said Ste-Marie. “There really is no mir­a­cle drug for fibromyal­gia. We def­i­nitely under­stand that patients would try to find some­thing else,” he told Reuters Health. The researchers couldn’t tell from the study which of the patient had started smoked pot before their fibromyal­gia devel­oped. Accord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, about 40 per­cent of U.S. adults have tried mar­i­juana at some point. The study showed that pot smok­ers and non-users had the same rates of dis­abil­ity and unem­ploy­ment. How­ever, patients who had unsta­ble men­tal ill­ness or had a wor­ri­some use of opi­oid pain med­ica­tions were more likely to report using cannabis – a find­ing that raised con­cerns with Ste-Marie and his col­leagues. “Before say­ing herbal cannabis has a future in fibromyal­gia, there are mul­ti­ple things that need to be looked at,” he said. New­shawk: Kon­agold Source: Reuters (Wire) Author: Kerry Grens, Reuters Pub­lished: July 13, 2012 Copy­right: 2012 Thom­son Reuters

c0fc42f37aijuana.jpg 150x84 1 in 8 with Fibromyalgia Uses Medicinal Cannabis

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1 in 8 with Fibromyal­gia Uses Med­i­c­i­nal Cannabis

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