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Study: Medical Cannabis Effective In Treatment Of Fibromyalgia

Medical cannabis significantly reduces pain intensity and improves overall quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia, according to a study by Israeli researchers.

The results of the study were published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. The aim of the study was to investigate the characteristics, safety, and effectiveness of medical cannabis therapy for fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome of chronic pain, often accompanied by sleeping disturbances, cognitive impairment, and psychiatric and somatic symptoms. The prevalence of fibromyalgia is 2 percent to 8 percent of the entire population, and it is the most common reason for generalized pain among working age women worldwide.

The study in a specialized medical cannabis clinic in Israel enrolled nearly 300 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. 87.2 percent of the patients reported constant daily pain and other symptoms for a median length of 7 years.

Patents began with a low dose of cannabis that was gradually increased in small intervals until they reached a therapeutic effect.

Cannabis products are composed of two major active components: tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, and cannabidiol or CBD. THC is the psychoactive component, which affects pain, appetite, orientation, and emotions, while CBD has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety effects.

Tikun-Olam Ltd. is the largest medical cannabis provider in Israel, which serves annually a third of the entire medical cannabis users in Israel.

Participants in the study were treated with two Tikun Olam strains of cannabis; the -THC-rich strain and the CBD-rich strain that has almost no THC.

After six months, 81.1 percent of the patients reported at least moderate improvement in their pain condition. The pain intensity level for patients on a 1 to 10 scale declined from a median of 9 at baseline to 5 after six months.

In addition, 92.9 percent of patients said that the sleep problems reported at intake improved, while depression-related symptoms improved in 80.8 percent of patients. 61.9 percent of patients also said their quality of life was good or very good after six months of treatment.

"Our data indicates that medical cannabis could be a promising therapeutic option for the treatment of fibromyalgia, especially for those who failed on standard pharmacological therapies. We show that medical cannabis is effective and safe when titrated slowly and gradually," the researchers said in a statement.

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