People who suffer from fibromyalgia do better with marijuana treatment than with any of the prescription drugs approved to treat the condition.
A new study of 1,339 fibromyalgia patients by the National Pain Foundation and NationalPainReport.com found that those who used weed to treat their symptoms say it’s much more effective than any of the three fibromyalgia drugs approved by the FDA.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that involves pain sensation in the body. Musculoskeletal pain is accompanied by fatigue, sleep issues, memory problems, and mood disturbances. Tension headaches are also common, as are joint disorders and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The condition affects nearly 6 million Americans, almost 2 percent of the population. It hits nine times more women than men.
Fibromyalgia is a global disorder, affecting multiple parts of the body, and its cause is unknown – though genes, environment, neurobiology, and psychological factors are believed to play a role. There is no cure, and the condition is chronic, meaning it will last until death.
There are treatments, however, including three prescription medications approved by the FDA. These include Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella. Patients rated each of these drugs poorly in the survey.
Fibromyalgia patients overwhelmingly said all three of the drugs don’t work “at all,” though they performed roughly the same. Sixty percent of patients said Cymbalta doesn’t work at all, while 61 percent said the same of Lyrica and 68 percent of Savella.
Smaller numbers agreed the three drugs work “a little”: 32 percent for Cymbalta, 29 percent for Lyrica, and 22 percent for Savella. Meanwhile, just 8 percent said Cymbalta was “very effective,” compared to 10 percent for Lyrica and 10 percent for Savella.
But cannabis was the clear winner among patients who responded to the survey. A whopping 62 percent said weed is very effective at treating Fibromyalgia. Thirty-three percent said it helps a little while just 5 percent said it doesn’t work at all.
That’s another ringing endorsement for medical marijuana. Recent research has recommended the drug for everything from Alzheimer’s prevention to diabetes control.
Researchers included comments from fybromyalgia patients. “Nothing but medical marijuana has made the greatest dent in the pain and mental problems” was a typical remark.
The study focused almost exclusively on female patients, with only 4 percent of respondents being male. Half were diagnosed between 18 and 34 years old, while 38 percent received a diagnosis between 35 and 49. Twelve percent were diagnosed at 50 or older.
Most of the patients had fibromyalgia for at least a few years before receiving a diagnosis. Nearly half, 44 percent, had the disorder for more than five years before they were diagnosed and began treatment. Just 11 percent received a diagnosis within a year of the onset of symptoms.