Fibromyalgia is a debilitating chronic pain condition that had the added side effect for years of being not believed by the majority of the medical community. Until relatively recently, fibromyalgia sufferers were repeatedly told that it was “in their head” or that they were just trying to get pain meds to fuel their addiction.
Now after years of stigma and semi-effective prescription drugs, patients and doctors are looking to cannabis to see its efficacy in treating people with fibromyalgia.
Teri Robnett, a Denver-based medical cannabis patient’s rights advocate and founder of Colorado-based Cannabis Patients Alliance, was once a patient going through the fibromyalgia nightmare, after an automobile accident activated her condition. Thinking that cannabis might be the answer she remembers asking, “How could the one thing that could supplement what my body wasn’t making [is something] the government could tell me I can’t have?”
In the following years she was placed on a prescription drug regimen that was riddled with side effects. Then in 2009 she decided to try medical cannabis, and by 2011 she was completely off prescription medications. She enjoyed the ability to self-medicate based on her symptoms and utilize different strains to treat different ailments.
Robnett is not unique in her cannabis experiences. The National Pain Foundation did a survey of their own in 2014. They surveyed over 13,000 patients and learned that 390 of those questioned had used medical cannabis as part of their pain management program.
When asked to compare cannabis to the drugs they were prescribed by their doctor the results were staggering. Sixty-two percent stated that cannabis was “very effective” in treating their symptoms, whereas, only 8-10 percent said that their prescription drugs were “very effective.”
It’s no surprise that big pharma is worried about cannabis. Patients are more informed than ever about alternative treatments, and with states legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes it’s easier than ever to self-medicate yourself through trial and error to alleviate your pain.