SAFETY AND EFFICACY OF MEDICAL CANNABIS IN FIBROMYALGIA
Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2019
Iftach Sagy MD PhD1,2, Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider MA2,3, Mahmoud Abu-Shakra MD4 and Victor Novack MD PhD2
1Department of Rheumatology, Rabin Medical Center, Petach Tikva Israel; 2Cannabis Clinical Research Institute, Soroka University Medical Center and Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er-Sheva, Israel; 3Research Department, Tikun Olam LTD; 4Department of Rheumatology, Soroka University Medical Center and Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Be’er-Sheva, Israel
Chronic pain may be treated by medical cannabis. Yet, there is scarce evidence to support the role of medical cannabis in the treatment of fibromyalgia. 367 fibromyalgia patients participated in a prospective observational study with 6 months follow-up period. The aim of the study, conducted in collaboration with the Department of Rheumatology at Rabin Medical Center, was to investigate the characteristics, safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis therapy for fibromyalgia.
STUDY POPULATION: 367 fibromyalgia patients (301 females, mean age 52.9).
STUDY PRODUCT: Most patients consumed Alaska, Erez and Avidakel.
- Only 28 patients (7.6%) discontinued treatment during six months of treatment.
- Overall improvement – 81.1% of patients reported a moderate (at least) improvement in their condition with no serious side effects.
- Decrease in pain intensity – the overall pain intensity decreased from a median of 9.0 before starting treatment to 5.0 after six months.
- Decreased depression – 80.8% of patients reported improvement in depression‐related symptoms.
- Improvement in sleep – 73.4% of patients reported improved sleep; 13.2% reported their sleep problems were fully relieved.
- Improving quality of life – 61.9% of patients reported their quality of life to be “good or very good,” after half a year of active treatment, whereas only 2.7% of patients rated their quality of life at this level prior to beginning treatment.
- Decrease in drug use – 22.2% of patients stopped or reduced their dosage of opioids; 20.3% reduced their dosage of benzodiazepines.
- The most common side effects were mild and included dizziness (7.9%), dry mouth (6.7%) and gastrointestinal symptoms (5.4%).
- Medical cannabis appears to be a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms.