The daily administration of plant-derived, THC-rich cannabis oil is effective and well-tolerated among patients with fibromyalgia, according to clinical trial data published in the journal Pain Medicine. Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue.

Commenting on the study’s findings, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “The demonstration of safety and efficacy in this gold-standard model is significant. 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.”

A team of Brazilian researchers assessed the efficacy of THC-rich cannabis oil versus placebo in patients with FM over an eight-week period. The mean dose used in the cannabis group was 3.6 drops a day (4.4 mg of THC and 0.08 mg of CBD).

Cannabis dosing was associated with an “extended significant reduction” in subjects’ symptoms, as assessed by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ). Patients receiving placebo did not experience similar reductions.

Authors reported, “[T]he 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.”

They concluded: “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 [the] quality of life of people with fibromyalgia. 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.”

Observational, case-controlled trial data has previously reported that FM patients who inhale cannabis experience greater relief from symptoms as compared to those who do not. The administration of oral THC, as well as the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone, have also shown benefits in subjects with FM.

The abstract of the study, “Ingestion of THC-rich cannabis oil in people with fibromyalgia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial,” appears here. Additional information on cannabinoids and FM is available from NORML here.

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NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of marijuana by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use marijuana responsibly are no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for marijuana-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.

Find out more at norml.org and read our Fact Sheets on the most common misconceptions and myths regarding reform efforts around the country

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