Regular administration of cannabis oil is an effective treatment for individuals with fibromyalgia, according to the results of a new clinical trial.
The Brazilian researchers behind the study – ‘Ingestion of a THC-Rich Cannabis Oil in People with Fibromyalgia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial’ – published an abstract of their findings in the journal Pain Medicine
The researchers wanted to investigate whether the chronic pain symptoms experienced by people with fibromyalgia, namely musculoskeletal pain and fatigue, would be alleviated by a treatment comprising THC-rich cannabis oil. To do so, the team split up a group of 17 women with fibromyalgia into two groups. One group received THC-rich cannabis oil every day for eight weeks, with an initial dose of one drop per day that could then be increased according to need. By the end of the study, the average dose was 3.6 drops per day, which worked out at around 4.4 milligrams of THC and 0.08 milligrams of CBD. The other group was a control, so only received a placebo.
Study participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire on their fibromyalgia symptoms before the first dose, five times throughout the eight week study period and once more after the final dose. The researchers noted an ‘evident’ improvement in the well-being of those participants who were administered cannabis oil, with fewer pain attacks and more energy for daily activities.
“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 researchers wrote. “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.”
The researchers then make a call for further studies that could look at longer-term impacts of cannabis oil on fibromyalgia symptoms, as well as studies with different varieties of cannabinoids.
The latest findings add to the conclusions of an Israeli study from last year that suggested marijuana use in fibromyalgia patients may decrease pain intensity, improve sleep and alleviate symptoms of depression. Indeed, for a condition such as fibromyalgia that’s hard to treat and for which there is no cure, the therapeutic use of marijuana may be the most compassionate and effective approach.