Fibromyalgia: Big Pharma vs Medical Cannabis

fibro imageThe estimated five million Americans coping with fibromyalgia are not use to hearing good news. They live with chronic all-over pain, fatigue, depression, headaches, and sleeplessness, and doctors don’t know why this disease develops or how to cure it. Most fibromyalgia patients are women, and they often feel that healthcare professionals don’t take them seriously. The available medications frequently cause more problems than they solve. But there is finally a ray of sunshine for fibromyalgia sufferers: medical cannabis.

A recent survey of 1,339 fibromyalgia patients conducted by the National Pain FoundationCannabis And Medicine showed that medical cannabis is far more effective than the three drugs approved to fight this disease (Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella). Of the patients who had tried medicinal cannabis, 62 percent rated it very effective at treating their fibromyalgia symptoms, 33 percent said it helped a little, and only 5 percent said it did not help at all. Compare that with the offerings from Big Pharma: 60 percent said Cymbalta did not help at all, 61 percent said Lyrica didn’t help at all, and 68 percent said the same about Savella.

Not only are these drugs expensive and ineffective, they often come with a nightmarish list of side effects. Here are just a few of the adverse reactions listed on a bottle of Lyrica:

  • Serious, even life threatening, allergic reactions
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions in about 1 in 500 people
  • Swelling of your hands, legs and feet, which can be serious for people with heart problems
  • Dizziness, blurry vision, weight gain, sleepiness, trouble concentrating, swelling of your hands and feet, dry mouth, and feeling “high”

Of those, the only side effect also caused by medical cannabis is feeling “high,” and strains of cannabis with lower ratios of THC to CBD (a non-psychoactive chemical) have been shown to be very effective at treating pain without affecting cognition.

national pain foundationNoting the surprising survey results, Dan Bennett, MD, an inter-ventional spine and pain surgical physician and chairman of the National Pain Foundation, commented, “Fibromyalgia is devastating for those who must live in its grip. There is much we do not understand. We need innovative ‘out of the box’ solutions that change the face of this disease.”

Unfortunately, one of the other things the survey showed was that only 29 percent of respondents had tried medical cannabis. Why are so few people getting access to the best medication for fibromyalgia? Because cannabis is still not legally available in most US states.

To add insult to injury, the federal government pretends cannabis is a dangerous drug with “no currently accepted medical use,” but for over a decade it has held a patent (#6630507) for cannabinoids, the chemicals that make cannabis an incredibly safe, useful medicine.

Despite what the Feds claim, and as they surely know, cannabis has many medical uses.Fibromyalgia Awareness. In addition to being the only medication that truly helps with fibromyalgia, cannabis has been shown by study after study to help with glaucoma, tumors, nausea, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, back pain, muscle spasms, arthritis, herpes, cystic fibrosis, rheumatism, insomnia, emphysema, stress, migraines, and nerve pain. Its topical extractions can have antibiotic properties and help with skin conditions, and it can increase appetite and reduce nausea in cancer and HIV patients suffering the side effects of treatment. This goes without saying, but none of the other drugs approved for treating fibromyalgia can claim all of that.

We need full legal access to medical cannabis so the five million Americans who struggle with fibromyalgia day in and day out will finally get some relief—and so the millions of our fellow citizens suffering the many other diseases that cannabis treats can get the medication they need, too.

Right now, a bill decriminalizing cannabis has been introduced in the House (HR 499—Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013) but has been put on the back-burner by cowardly politicians who don’t want to look “soft on drugs.” Your representatives need to know that they have your support! Call or write your representative (find out who that is here) and demand immediate decriminalization of cannabis for all Americans.


31 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia: Big Pharma vs Medical Cannabis

  1. I am suffering from Fibromyalgia and would like an opportunity to wake up w/o pain or a method for relief. Traditional medicine is insufficient to address symptoms.
    Thank you for new research and efforts to raise awareness of the value of cannabis to treat so many illnesses.

  2. I have Intercostal Nurealgia. Its nerve damage and my Dr. has suggested medical mj. The only problem is the cost. It is by prescription and id have to use 2 grams a day. Im on a disability pension so it is out of the question. It is legal in Canada for medical reasons. I have had Drs try to get me to use Lyrica but the side affects are so bad I just stopped using it. Sleep all day, cry all day, wish u were dead and they said it would help my pain. Help me kill myself. That’s how bad the side affects are.

    • Hello Sandy,

      I think you have been misinformed. You would need nowhere near 2 grams a day, in fact, you would even need one gram a day. If you’d like to discuss your options please feel free to click on our “consultaion” tab to shcedule yourself in. We can direct you to reputable products that have very resonable prices.
      We are so sorry that you have had to suffer!

      The UPG Team

  3. I have been dealing with fybromialgia for over ten years and have had periods of when it was in remission. I have never been pain free and would love to find something that works. I am not looking to get high so if there was a way to take this with out the effects of being high I would deffinately consider it. Please help

  4. I have been suffering with many symptoms from my thyroid being taken out and the fluid around my heart and lung and now with Fibro. Life if not as good as it should be, but there are others that suffer a lot worse than myself. Pharmacies are taking over our lives and we want them back….

  5. I have suffered with overall chronic pain for 5 years now. Diagnosed with fibro 2 years ago. I currently take 150mg of lyica was on 300mg and i suffered all the bad side effects except for allergic reaction. I have been making my own cannabis oil now for about 6 months. I dont get a high but i tell you i have gone from 8/10 pain all the time to very mild 2/10 pain or less. I have never felt better. I have flair ups from time to time with weather changes and if i dont get enough rest but i just take an extra dose of oil. So hope its made legal so i dont have to worry.

  6. Was diagnosed with fibro around 20 years ago, but Have suffered with chronic pain since my teens. My bday was yesterday & turned 55, so we are talking around 40 years! I used to call it my floating pain. Back then the term fibro didn’t exist. I was wondering how to find out what states cannibas are legal. Please help & thanks in advance. = P

  7. Hi,
    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia a little over a year ago. I have been taking Cymbalta, plus numerous other pain meds but they do not help. I am doing a research paper for school on medical marijuana. Your website has been a great help.
    I have just started thinking of getting my medical marijuana card. For pain management but there are so many different strains I am not sure on what would be the best to use. Can you let me know what the difference is?

    • A. Nichols,
      We are thrilled that you are doing a research paper on Medical Cannabis. We actually get many calls from students wanting to interview us and gain direction for their papers. We are not doctors here at UPG but we do have a nurse on staff who could direct you according to your specific symptoms. There is hope for Fibro sufferers when discussing Medical Cannabis but it is not a one size fits all protocol.
      If you are interested in talking with our nurse, please click the link below to schedule yourself in tp her schedule.
      We hope this has helped.


  8. i have fibro…diagnosed over 20 yrs. ago…..but has slowly gotten worse over the last few years….new doctor trying to help…..been taking cymbalta for about 6 mos….ugh the side effects…..and am so sleepy can’t hardly function most days……when i was a teen i smoked mari for fun….but also when i had terrible awful period cramps…it helped me sooooo much every month that i only imagine how much it could help my pain when i need it most…and not have to smoke 24/7!!! please tell me how i can find out more info….right now our state is not legal…but who knows when that could change :) thank you…

  9. Hi, I have had fibro for over 15 years. Take daily meds approved for fibro with good results however, I am always looking for improvement – more energy, less fibro fog, better sleep and most of all less pain. I Live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and I just got my card today! I toured the compassion center today and am waiting for final sign off from the State. I am very excited to try this and will post results for others to see.

  10. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia this year and have tried every legal medication under the sun, all with horrible side effects (it doesn’t help that nearly all of them are variants of the same drug Gabapentin). I’ve studied science all my life and I know that MJ is helpful, but the MOST frustrating thing for me is not that it isn’t legal in every state (which it unequivocally should be), but rather that it is federally scheduled C1. I’m in the medical field and am allowed to work while taking pain medications and ADD medications which are C2 drugs (with a valid prescription of course), but even if I were to live in a state where medical or recreational MJ use is legal I could still lose my job or license because of its federal scheduling and due to general misinformation. We don’t need just decriminalization, we need it to be rescheduled so that those in need for medicinal purposes can use it without fear of losing their jobs (so long as they aren’t “high” at work, the same way they can’t be drunk at work).

  11. Hi,
    I’ve been suffering from fibro for the last few years. My flare ups are horrible with my pain being 9/110. I’ve tried everything and felt like I was running out of options. I felt hopeless and alone. I was to the point where I wanted to end my own life. As my last dish effort I went and got my medical cannabis card. I was wondering if you could give me suggestions on what is the best cbd to take? For example: gummies, liquid, oil, etc.
    Thank you

    • Janetta,

      Each person and their conditions require slightly different treatment plans. WE always suggest to shcedule a consultation with our Nurse Practitioner in order to understand exactly what YOUR body needs. I have attached the link to the nurses shcedule here for your convenience. Please let me know if there is anything else that you need.

      All the best,


  12. I have fibromyalgia among a list of other issues. I have tried all the other approved drugs for fibro. Only the savella was a little helpful but I had to stop because I could not handle the side effects at work. I am no longer working and was not doing well, I was taking methadone for the pain but that also has become tollerated. My dr changed it to OxyContin and put me back on savella. This time around it is not working and side effects are worse. I want to stop it all and start over and try medicinal marijuana. I live in Texas, but I have tried it but here it is only available in the recreational form. I don’t know what strand I had but the next morning I woke up felling like all my nerve endings connected, I was normal with no pain. I don’t want to get high I just want to feel well and function. How can I get my stuff not to do that? I too want to know my options of administrating it for fibromyalgia.

    • Hello Lucinda,

      Thank you for your thorough note. Many patients with Fibo will utilize tincture with a very specific ratio of CBD to THC. I realize that tinctures are not readily available in Texas but you are welcome to schedule a consutlation with our nurse practitioner to get the particulars on what to take and dosing. I have attached the nursing shcedule here for your convenience.
      lease call our offices if you have any furhter questions 415-524-8099.


  13. I live in VA and my doctor has offered for me to get my medical marajuana in Wash. DC. However, I am not sure what strains I would need to get the best results. I have Fibromialgia, as well as 15 other ailments that could be controlled by Marajuana alone. Any help or suggestions would be great.


    • Kat,

      When treating illness, the strain name is not as important as the ratio of CBD to THC. Many Fibro sufferers are seeing good results with a 5:1 ratio ofCBD to THC. Please understand that we are not doctors but we do have a nurse practitioner on staff that can go over all the particulars with you. She can explain to you what to buy, what the cost is, waht dosage is best and how your other meds may play a part. I have added the nurses schedule here for your convenience.

      I hope this helps,

  14. I have suffered from chronic pain for years before I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia 3 yr ago. Since then I’ve tried several medications, the latest being Cymbalta. It does not address the lack of energy, sleep problems, or the brain fog. The pain is somewhat better, although I still have flareups.
    I’m so hopeful CBD may be the answer I’ve been looking for! One question is, here in Texas it isn’t legal yet, but might it be available and mailed to me? If not, can I learn to make the oil?
    Also, does it show up in employers urine drug tests? And finally, one aspect of the illness is anxiety/depression, although I wonder if that’s just because of the pain. Would CBD/THC help that too? Not a high, but just feel more hopeful? I want to feel excited about life again.

    • Vicki,

      We have seen people benefit greatly who suffer from Fibromyalgia. It is always best to speak with our nurse to better understand what formulation would be best for you. I Have attached the link to our shceduling system here.

      All my best,

  15. I have had severe fibromyalgia with chronic fatigue since the late 90’s. I have never tried Lyrica and won’t. My significant other, was given it “off label” and became so dizzy, he fell and split his skull open, requiring stitches!!! I also, have a lot of bone/joint problems. I’m loaded with arthiritis and need 2 total hip & 2 total knee replacements. The last thing I need to do, is gain weight!!!

  16. My fiance has stage 4 intestinal cancer, and is taking Rick Simpson oil, that I made for him, along with conventional therapy. We are anxious for his tests and scans to happen.

    I have fibromyalgia, which while not life-threatening like cancer, it greatly reduces my quality of life. I am wondering how I should take it for fibro. Would I take the same amounts as for cancer, or more like a maintenance dose?

    • Amanda,

      For dosing intructions and undertanding which formulation is best for your condition or your fiancé. It is best to consult with someone in the medical field. Each conditions nand patient is treated differently in order to tartget specific goals for each disease. We have ocology nurses and nurse practitioners on staff if that helps. You can find the scheduling system on our home page under “Consultation“. Otherwise, it is suggested that you find a physician in your area..

  17. i was diagnosed with fibromyalgia two years ago, and have been down the lyrica and cymbalta road, with no results of being anywhere near pain relief, just recently have been allowed a script for med marijuana, ( 5 grams/day ) I ordered a ratio of 1/13 ( THC/CBD ) I find it helps lots !!!! Just wondering if there are higher CBD concentrations available out there?

    • Hello Colin,
      Yes there are products avaiable with a higher concentration of CBD. I have attached a link here for your convenience. There are quite a few others.If you would like further guidance , please feel free to contact our offices on Monday at 415-524-8099.

  18. I have fibromyalgia and live with the ongoing pain everyday of my life. I cannot tell you how taxiing it is to wake up every morning in so much pain you want to, and often do lay back down and can’t get up again for the day. I wake up in excruciating pain, I have the pain all day and at night time it’s unbearable. I don’t sleep hardly at all and if I do sleep it’s in short spurts due to pain waking me up when I move. I have muscles that jerk and spazam at night once I try to relax. My legs feel swollen all day and night. The headaches are better with the medication but still come back and revisit way to often since I have been on the melds a while. I also have silent migraines. That’s been a strange thing. I can’t hardly see when those are occurring. I go without my husband to Florida to avoid the winters here while my husband stays home to work. He has to pay a airline to come and visit me in Florida, we are apart from one another so I can get some relief from the pain. This disease has came close to shutting my marriage and homelike with my family down. I don’t honestly know what lies next for me. I wake in pain suffer in pain with every movement throughout the day and the nights are horrible. It has got worse every year the longer I have it. No medications have done anymore than take the edge off. To be pain free? I honestly don’t remember? The chronic pain is enough to drive you insane. Day after day after day with no end in sight. Please continue to inform people of the possibility of medical Cannabis being of help. There is nothing new nothing but the same old drugs with the lists of side effect that only make you sicker. The people like me need as much help as we can get. Please don’t give up on us like the doctors have. Please.

  19. I would love a consultation but as mentioned above disability limits us to any extra money and i cant afford it right now. Great article though

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