Arthritis Society of Canada Funds Medical Marijuana Research for Fibromyalgia Pain

Arthritis Society of Canada Funds Medical Marijuana Research for Fibromyalgia Pain

The Arthritis Society of Canada is awarding a three-year research grant to Dr. Mark Ware to study the use of medical marijuana (cannabis) for fibromyalgia pain.

Ware is the director of clinical research at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He also serves as executive director of the nonprofit Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids.

Understanding the role that medical cannabis can play in mediating pain management is critical for patients and clinicians. Although many pain patients report that medical marijuana can ease their symptoms, there is not much scientific data to support these claims. And there are no large-scale clinical trials on the use of cannabinoids to treat fibromyalgia pain.

The Arthritis Society hopes to help fill this gap.

“These investments are about leading by example,” Janet Yale, president and CEO of The Arthritis Society, said in a press release. “Patients and physicians both need to be able to make informed decisions about whether cannabis has a place in the individual’s treatment plan.”

The pain that patients with fibromyalgia experience can be quite broad. It varies not only in intensity but also in location and frequency. These symptoms are often associated with broader ailments, ranging from sleep disorders to gastrointestinal problems. As a result, the pain can be debilitating to patients.

“This disease has a tremendous impact on a person’s life, but to date we haven’t really had any good treatment options to offer,” Ware said. “Opioids and NSAIDs [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs] for pain management are often ineffective for fibromyalgia pain, or can have serious negative side effects — especially when used for prolonged periods.”

“We hope to identify whether oral cannabinoids can offer the person with fibromyalgia hope for relief from their symptoms and help restore their quality of life. We are grateful for the support of The Arthritis Society for this important project,” Ware said.

In July 2015, The Arthritis Society awarded a similar grant to Dr. Jason McDougall of Dalhousie University in Canada to study the impact of medical marijuana on arthritis pain and disease management.

“With these commitments, The Arthritis Society is doing its part to help fill some of the critical knowledge gaps around medical cannabis, but we can’t do it alone,” Yale said. “There’s no reason for the government to wait until new legislation is in place to start addressing the need for research identified by their own task force. That’s why we continue to call on the federal government to make a firm commitment in the 2017 budget to fund $25 million in medical cannabis research over the next five years.”

This announcement by The Arthritis Society comes on the heels of the final report of the Canadian government’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, which provides a framework for legalization and regulation.

The task force, like The Arthritis Society, advocates for more research, regulated access to, and affordability of cannabis.

With increasing numbers of patients turning to medical marijuana for pain management, this type of research is not only necessary, but welcome to many who are living with pain.

The Arthritis Society is Canada’s principal charity, providing education, programs, and support to more than 4 million Canadians living with the disease. It is also the largest non-government funder of arthritis research.

8 comments

  1. Denise Bault says:

    I’m happy to see the Canadians doing research in this area. Hello Americans…WHERE IS YOUR FUNDING AND RESEARCH??????????

  2. Lois Flett says:

    I’m definitely interested in the research that Dr. Mark Ware will be conducting for medical cannibas in relation to fibromyalgia pain. I’ve been living with Fibro since 1995…been seeing a pain specialist since 2004. After trying just about everything on the market for conventional medicine with basically no relief to my pain (6-8 daily), my doctor put me on medical cannibas in May/16. Finally I’ve found relief from my pain!! It’s short lived, since I vape the relief is instant & amazing! Although I have to vape about every 2 hours or less, it’s well worth it ????‼ I used to suffer from miagraines almost daily in addition to intense back & knee pain. In the past 7 months that I’ve been vaping, I’ve only had a few headaches – amazing! My knees feel like footballs before I vape & within 5 minutes I’m walking perfectly normal! The worst pain in my lower back is stubborn & seems to be the hardest to treat, but I do get some relief from vaping. Could be that I haven’t found the perfect combination of THC/CBD just yet. I’m still working on that. I’m also using butrans 20 patches to reduce my baseline pain. There’s no doubt that medical cannabis is the way to go for treating Fibromyalgia! I’ve got over 30 years of experience living with Fibro, & thanks to medical cannabis, the last 7 months have been almost bearable!

    • Don says:

      I too use marijuana for pain and sleep.I never believed in marijuana and never thought I would be using it in my fifties.I was taking five different prescriptions for at least fifteen years and was addicted to one. I was always warning my kids on how bad marijuana was and now its the best thing for me. I am a firm believer that if they study it for fibromyalgia that they will find it the best and safest drug to use.I only wish I would have discovered it back in my thirties and would have enjoyed my life without all the side effects of the different drugs I took. I have one drug that makes me happy relaxed and takes my pain away. This was a last resort decision for my wife and I and it was the right one for us.

  3. Rebecca Hoffman says:

    I wish They would fund it here and see so we can get help here, I have fibromyalgia over 10 years , I want relief in this pain.. So I don’t have to keep taking pills all the time, it doesn’t get rid of all the pain..

  4. Jill Konen says:

    I get so tired of Drs saying that opiates DO NOT help with fibro pain!!
    Yes they do!!! I go to a Pain Management Clinic and that’s what they do is manage my pain!! They saved my life!! I could go on and on!! Sooo get busy!!!! And at least legalize the medical in all 50 states!! Nebraska WILL NOT do it. But what’s funny is the county that the troopers pickup all the people coming from Colorado is going broke cause there’s soooo many court cases. It’s only a misdemeanor to have 3/4 of an ounce. So now they just give you a ticket and they let you go!! Anyway if you can’t help my generation hopefully it will be the next!!
    BTW I DO NOT SMOKE MARIJUANA AND WONT IF ITS LEGALIZED. IM More interested in the CBDs.

  5. Regina says:

    In Australia we are even further behind and it is only going to be made possible for the treatment of children with severe seizures later this year. If there is a trial I would like to participate as my whole intestinal system is now not working properly!

  6. Trina jeanneault says:

    I would be interested in the study I am 57 years old and have had fibromyalgia diabetes and chronic fatigue as well as fatty liver non alcohol type and leaky gut as well as high cholesterol , depression and anxiety disorder I am on my fourth year with fibromyalgia and 3rd year with diabetes type 2 and first year with high cholesterol everything followed shortly after I got sick

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