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Human Clinical Trial Says Yes To Cannabis For Fibromyalgia

Branna Z.
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New human clinical trial investigates cannabis for fibromyalgia treatment in hope of determining which ratios of CBD:THC are most effective in stopping the pain of this chronic condition.

There is an urgent need to find suitable replacements for opioids in the treatment of chronic pain. One of the most promising possibilities is the cannabis plant, with its over 500 medicinal components. Cannabinoids are the most active of these and exhibit their pharmacological effects through CB1 and CB2 receptors, as well as G-protein coupled receptors. A recent human clinical trial found that patients are meeting with success in using cannabis for fibromyalgia.

Cannabinoids Treat the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Firstly, receptors that receive cannabinoids are part of the endocannabinoid system. THC signals a variety of effects, including pain relief and psychotropic effect. CBD, the other major cannabinoid, reduces inflammation and also has analgesic properties (among others).

study published in the journal, Pain (December, 2018)explored the effects of medical grade cannabis on fibromyalgia syndrome. This condition causes widespread chronic pain and is often afflicted by secondary symptoms, such as: sleep disturbance, tiredness, memory deficits.

Researchers Test Four Combinations of Cannabis for Fibromyalgia

Observations were made regarding the effects of inhaled pharmaceutical-grade, full spectrum cannabis. CBD:THC strain ratios that were investigated include:

Bedrocan®  22% THC (220mg/g) and less than 1% CBD.

Bediol® 6.3% THC (63mg/g) and 8% CBD (80mg/g)

Bedrolite® 9% CBD (90mg/gr) and less than 1% THC.

Placebo derived from the Bedrocan® cannabis variety by the selective removal of the cannabinoids.

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Image credit: Feed the Birds

What Does A Clinical Trial of Cannabis For Fibromyalgia Look Like?

Twenty-five patients participated in the study of the age 39 ± 13 years. The patients reported their pain in several categories. These include experimental pressure pain, electrical pain, and spontaneous pain. Patients also reported on the progress of psychotropic effects.

Cannabis medicine was received through a dosed inhalation balloon.

Consequently, the results of the study confirm what we already know about cannabis for fibromyalgia. A ratio of 1:1 (CBD:THC), like that found in the Bediol® strain, works best. Individuals using this strain reported 30% decrease in spontaneous pain over those using placebo.

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How Does Cannabis Treat Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

A summary of the results:

Spontaneous pains scores were lowest when THC psychoactivity was highest. As patients ‘came down’ from the high, the pain started to return.

Pain pressure thresholds were higher for subjects using strains with high THC concentrations (Bedrocan® and Bediol®). This means that participants were able to withstand greater levels of pressure before registering this as pain.

The high CBD strain, Bedrolite®, did not kill fibromyalgia pain. Its presence increased blood plasma levels of THC, but this also resulted in less pain relief.  One possible reason could be that CBD prevents THC from binding to the CB1 receptor. This points to the complex interactions that take place with full spectrum cannabis medicine.

Lastly, further studies will evaluate efficacy and safety for prolonged treatment. These will also determine the role psychotropic activity plays in killing pain. For now, cannabis is a good medicine for relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Branislava Zagorac
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