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Fibromyalgia Syndrome

 

Fibromyalgia is an illness characterized by chronic pain combined with some form of psychiatric diagnosis, still lacks an observable underlying pathology. The disease picture of fibromyalgia usually includes widespread chronic pain in muscles and connective tissue, joint stiffness, general weakness, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and insomnia. "Nearly 2% of the general population in the U.S. suffers from fibromyalgia the majority of them being middle-aged females."

 

No specific test exist to determine an exact diagnosis. Symptoms are often similar to those of rheumatism, osteoporosis, or arthritis. Physicians try to diagnose by process of elimination. Diagnostic criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology include the following: a history of diffused and chronic pain for more than three months and present in all four quadrants of the body, and the presence of pain in at least 11 of 18 specific trigger points.

 

Orthodox pharmaceutic treatment includes muscle relaxants, pain medication (opioids), antidepressants, anti-seizure medication, dopamine agonists, and cannabinoids.

 

In 2007, researchers in Winnipeg, Canada, enrolled 40 fibromyalgia patients to measure the effects of Nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, on pain and quality of life. The results of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed that "Nabilone appears to be a beneficial, well-tolerated treatment option from figromyalgia patients., with significant benefits in pain relief and functional improvement."

 

While most studies have focus on using cannabis for the treatment of fibromyalgia pains, another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial from Montreal, Canada (2008), examined the effects of this synthetic cannabinoid on insomnia. Twenty-0ne patients with the disease completed a course in which they received neither Nabilone (0.5-1.0mg before bedtime) or the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline (10-20mg before bedtime), the later commonly prescribed for insomnia with fibromyalgia.

 

In 2009, scientists from Worcester, Massachusetts, conducted a meta-analysis of recent and relevant studies and found that "... all classes of cannabinoids, including the endogenous cannabinoids such as anandamine, related compounds such as the elmiric acids (ENA's), and non-cannabinoid components (200-250 constituents) of cannabis, show anti-inflammatory action."  The analysis demonstrated that all types of cannabinoids as well as non-cannabinoid parts of the plant are effective in reducing pain from inflammation, as in post-surgery conditions and cases of rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia.

 

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