Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Medicine surveyed 878 patients with fibromyalgia who were using cannabidiol (CBD) to assess their purpose of use.
Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition, which affects millions of people around the world includes widespread pain in the muscles and bones, along with many other symptoms. This disease can cause discomfort to weakness. Although there is no cure, the symptoms of this condition are sometimes controlled with a variety of medications, including opioid pain relievers (which bring specific complications).
It's not surprising, then, that there's been a lot of interest in using medical marijuana — especially cannabidiol (CBD) for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
In this study of University of Michigan, up to 72% of patients surveyed used CBD products to replace drugs, most commonly anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, 59%), opioids (59%), gabapentanoids (35%) and benzodiazepines (23.1%).
Specifically, the results showed that most of the patients either replaced these pain medications or stopped using them altogether; and they saw more significant improvements than those who did not. The most common reasons they use alternative products were fewer side effects and better control of symptoms.
"The natural widespread replacement of pain relievers highlights the need for further and more rigorous studies to evaluate this effect," the researchers say.
The study was published last month in "The Journal of Pain".
The results of a survey from last year involving 2,701 participants with fibromyalgia showed that 38.1% of those who did not use CBD, 29.4% had used CBD in the past, and 32.4% are using CBD at the moment - to show how popular CBD is, especially in the US - where CBD is easily accessible to everyone.
A 2019 Israeli study of hundreds of fibromyalgia patients found that cannabis use has a positive effect and safety in managing the conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), fibromyalgia affects about 4 million adults in the United States, which is approximately 2% of the adult population. People with fibromyalgia are twice as likely to be hospitalized than people without the condition. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown and mostly diagnosed in middle age, and the incidence of fibromyalgia increases with age.
Boehnke, Gagnier, Matallana and Williams 2021, ‘Substituting Cannabidiol for Opioids and Pain Medications Among Individuals With Fibromyalgia: A Large Online Survey’, The Journal of Pain.