Where, oh Where…?

So, I’ve spent most of the day looking at current research and trying to find something to write about; BUT it’s all so BLAH!

203. acupunctureYes, acupuncture has been found to help those suffering from FM – where’s the new information in that?

Yes, marijuana has been shown to help those suffering from FM – where’s the new information in that?

Yes, dysmenorrhea is especially common in FM – where’s the new information in that?

Obesity, tai-chi, hydrotherapy,  shiatsu, reflexology, yoga – it’s all the same…there is nothing new!

I’ve kept reading, checking Facebook, watching tweets and I can’t find anything! And, obviously, I have done nothing else to tell you about. So, I’m setting you a mission: can you find (somewhere, anywhere) something new about FM?

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Fibromyalgia Fighting with Flower Tops

Remember the uproar (about 6 months ago) caused by a report about illegal marijuana use by FM patients? According to that, 1 in 10 of you use marijuana for medicinal relief to combat FM symptoms, such as unexplained fatigue, and insomnia, widespread pain and other somatic symptoms.

marijuanaHerbal cannabis has been used for centuries as a painkiller, but nowadays it is mainly used outside of conventional medicine. According to the experts, because FM pharmacologic pain therapies provide only modest effects, some patients decide to self-medicate with more non-traditional therapies, such as marijuana.

New research published in Arthritis Care & Research, indicates that patients who self-medicate with herbal cannabis have poorer mental health and although experts believe that cannabinoids may have some therapeutic effect, they do warn individuals against the use cannabinoids until any health issues and psychosocial effects are clarified.

Leading researcher, Dr Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, a professor of medicine at McGill University and consulting rheumatologist at Canada’s Montreal General Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre admitted:

Medical studies of cannabinoids in management of disease, including FM, have been limited. Marijuana is the most common form of cannabinoid, but an illegal substance in most countries, making it difficult to investigate without possible prosecution for possessing an illicit substance.

All 457 study participants were being treated at MUHC’s Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit. All study participants self-reported on their cannabinoid use. The team validated the participants FM diagnosis, examining links and trends of participants’ self-medication with medical marijuana, prescription cannabinoids, or both: 13% used cannabinoids and 80% used herbal marijuana to combat their symptoms. An analysis revealed that 24% of the cannabinoid users took prescription cannabinoids, like nabilone and dronabinol, whilst 3% used herbal cannabis and prescription cannabinoids. Those smoking marijuana reported a daily consumption of up to 6 grams, although 72% stated they used 1 gram or less per day.

marijuana-not-crackThe findings further revealed that the use of herbal cannabis was associated with unstable mental illness in 36% of users. The researchers also observed that 77% of cannabis users were unemployed, receiving disability payments, which according to the team may be because of ineffective pain control to improve functionality or more serious functional disabilities.

Dr Fitzcharles concludes, saying: 

While self-medicating with cannabinoids may provide some pain relief to FM patients, we caution against general use of illicit drugs until health and psychosocial issues risks are confirmed. Physicians should be alert to potential negative mental health issues in FM patients using illicit drugs for medical purposes. Some herbal cannabis users may be dishonestly using a FM diagnosis to justify self-medicating with illegal drugs.

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Looking HIGH for Some Pain Relief

With the article about 1 in 8 FM patients using marijuana, there has been a lot of talk about it’s use – legally and morally; but what if there were no ‘high’ associated with cannabinoid use for relief of pain? Without the suspicion that pain patients really want cannabis for ‘recreational’ purposes, would there be fewer stigmas? And would pharmacological research, drug development, prescribing practices, and patient relief forge ahead?

The Tikun Olam company in Israel, after years of cross-breeding, with no genetic engineering involved, have developed a strain of marijuana reported to be virtually free of the psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) cannabinoid, and also very high in the anti-inflammatory CBD (cannabiodiol) cannabinoid.

So while the receptors in the pain and pleasure centres of the brain are not being stimulated (so you’re NOT getting high), those receptors will be responding to the anti-inflammatory CBD, or so it is proposed.

Reportedly it has already been tried with good results by a select group of patients to ease symptoms of chronic illness such as pain and nausea. These are people who have a physician’s prescription for medicinal cannabinoids and want symptom relief, but also want to stay functional if they can – so consider THC’s effects on the pleasure centres an unwanted side effect.

Dubbed “Avidekel,” the new strain has been tested on mice in the lab, and human clinical trials are expected in a few months, according to Professor Emeritus Ruth Gallily, PhD, a researcher specializing in study of inflammatory processes and anti-inflammatory cannabinoids at Hebrew University.

Is Avidekel the most promising high-CBD medical marijuana strain in the works today? But, FibroMAGICians, don’t hold your breath – there is still a lot of testing to be done before it reaches us!