What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia, or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a chronic condition that causes a widespread-pain all over the body. The NHS estimated that between 1.2 and 2.8 million people have fibromyalgia in the UK. It’s more common amongst women, with 75-90% of people with fibromyalgia identifying as women.

In addition to pain all over the body, further symptoms can occur varying from person to person in both the regularity and the severity. Depending on the condition, you may suffer from:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Poor cognition
  • Poor sleep quality or insomnia
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Fibro-fog, or problems with mental processes like memory and concentration
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

The exact cause for fibromyalgia is unknown, but it’s believed to be related to abnormal levels of specific chemicals in the brain, as well as changes to how the central nervous system processes pain messages carried around the body.

It’s also suspected that fibromyalgia can be passed down through family generations as children inherit genes from their parents, although there’s no conclusive proof on this.

How can medical cannabis help with fibromyalgia?

When traditional medicine can’t help manage the chronic pain and other symptoms related to fibromyalgia, medical cannabis could be an alternative. Two studies, one from 2010 and one from 2018, both show evidence of cannabinoids helping people suffering from fibromyalgia manage their symptoms, specifically in pain management.

Specifically, medical cannabis has been shown to have analgesic effects, meaning it can minimise the feelings of pain without causing loss or disruption to consciousness. In addition, some forms of medical cannabis have shown to improve sleep in patients with fibromyalgia and can even be a substitute for other medications. Many people with fibromyalgia end up taking various prescription medicines, so reducing that intake of chemicals with more natural substances is often advisable.

For some people, medical cannabis can provide relief from symptoms of fibromyalgia like chronic pain, muscle stiffness, and headaches, among others.

For more information on how medical cannabis can help treat fibromyalgia, read our condition page here: