Weed and Fibromyalgia: Can Cannabis Help Patients with Fibromyalgia?

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

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Fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia syndrome, or FMS, is a condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body. The most prominent symptom is pain sensitivity, called “abnormal pain perception processing.” Fatigue, sleep troubles, mental and emotional issues, and other medical conditions frequently accompany FMS.

In 1972, the modern definition of the condition was described, and it was officially named “fibromyalgia” in 1976.1 Today, FMS affects approximately 6.4% of adults in the United States and is more prevalent in women than in men, with 7.7% of women and 4.9% of men having a diagnosis.2

There is currently no clear understanding of the specific causes of fibromyalgia and no cure, only management of the symptoms with treatment. Recent developments in FMS therapies include green eyeglasses and laser treatment.

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What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Researchers do not know what causes fibromyalgia other than patients' heightened sensitivity to pain. From brain studies, researchers have found that there are altered neural pathways in the brain of patients with fibromyalgia that are involved in pain signaling.

Other known risk factors for developing Fibromyalgia include:

  • Age – FMS can affect anyone at any age, but it usually develops later in life and into old age.
  • Gender – Women are more likely than men to develop FMS.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus

Other risk factors researchers suggest are linked to developing fibromyalgia include:

  • Genetics
  • Repetitive Stress Injuries
  • Stressful or traumatic events
  • Obesity
  • Viral infections or other illness

Fibromyalgia Signs & Symptoms

If you have developed fibromyalgia, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Widespread pain – Pain that reaches from head to toe on both sides of the body and lasts for three months or longer
  • Fatigue and sleep issues – Tiredness, despite getting rest, and difficulties sleeping
  • Cognitive problems – Also called “fibro fog,” can cause memory, thinking, and concentration difficulties
  • Mental Health issues, like anxiety and depression
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Muscle and joint stiffness
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Face and jaw pain, including TMJ conditions
  • Tingly and numbness in hands and feet
  • Digestive Issues like pain, bloating, constipation, and IBS

Not all of these symptoms are present in every individual diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is not a progressive illness, and the severity levels range from mild to severe.3

Can Cannabis Help Alleviate Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

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There is no cure for fibromyalgia. Patients’ symptoms are treated with a mixture of pain and lifestyle management, medication, and cognitive therapy. Medication can include antidepressants, antiseizure medications, and pain relievers. Other alternative therapies may include acupuncture, massage, or even hypnosis. 

There is a theory that fibromyalgia is linked to deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system, although there isn’t concrete research to confirm it. Many people suffering from FMS have reported decreased symptoms like pain, sleep issues, anxiety, and reduced quality of life from cannabis consumption.4 Cannabis rich in THC and CBD has been shown to reduce FMS symptoms like pain.5 One study of 17 FMS patients using high-THC cannabis oil found that individuals who treated themselves with cannabis found more significant relief from symptoms like depression and pain than the placebo group.6

Despite the inconclusiveness of research due to variable control issues, researchers state that cannabis was safe to treat fibromyalgia symptoms with few adverse side effects. The reviews of current literature on fibromyalgia symptoms and cannabis call for further research to understand the complex relationship between the disease and cannabinoids.7

It is best for patients to consult with their doctor before proceeding with cannabis consumption for symptom management. 

Legality and Doctor’s Recommendation

To determine if your state considers fibromyalgia a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, check out our Laws & Regulations section for the medical cannabis rules in your state.

If you find that your state recognizes fibromyalgia or its symptoms as a qualifying medical condition, you can seek a doctor’s recommendation to get your medical cannabis card in your state.

How NuggMD Can Help

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NuggMD is the nation's leading medical marijuana technology platform, serving patients in 28 states and growing. We’ve connected over 1,300,000 patients with their new medical marijuana doctors face-to-face via our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform. 

We believe that every human being has the right to explore the benefits of medical cannabis and are fully committed to helping each patient explore all their options in their journey to wellness. For further information on whether you qualify for medical cannabis, select your state.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Cannabis & Fibromyalgia

Which strains are best for fibromyalgia?

The effects of cannabis for the treatment of fibromyalgia are subject to a wide variety of internal and external variables. What strain, ratio of cannabinoids, or product is best for each individual is best determined by a combination of doctor recommendations, accessibility to cannabis products, and comfort level. Further research is needed to help determine suitable needs for fibromyalgia patients. 

Typical recommendations from the cannabis community include CBD-rich cultivars, like Harlequin and Cannatonic, and Myrcene-rich ones, like Granddaddy Purple, or ones known for their sleepy effects, like Bubba Kush. 

Which is better for Fibromyalgia: sativa or indica?

Cannabinoid and terpene content can vary regardless of whether a strain is labeled as sativa or indica. Multiple cannabinoids have successfully reduced symptom severity in certain patients with fibromyalgia, but the impact on each individual can vary. Cannabis rich in cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN and terpenes like limonene, linalool, pinenes, myrcene, terpineol, and beta-caryophyllene have the potential to aid in reducing pain.8

If cannabis has been recommended for you as a treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms, where you start may depend on a mixture of your comfort level and needs.

Do edibles help with fibromyalgia?

If you are treating your fibromyalgia symptoms with cannabis, edibles may be a suitable mode of consumption to receive the benefits of the cannabinoids.  Consult with your physician as to what an appropriate dosage and cannabinoid combo may be for you. 

What kinds/symptoms of fibromyalgia can cannabis help with?

Cannabis has shown potential in helping to treat fibromyalgia symptoms, like pain, sleep issues, anxiety, and overall quality of life. It’s best to consult a physician if you are interested in using cannabis for fibromyalgia symptoms because some people experience adverse side effects.


  1. Inanici F, Yunus MB. History of fibromyalgia: past to present. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2004;8(5):369-378. doi:10.1007/s11916-996-0010-6
  2. Bhargava J, Hurley JA. Fibromyalgia. In: StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK540974/
  3. Schaefer C, Chandran A, Hufstader M, et al. The comparative burden of mild, moderate and severe fibromyalgia: results from a cross-sectional survey in the United States. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2011;9:71. Published 2011 Aug 22. doi:10.1186/1477-7525-9-71
  4. Russo EB. Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2016;1(1):154-165. doi:https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0009
  5. Khurshid H, Qureshi IA, Jahan N, et al. A Systematic Review of Fibromyalgia and Recent Advancements in Treatment: Is Medicinal Cannabis a New Hope?. Cureus. 2021;13(8):e17332. Published 2021 Aug 20. doi:10.7759/cureus.17332
  6. Chaves C, Bittencourt PCT, Pelegrini A. Ingestion of a THC-Rich Cannabis Oil in People with Fibromyalgia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Pain Medicine. 2020;21(10):2212-2218. doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnaa303
  7. Strand NH, Maloney J, Kraus M, Wie C, Turkiewicz M, Gomez DA, Adeleye O, Harbell MW. Cannabis for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review. Biomedicines. 2023; 11(6):1621. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines11061621
  8. Liktor-Busa E, Keresztes A, LaVigne J, Streicher JM, Largent-Milnes TM. Analgesic Potential of Terpenes Derived from Cannabis sativa. Pharmacological Reviews. 2021;73(4):98-126. doi:https://doi.org/10.1124/pharmrev.120.000046

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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