Fibromyalgia is a very painful, complex disease causing spasm of muscles and accompanying nerves and has been a contentious puzzle to both victims and their doctors.
It seems nobody has the slightest idea what causes it and its symptoms and signs can be so diverse that it has been called the “invisible disease” with no specificity except the victim’s typical statements that, “I hurt all over.”
Most doctors reaction or response to a patient presenting with the above just responded with “It’s all in your head,” or alternatively “You just want drugs.” This is and was incorrect, they wanted relief!
The self-hypnosis of many doctors was usually that depression causes fibromyalgia. This decries the fact that chronic pain does cause depression. One very prominent doctor in Oregon made an international reputation for himself by treating hundreds of patients with a very widely used anti-depressant, amitriptyline (Elavil). It helped their depression but it didn’t help much for their fibromyalgia pain and spasms.
Another of the attempts to treat the painful muscle spasms was with cyclobenzaprine (Flexaril) which my patients told me just made them dopey or feel stupid. This is just not too good for someone who has to work.
Anti-seizure drugs such as gabapentin (Neurontin) have been tried. I tried this myself for causalgia, severe burning pain in my feet caused from damage to my sacral nerves. It made me so dopey and dysfunctional I called my neurosurgeon and told him I wouldn’t prescribe it to my worst enemy. I do have a former patient who takes it in high doses for severe discogenic disease. His wife says he is now completely disabled AND dysfunctional.
Some other medications have been tried, success has been minimal.
It was not a surprise to me to read of successful trials in Germany for fibromyalgia with THC, the medicinal chemical in cannabis/marijuana. I have about 100 fibromyalgia patients using marijuana/cannabis very effectively. It is known that cannabis has good analgesic, antispasmodic and euphoriant actions.
It is also known also that the body produces endo cannabinoids, anandamide and 2AG also produce analgesia, antispasm and euphoriant actions, and that plant and natural cannabinoids are better than any other chemical/pharmaceutical trial drug or combination.
It is estimated that 5% to 7% of the population has fibromyalgia. This means that several million patients in the U.S. are afflicted. I note that Eli Lilly & Company are advertising a new drug for fibromyalgia. Three years ago they ballyhooed a drug for ADD. It was a bust. Eli Lilly was once a leading producer of cannabis medicines. I think they should go back to that, it works.
Phillip Leveque has spent his life as a Combat Infantryman, Physician, Toxicologist and Pharmacologist.
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