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Medical Marijuana and Fibromyalgia

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Meggan Sommerville.

You might be asking yourself what a good Christian girl is doing talking about medical marijuana.  Well, when you have a debilitating desease such as Fibromyalgia, you consider all the options for relief of the symptoms and for me that includes considering medical marijuana.

Since Illinois became one of the latest states to legalize medical marijuana last year, the use of it has crossed my mind more than once when the pain comes on like a freight train.

If you know me at all, you know I do my research.  I knew I had Fibromyalgia before my doctor diagnosed me with it two years ago.  I did my research on the benefits and side effects of alcohol and Fibromyalgia prior to taking my first drink last year.  I don’t undertake decisions like taking medical marijuana lightly.

Let’s face it – marijuana is classified as an herb.  Native peoples from all over the world have used herbal remedies for thousands of years.  There is enough antidotal evidence that medical marijuana has significant benefits for patients suffering from cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis and other diseases including Fibromyalgia.

On a recent thread on a Fibromyalgia Facebook page, many of the people that were chiming in on the subject of medical marijuana reported few if any side effects when they used the marijuana in moderation.  They also told of significant pain relief when no other medications worked.

In the research I have seen, the side effects for medical marijuana are fewer than the long laundry list of adverse effects of the leading prescription medications often used to treat Fibromyalgia symptoms.  I was on Cymbalta for a short time and the side effects far out weighed the benefit the drug offered.  And when it comes to Lyrica, I’m not going to even chance it.  I know my body and I have the utmost confidence that Lyrica would not be a good drug for me to be on.

I also know that since 1997, shortly after medical marijuana was legalized in California, there have been no deaths, let me say that again Zero deaths in which marijuana was listed as the primary cause.  Compare that to over 10 thousand deaths from 17 FDA approved medications for nausea, muscle spasms, ADD, depression, narcolepsy, erectile dysfunction, and pain.

When it comes to professional opinions, I found it very interesting what two Surgeons Generals have had to say on the subject.  M. Joyce Elders (1993-1994) and Jesse L. Steinfeld (1969-1973) have come out as being in favor for the use of medical marijuana.

“In the case of marijuana, legal penalties were originally assigned with total disregard for medical and scientific evidence of the properties of the drug or its effects. I know of no clearer instance in which the punishment for infraction of the law is more harmful than the crime.” Jesse L. Steinfeld

“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS — or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”  M. Joyce Elders

I am not naïve either.  I know that there definitely needs to be more research on the medical benefits, short term and long term effects of medical marijuana use.  Several of the Surgeons Generals in the past 50 years tend to agree.

The amount each person needs to relieve the symptoms they face varies greatly and it also depends on the plants themselves.

While smoking of any type can be harmful to the lungs, there are other modes of administration.  We have all heard of marijuana being baked into brownies, but there are many other ways to get the needed compounds found in the marijuana plant and the list is endless.  Each one of these edibles carries a varying amount of the needed compounds so some careful experimentation is usually required to find the optimal dose and frequency.

This is a lot of information to consider.  I also have to overcome the stigma associated with marijuana use.  I grew up in an age and culture where marijuana was used by rock stars, party hardy college students or high school stoners.  Now there are thousands if not millions of people seeking relief through a very misunderstood herb.

I don’t take this subject lightly.  It weighs heavy on me to be honest.  I would love to hear your opinion on the matter.  Is medical marijuana a viable source for a remedy to the pain?


About the Author: Meggan Sommerville was diagnosed with fibromyalgia two years ago. She describes herself as “a Christian transgender woman with a heart for educating others about the transgender community and her faith in her Savior, Jesus Christ.” In addition to her work as the frame shop manager for a national craft retailer, Meggan writes a blog – Trans Girl at the Cross.

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2 thoughts on “Medical Marijuana and Fibromyalgia”

  1. valkitty1@excite.com says:

    I have tried a couple of versions of tincture, because I do not want to smoke. It didn’t help my pain a whole lot, but it did help me relax a bit. I think I might be done experimenting, as the tinctures can be pretty expensive.

  2. Christinereinke says:

    1 month ago, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia after fighting with an invisible enemy for over 35 years. On many days, I spare was my closest ally, as pain was the only feeling I had. In essence, pain was becoming the only thing I was feeling. As a wife and mother of 2 adult daughters, I was beginning to feel very alone and segregated, all because of the pain that no one believed I was in, including every doctor I was seeing, including many specialists. Because there was no visible problem or positive test result from the battery each new Doctor decided to give me, and I have seen at least 8 GP’s and 12 specialists, everyone deemed it to be “all in my head” or I must be depressed. It was becoming an extremely low point in my life where thoughts of taking my own life began to creep in. I 2002, I retired from the work force (I was a paramedic and was physically unable to do the work due to the pain) and in 2011 I left the volunteer scene, again due to the fibromyalgia pain. I was also closing friendship doors, gently, and starting to hibernate. In February of this year (2014)
    About 2 years ago, I met a person who used street marihuana for treatment of RSD. This person told me to try it for my pain and since this was a veery respected person in our community, I thought ‘what the heck? Why not try it.’ None of the OTC pills or prescribed narcotic meds were helping and depression was starting to take its toll. It was increasingly harder to be positive about anything, kids, grand kids or even great grand children’s achievements were becoming less and less important and at that point in my life, I really cared about nothing and no one except finding relief from the constant pain. So I did it. And low and behold, I didn’t have a swarm of criminals invade my space, nor did the police break down my door to grab me and toss my butt into jail. But I did find relief from the pain.
    So now, I use street marijuana. I have finally found a Doctor who recognizes the disorder so many of us share, but have not had the chance to discuss my preferred choice of treatment, medical marijuana. That is the next step.
    I am not a criminal. I am a mother, a grand mother, a great grand mother and I smoke pot. It helps enormously and I will continue to smoke it until there is a cure for fibromyalgia.

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