Researchers in Brazil have found that cannabis oil can be an effective treatment for patients with fibromyalgia, according to the results of a clinical trial completed recently. An abstract of the study, “Ingestion of THC-rich cannabis oil in people with fibromyalgia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial,” was published last week in the journal Pain Medicine.
To conduct the study, researchers tested the effectiveness of a plant-derived cannabis oil on 17 women with fibromyalgia (FM), a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. The patients were treated over a period of eight weeks with a cannabis oil rich in THC. The initial dose was one drop per day, with subsequent dosage increases according to symptoms. The mean dose for those in the cannabis group was 3.6 drops per day, equating to a total of 4.4 milligrams of THC and 0.08 milligrams of CBD per dose.
Patients were separated into two groups, one of which received the cannabis oil, while the members of the control group received a placebo. The Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) was administered at pre- and post intervention moments and in five visits over eight weeks. The researchers reported that “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.”
First Gold-Standard Study
“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 on quality of life of people with fibromyalgia,” the investigators wrote. “We conclude that phytocannabinoids can be a low-cost and well-tolerated therapy for symptom relief and quality of life improvement in these patients, and we suggest that this therapy could be included as an herbal medicine option for the treatment of this condition in the Brazilian public health system.”
Because of the impact that fibromyalgia can have on the health of patients and the need for effective and affordable medicines to treat them, the researchers recommended further research to study cannabis as a treatment for the condition.
“Considering the far-reaching damage caused by FM and the effect it can have on individuals, their families, communities, and the public health system, it seems necessary to study alternative, low-cost, and well-tolerated therapies that help patients to regain their well-being and quality of life,” the wrote. “The present study aims to evaluate the impact that cannabis oil—a THC-rich whole plant extract—can have on symptoms and quality of life of individuals afflicted by FM.”
Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), commented on the research in a statement from the group on Friday.
“The demonstration of safety and efficacy in this gold-standard model is significant,” Armentano said. “Millions of Americans suffer with FM – 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.”