Researchers uncovered that administering daily doses of cannabis oil saturated with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can offer significant improvements for pain and fatigue during a small placebo-controlled trial. Ultimately, this has provided impressive improvements in the quality of life in people living with fibromyalgia.
The study, published in the journal Pain Medicine, analyzed 17 female fibromyalgia patients residing in Florianopolis, Brazil. During the analysis, the subjects received drops of cannabis oil or a placebo over eight weeks. This began with one drop per day administered orally, eventually titrating to 3 to 4 drops daily.
The cannabis oil used for this study had 1.22 mg of THC and 0.02 mg of CBD (cannabidiol) per drop.
Pain News Network reported that throughout the study, the women self-reported their symptoms every 10 days. The subjects in the placebo group reported few changes. However, the women who received cannabis oil reported impressive improvements regarding a wide assortment of symptoms, including pain, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. These women were also more likely to “feel good” and rarely skip work when comparing their experiences with the women receiving the placebo.
“To our knowledge, this is the first randomized controlled trial to demonstrate the benefit of cannabis oil—a THC-rich whole plant extract—on symptoms and quality of life of people with fibromyalgia,” the researcher explained. “During the intervention, the impact of the intervention on quality of life in the cannabis group participants was evident, resulting in reports of well-being and more energy for activities of daily living. Pain attacks were also reduced, albeit subjectively, in frequency and intensity.”
The researchers further exemplified that cannabinoid therapy can be a low-cost and well-tolerated alternative for fibromyalgia patients, recommending it be used as an herbal medicine option in Brazil’s public health system.
“The demonstration of safety and efficacy in this gold-standard model is significant. Millions of Americans suffer with FM (fibromyalgia)—a condition that tends to be poorly controlled by standard medicines. These clinical findings indicate that for many of these patients, plant-derived cannabis preparations may be a safe and effective alternative,” explained Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, a pro-cannabis advocacy group.
While the Brazilian study comes with its limitations—small size and participants continuing to self-medicate with anti-inflammatories and analgesics during the study—the findings are consistent with a more extensive Israeli study featured in the Journal of Clinical Medicine that was conducted in 2019.
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