Article by Angela Stelmakowich, Growth Op
Brazilian researchers have found that using THC-rich cannabis oil can help to ease the symptoms and enhance the quality of life of fibromyalgia patients.
Being one of the most common chronic pain syndromes, fibromyalgia affects more women than men and is characterized by musculoskeletal pain, extreme fatigue and sleep and/or mood disorders. In Brazil, the condition affects about three per cent of the population, mostly women aged 30 to 55.“Phytocannabinoids can be a low-cost and well-tolerated therapy to reduce symptoms and increase the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia,” notes the study, published last month in Pain Medicine. THC and CBD are just two of the 100-plus types of phytocannabinoids, chemical compounds that interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the body, contained in marijuana plants.
The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial involved 17 women with fibromyalgia from a neighbourhood with a low socioeconomic profile. Some women received the a THC-rich whole plant extract containing 24.44 mg/ml of THC and 0.51 mg/ml of CBD over eight weeks.
The initial dose was one drop (about 1.22 mg of THC and 0.02 mg of CBD) daily, with subsequent doses increasing in line with symptoms. The cannabis variety used “is recognized for its terpenoids: myrcene, caryophyllene, and pinene.”
Following the intervention, the cannabis group showed a significant decrease in Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) score compared to the placebo group, notes the study abstract. The FIQ is composed of 10 items: physical function, feel good, work missed, job ability, pain, fatigue, morning tiredness, stiffness, anxiety, and depression, each with a maximum possible score of 10.
More specifically, the women who received the high-THC oil presented significant improvement on the “feel good,” “pain,” “do work” and “fatigue” scores, the study authors report. Women in the placebo group, for their part, showed significant improvement on the “depression” score after intervention.
Overall, when comparing pre- and pos-tintervention FIQ mean scores in each group, “the cannabis group presented a statistically significant reduction, going from 75.5 to 30.5 points,” the study notes.
Prior to taking part in the trial, 62.5 per cent of women in the cannabis group had previously used antidepressants, 25 per cent had used opioids and 12.5 per cent had used benzodiazepines. “In the placebo group, the rates of the same class of medications use were 67 per cent, 33 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively.”