Fibromyalgia and Medical Marijuana
What the experts have to say about the use of marijuana for treating fibromyalgia.
The pros and cons of medical marijuana for pain continued...
Not all doctors agree.
"I see no role for it in pain management," says Charles Chabal, MD. Chabal
is a pain management specialist at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, Wash.
"You'll certainly find doctors who'll be very supportive and write
prescriptions for medical marijuana. But it's how the individual physician
reads the data and the evidence. There's no doubt it makes you feel good, but
so does alcohol."
Chabal continues, "Another problem I have with marijuana is that it's
herbal, untested, and you never know what you're getting when you buy it."
Chabal doesn't bring up medical marijuana with his patients. "Some patients
have asked me about it. They want me to write a prescription for medical
marijuana. But that's not something I do. I don't want to be known as 'the
medical marijuana doctor.' Already, doing pain management, one of the big
things I need to sort out are the patients who are using pain medications
appropriately versus those who are abusing them. We have a lot of social
responsibility with that.
"I'm not aware of any evidence that medical marijuana is one of the tools
we'd use to improve physical and social function, including interaction with
loved ones and family -- all key determinants of quality of life," says
The "poor delivery" argument
Robert L. DuPont, MD, is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown
University Medical School and president of the Institute for Behavior and
Health, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing illegal drug use. He asks, "Is smoked
marijuana a reasonable, safe drug delivery system for any medicine for any
illness? That's the threshold question. The answer, to me, is transparently
DuPont continues, "If there are any chemicals or any combination of
chemicals in smoked marijuana that are ever shown to be valuable for any
illness, including fibromyalgia, I'm all for it -- meaning prescribing purified
chemicals in a known dose. No doctors prescribe burning leaves to treat any
An estimated 400 chemicals co-exist in marijuana, but marijuana smoke has as
many as 2,000 chemicals, says DuPont. "Would you really want to prescribe 2,000
chemicals in a mix where you don't know what it is and call that a