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Medical Marijuana and Fibromyalgia

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?

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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 [1].