High THC Levels Relieves Fibromyalgia Pain

research
20 november 2019

This is the result of research into the effects of cannabis on 20 fibromyalgia patients at the LUMC in Leiden. After inhaling the cannabis, the participants could tolerate pain tests better. The research also shows that cannabis, which contains mainly CBD, does not help to relieve the pain.

Patients with fibromyalgia experience chronic pain in their muscles and connective tissue. Unfortunately, few reliable studies have been conducted into the effects of medicinal cannabis and cannabis oil’, says researcher Tine van de Donk. That is why the Anaesthesiology department of the LUMC in Leiden has decided to do this research.

Medicinal cannabis

During the study, the researchers used medicinal cannabis. This is cannabis produced by the only cannabis factory in the Netherlands, which is used as a medicine and is closely monitored. This allows us to know exactly what dose of the active substances it contains,’ explains Van de Donk. The most important substances are THC and CBD. Thanks to the checks carried out during production, we also know that the cannabis is pure and safe.

4 treatments

During the examination, the patients were given vaporized cannabis. In our study, we used 3 types of real cannabis and a placebo, a fake drug,’ continues Tine, ‘Of the cannabis strains, 2 were high in THC and 1 was high in CBD. The placebo cannabis was made in such a way that there were no more active substances in the plant, but the smell and taste were the same as with the other cannabis supplies. As a result, the patients did not know when they were given the fake medicine. The patients in our study came to the hospital 4 times for treatment with cannabis. They didn’t know in advance what they would get, but everyone got each type of cannabis once.

Cannabis with a high THC value

The most important result of our research is that cannabis with a high THC content provided pain relief for the participants,’ says the researcher. We were able to measure this by taking a pressure test. In this test, we pressed on the hand at one particular spot. We asked the participants to indicate when this became too painful. People with fibromyalgia usually have a lot of pain at low pressure, but after inhaling cannabis with a lot of THC, the participants could clearly tolerate more pressure. Cannabis with high levels of CBD was neither pain-relieving nor fake.

Follow-up research

Tine van de Donk is enthusiastic about the first results of the research into medicinal cannabis in fibromyalgia. We therefore want to do follow-up research. We want to investigate how medicinal cannabis reduces pain in people with fibromyalgia when they use it at home. This is a better indication of whether medicinal cannabis ultimately works in practice. We also want to take a closer look at what the side effects of cannabis are and whether this is a safe way to use it at home’.

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