Fibromyalgia and medicinal cannabis. An update.
Bedrocan is always glad to explain to scientifically educated public the (im)possibilities of medicinal cannabis for certain disorders. Dr. Mikael Kowal, clinical trial coordinator at Bedrocan International, was a guest at the annual conference of the Norwegian organization Norsk Smetteforening in the Rikshospitalet in Oslo, where healthcare professionals and scientists met to discuss the latest scientific developments in pain management. Kowal gave a concise presentation about the study conducted by the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) into the effects of medicinal cannabis in fibromyalgia patients. This research, previously published in the scientific journal Pain, is regarded as the first randomised, placebo-controlled, crossover study on the therapeutic effects of inhaling different types of standardised medicinal cannabis in fibromyalgia patients.
The research showed that THC-containing medicinal cannabis reduced the sensation of pressure pain in patients. The results of this study are hopeful, says Kowal. “It appears that at least two THC-containing varieties – which are now prescribed to patients in different countries – may bring pain relief. Especially the variety containing a standardised mixture of THC and CBD seems most promising in this regard. The outcome is important for fibromyalgia patients. It can help with further acceptance of medicinal cannabis by healthcare professionals, so that there is less discussion about prescribing it.”
Medicinal cannabis and opiates
Dr. Kowal’s presentation naturally raised questions. The most important one: can medicinal cannabis play a role in reducing opiate use? As is well known, opiates such as oxycodone are increasingly being prescribed and there is now widespread abuse worldwide, resulting in a real opiate crisis in various countries. “The researchers at the LUMC also immediately thought of the problems that opiate use can cause,” says Kowal. “Principal Investigator Prof. Albert Dahan and his team have not only demonstrated that cannabis containing THC may be effective in fibromyalgia, but are also in the process of preparing a follow-up study to see if medicinal cannabis can reduce the use of opiates. The research team suspects that you do not have to prescribe much oxycodone if you also allow patients to use a standardised mixture of THC and CBD .”