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Best Medical Marijuana Strains for Fibromyalgia

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Best Medical Marijuana Strains for Fibromyalgia

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 10/16/2019 in Medical Marijuana

Updated on January 21, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

There’s a lot going on in your noggin. A complex interplay of chemical messengers keeps your brain functioning optimally. But for people with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder of central nervous system processing, the normal flow of these chemicals gets disrupted.

Consequently, you can experience bizarre symptoms, such as chronic widespread pain, low energy and sleep problems, so you wake up feeling as tired as when you went to bed. You might also suffer headaches, migraines and bladder issues. If you suspect you’re among the 1-4% of people with fibromyalgia, medical marijuana may help temporarily relieve your symptoms. A study in the Journal of Clinical Medicine of 367 fibromyalgia patients treated at a specialized cannabis clinic found nearly 71% responded to medical marijuana. Their pain intensity dropped from a 9 on a scale of 0 to 10, on avereage, to 5. The study’s authors concluded that “medical cannabis appears to be a safe and effective alternative for treating fibromyalgia symptoms.” Which strains offer the most benefit? If marijuana is legal in your state or fibromyalgia is a qualifying medical condition, feel free to do your own experiment to see what works for you. Although lots more research needs to be done, here’s the latest on the best strains for symptom relief.

Start With an Indica

Most cannabis sold today is a hybrid of two major strains, indica and sativa. If you’re not sure where to begin, ask for a strain that’s indica-dominant. A survey of 95 medical cannabis users in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found a significant majority preferred indica to sativa for managing pain. Indica strains’ therapeutic effects include relaxing the mind and muscles, reducing inflammation, aiding sleep and reducing anxiety. Some people prefer to use them at night because of their sedating effect.

Seek out Strains by Name

Whether you should simplify shopping for medical cannabis by asking for an indica-dominant strain is a matter of debate. Some experts say it’s a better bet to seek out strains by name that are known for their mix of CBD, THC, and terpenoids (plant extracts) that produce the desired therapeutic effect. Suggested strains for pain relief include:

  • Blackberry Kush: This indica-dominant strain may help with fibromyalgia-induced sleep problems. It’s known for its high THC content of up to 20 percent.
  • ACDC: This sativa-dominant strain is known for its high CBD-to-THC profile, which makes it an effective pain killer.
  • Harlequin, a sativa-dominant strain, offers high levels of CBD that make it effective for pain relief, tamping down THC’s side effects.
  • Cannatonic. This hybrid strain offers a low THC-to-CBD ratio, which some find helpful for pain management.
  • Supernova. This indica-dominant hybrid may have THC content of up to 25%. Some find it effective for fibromyalgia relief.
  • Blue Dream. This sativa- and THC-dominant hybrid is known for its pain relieving powers. Because it isn’t overly sedating, it may be appropriate for daytime use.
  • Golden Goat. If the stress of having a chronic condition is taking an emotional toll, Golden Goat may be for you. It may boost euphoria for a full-body effect.

Mix and Match

For fibromyalgia relief, keep in mind that one size doesn’t fit all. You may need to experiment with different strains and forms of medical marijuana and adjust your dose more than once until you find the right one or combination from your dispensary that helps control pain while minimizing side effects. Be sure to talk with your doctor too, especially if you’re also taking prescription medications for fibromyalgia, such as gabapentin (Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica) or duloxetine (Cymbalta). These prescription drugs can help provide temporary relief by limiting the central nervous system’s release of chemicals that communicate pain, but you want to make sure they will mesh well with your medical marijuana regimen. Are the medical marijuana strains you choose providing symptom relief? To help you assess if your prescribed (or self-prescribed) fibromyalgia treatment is working, complete the patient global impression of change (PGIC). The seven-question survey will help you gauge whether you’re feeling better or worse over time.

About the author

Sandra Gordon is a writer specializing in health and medicine for consumers and physicians. She has written for Everyday Health, Prevention, Healthgrades, Parents, the Cleveland Clinic, NYU Langone Health, Harvard Medical School, Your Teen, WebMD and many more.

Marijuana can help with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder of central nervous system processing, the normal flow of these chemicals gets disrupted.

CBD Picks for Fibromyalgia

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Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical compound naturally found in cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another type of cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t cause a feeling of being “high.”

Since 2018, when a federal bill legalized hemp cultivation and sales across the country, the availability of CBD products has increased dramatically. Some state laws still forbid the sale of hemp products, but many have adopted the federal government’s policy of legalization.

For decades, research into CBD and other cannabinoids has been limited because of these federal restrictions on hemp and cannabis. Research into CBD’s benefits is still new, but early studies show promising results. This is especially true for issues like sleep, anxiety, and pain.

But as with many health and wellness products, the market for CBD is largely unregulated.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t approve or police CBD products. It also doesn’t have specific guidelines for claims or terminology used by CBD companies.

Governance of CBD products, what little there is, remains largely up to the manufacturers themselves.

That makes it all the more important you do your own research before purchasing any CBD products. Understanding the markers of good CBD products can help you bypass inferior products and save money.

For people with fibromyalgia, a condition causing chronic pain and fatigue, CBD can be a helpful tool in a battery of treatment options.

While there’s no current cure for fibromyalgia, some lifestyle adjustments and self-care techniques may go a long way to alleviating symptoms of the condition. CBD may be a part of that treatment strategy.

Keep reading to learn about five CBD products that may be a good pick for people with fibromyalgia, and how you can use CBD for symptoms of this condition.

To look at CBD for fibromyalgia, let’s start with the basics of the condition and current medical treatments.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain all over the body. It can also cause:

  • fatigue
  • tenderness
  • sleep problems
  • cognitive disturbances

Treatment focuses on easing or reducing symptoms, and managing pain. These treatments include:

  • medications, such as prescription and over-the-counter pain medications
  • self-care strategies, including stress reduction and aerobic exercise
  • lifestyle changes, such as adjustments to diet and sleep patterns

Researchers have looked at cannabis as a possible treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms.

Several studies have examined the effect cannabis (THC strains and hemp plants) has on fibromyalgia broadly and on symptoms of the condition more specifically.

CBD can help fibromyalgia, but research includes other cannabinoids, too

Most of the studies that have looked at managing fibromyalgia with cannabinoids have included THC in the dose. THC, or the active ingredient in cannabis that causes a “high,” isn’t legal in all U.S. states.

These studies have found that people with fibromyalgia experience some improvements in pain when taking CBD combined with THC.

But because the doses given to study participants have included THC, it’s not possible to say yet what effect CBD alone might have.

CBD, like THC, interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a complex system responsible for signaling cells throughout the body.

Cannabinoids like THC and CBD can interact with your ECS. When they do, research tells us the ECS sends out signals that work to decrease inflammation and reduce feelings of pain and discomfort. Both of these benefits could help people with fibromyalgia.

For that reason, it may be more beneficial to look at CBD usage as a way to help some symptoms of fibromyalgia instead of treating the whole condition broadly.

In that regard, we see a number of successful studies already.

Research on CBD benefits

  • Chronic pain. A 2018 research review reported that CBD may be able to treat chronic pain, such as what people with fibromyalgia experience.
  • Sleep quality. A small 2019 study found that people who took CBD daily reported better sleep and less anxiety.
  • Depression. Another 2018 research review found that CBD usage may benefit conditions like depression, which do occur in people with fibromyalgia frequently.

Most of these studies also reported few, if any, adverse effects or problems with CBD usage. That may be reason enough for people living with fibromyalgia to try out CBD and see whether it helps.

CBD oil may help best for fibromyalgia symptoms like pain and insomnia. Here’s what to know.