A Systematic Review of Fibromyalgia and Recent Advancements in Treatment: Is Medicinal Cannabis a New Hope?, 2021

Topics: alternative therapy; cannabinoids; cannabis; chronic pain; fibromyalgia; pharmacotherapy

Authors: Hajra Khurshid, Israa A Qureshi, Nasrin Jahan, Terry R Went, Waleed Sultan, Alisha Sapkota, Michael Alfonso


Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a pain disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbance, in the absence of any well-defined underlying organic disease. The exact pathophysiology and the mechanism which links different factors related to the disease is still unknown. Due to unknown precise pathogenesis, the coexistence of other diseases, and overlapping clinical features, FMS diagnosis may be laborious. Various treatment strategies are used, only a few Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, still we are facing challenges regarding effective treatment. Recently, medicinal cannabis has proven to be effective in chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis, neuropathic pain, and other non-cancer chronic pain. However, further research is needed about how the cannabinoid system works with the pain pathway. Using the fact that medicinal cannabis is effective in the treatment of chronic pain and certain rheumatic diseases, in this review, we aim to analyze the role of the cannabinoid system in fibromyalgia syndrome. We followed Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines in searching PubMed, MEDLINE (through PubMed), PubMed Central, and Google Scholar using keywords “fibromyalgia, chronic pain, cannabis, cannabinoids, pharmacotherapy, alternative therapy” and Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) words. After applying inclusion/exclusion criteria and checking for the quality assessment, 22 articles were retrieved and used for the analysis of the role of cannabis in the treatment of fibromyalgia. The two main compounds of cannabis with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and their ratio determines the effect on various symptoms of FMS. We included studies regarding the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of fibromyalgia, investigating the use of nabilone, dronabinol (a synthetic analog of THC), Bedrocan (22.4 mg THC,

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