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1 in 8 with fibromyalgia use cannabis

According to a new Canadian study, one in eight people who suffer from fibromyalgia self-medicate with pot and other cannabis products. Some doctors believe that the findings are not unusual: it is not uncommon for patients who suffer from chronic illness for which there is not treatment to seek out self-medication options. In Los Angeles and throughout California, using pot to treat symptoms is becoming more popular.

People with fibromyalgia usually suffer pain in joints and muscles and could also suffer from chronic headaches and fatigue. For patients who suffer from fibromyalgia, the pain can become unmanageable and unbearable. The condition can be debilitating, leaving sufferers unable to work or lead normal lives. When pain becomes severe, patients will seek out other remedies because they are in need of help.

Researchers still question whether medicating with cannabis is actually helpful for those with fibromyalgia. While marijuana has been known to ease pain for patients with HIV and other conditions, there is no known research showing that the drug can relieve pain associated with fibromyalgia.

Doctors are seeking a treatment that not only reduces pain, but helps sufferers keep up with normal daily function, including household chores. For them, the question remains, if the treatment does not improve function, is it really helping them?

Traditionally, patients are treated with physical therapy, antidepressants, pain medications and other alternative approaches. It seems that cannabis may be, at the very least, an effective pain reliever. Doctors understand why patients would want to seek out their own remedy for pain. The study also found that both pot smokers and non-users had the same rates of disability and unemployment.

If you or someone you love suffers from fibromyalgia and is unable to work, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.

Source: Reuters, "One in eight with fibromyalgia uses cannabis as medicine," Kerry Grens, July 12, 2012.

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