Fibromyalgia is a complex, often misdiagnosed, condition.
Ten million Americans suffer in secret from fibromyalgia, most of whom are women. Fibromyalgia is a complex disease that is difficult to diagnose. Therefore, statistics could be much higher. In addition to pain, fibromyalgia patients are affected by depression, headaches, insomnia, inability to focus, and chronic fatigue.
Trauma in Childhood Can Lead to a Disease State Later in Life
Recent research found that people who suffer trauma or abuse in their childhood are 2.7x more likely to suffer debilitating conditions later in life; one of these is fibromyalgia. Other disorders include: chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain and irritable bowel syndrome.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network identifies the following as common childhood stressors: sexual abuse, neglect, divorce of parents, death of a close family member, physical abuse or domestic violence. When a child encounters these stressors, their brains may react by forming hyper-vigilant neurological responses, which may then translate to painful and debilitating conditions later on.
It’s true that children have the benefit of greater neuroplasticity, meaning that their brains are still highly adaptable, and able to accept change more readily. As much as this is a good thing, it can also be detrimental. When the brain of a child experiences a significant stressor, it may develop inappropriate or exaggerated responses to stimuli that sets up permanent pathways that cause harm.
In the case of fibromyalgia, the brain perceives excessive pain from stimuli that should not elicit that response.
Is Fibromyalgia an Endocannabinoid Deficiency?
Another hypothesis is that fibromyalgia could be linked to clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. This is a situation where the body lacks sufficient endocannabinoids to regulate some of its processes, such as the control of pain. What is interesting about the connection between the theory of childhood trauma and endocannbinoid deficiency, is that patients with PTSD are also lacking in key endocannabinoids. Could it be that PTSD in early life is causing endocannabioid deficiency that leads to disease later in life?
How Cannabinoids Help With Pain
Cannabinoids have been shown to be effective in the suppression of pain. Cannabis, which contains numerous cannabinoids and terpenes, can be used to supplement an endocannabinoid deficiency, as well as manage other symptoms, such as depression and insomnia. It’s one medicine for multiple symptoms of fibromyalgia.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Neurology found that cannabis can help with the suppression of neurological pain (pain caused by damage to the nerves). Cannabinoid therapy has better efficacy than many conventional treatments, according to patients.
This was told within the results of a survey conducted by the National Pain Foundation. The survey compared cannabis efficacy to Lyrica, Cymbalta and Savella, which are all pharmaceutical treatments for fibromyalgia.
Medical cannabis was the most effective of the four treatments administered, with 62% of the patients finding it effective. A further 33% achieved significantly more relief from their symptoms.
Cannabis Strains for Nerve Pain
Leafly has tested a number of cannabis strains that claim to be effective for treating fibromyalgia. These match our top three picks:
This sativa dominant strain is rich in CBD with a ratio of 5:2 CBD to THC ratio. This means that patients can maintain a sense of level headedness while taking their cannabis. With the combination of quality CBD and THC, this strain is great at managing pain and inflammation. It also combats anxiety and depression. It is particularly great for patients who may want to steer clear of psychoactive effects.
This is a top shelf indica strain with high levels of THC (between 19% to 22%). It is effective against harsh pain while providing a mild euphoria. Critical Mass also combats insomnia, stress, and depression.
This strain is high in CBD with THC levels below 6%. It is a popular strain because of its uplifting and relaxing effects and great efficacy in fighting intense pain. Cannatonic also contains limonene, which is a terpene that is great for alleviating depression.
Other effective strains include: Blueberry, Tahoe OG, Grandaddy Purple and Baby Kush.
Cannabis just may be the perfect medicine for fibromyalgia. It treats both the symptoms and the underlying causes (PTSD or endocannabinoid deficiency) with no harmful side effects. Have you tried cannabis for your fibromyalgia?