Study: Cannabis Products Associated with Improved Symptoms in Patients with Fibromyalgia, Less Opioid Use

London, United Kingdom: Fibromyalgia (FM) patients who use cannabis products for at least one month report improvements in their health-related quality of life, according to observational data published in the journal Brain and Behavior.

British investigators assessed the safety and efficacy of plant-derived cannabis products (either oils, flower, or a combination of both) in over 300 FM patients enrolled in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry. All of the participants possessed a doctor’s authorization to access cannabis products. (Since 2018, specialists have been permitted to prescribe cannabis-based medicinal products to patients unresponsive to conventional medications.) Authors assessed the efficacy of cannabis at one, three, six, and 12 months.

Researchers reported: “Statistically significant improvements [were] observed in validated fibromyalgia-specific, pain, sleep, anxiety, and health-related quality of life metrics. Furthermore, a statistically significant reduction in opioid consumption was seen at the end of [the] follow-up. … CBMPs [cannabis-based medicinal products] were generally well-tolerated.”

They concluded, “CBMP treatment was associated with improvements in fibromyalgia-specific symptoms, in addition to sleep, anxiety, and health-related quality of life. … Subgroup analysis suggests that those with prior exposure to cannabis were likely to experience improvements in more domains, as well as fewer adverse events, [as] compared to cannabis-naïve counterparts.”

Prior studies assessing the use of cannabis products in patients enrolled in the UK registry have similarly reported them to be effective and well-tolerated among those suffering from chronic painanxietypost-traumatic stressdepressionmigraineinflammatory bowel disease, and other afflictions.

Fibromyalgia patients frequently self-report using cannabis to successfully manage symptoms of the disorder. Israeli data published late last year reported that cannabis therapy is associated with quality of life improvements in FM patients who have previously failed to respond to conventional prescription medications.

Full text of the study, “Assessment of clinical outcomes in patients with fibromyalgia: Analysis from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry,” appears in Brain and Behavior. Additional information on cannabis and fibromyalgia is available from NORML’s publicationClinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

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