Prof. Victor Novack, Director of the Clinical Research Center at Soroka and one of the research team's supervisors: "Medical cannabis is an effective, safe treatment option for patients suffering from fibromyalgia"
A new study carried out by researchers at the Clinical Research Center at Soroka and the Center for the Study of Cannabis shows that medical cannabis affords an effective, safe treatment option for fibrbomyalgia sufferers. Fibromyalgia is a very common pain disorder and treatments are limited. To date, traditional medications have been found to be only partly effective in alleviating the symptoms of the condition.
The study, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, was conducted under the guidance of Prof. Victor Novack, director of the Clinical Research Center at Soroka, in collaboration with Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider, a doctoral student at the Center for the Study of Cannabis, internal medicine specialist Dr. Yiftah Sagi, and Prof. Mahmoud Abu Shakra, Director of an Internal Medicine department at Soroka and a rheumatology expert at the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University.
Dr. Yiftah Sagi of the Rheumatology Center at Soroka Medical Center and a member of the research team: The study analyzed data on 367 fibromyalgia patients who were treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017 throughout Israel, in the Tikun Olam framework, who were followed up for six months. This is reportedly the largest group of fibromyalgia patients in the world to be treated with medical cannabis.
The study found that after six months of cannabis therapy, 81.8% reported a significant improvement in control of their symptoms, with average pain decreasing from 9.0 to 5.0 points (on an 11-point scale). Symptoms typical of fibromyalgia, such as sleep disturbance, depression, and weakness, showed a significant drop after six months of treatment. In addition, an improvement was achieved in the patients' quality of life and daily functioning. Finally, the incidence of side effects was relatively low: 7.9% reported dizziness, 6.7% suffered from dry mouth, and 5.4% complained about nausea or vomiting.
Prof. Victor Novack, Director of the Clinical Research Center at Soroka and one of the research team's supervisors: "Fibromyalgia is a pain disorder with severe consequences for many patients. There are a variety of treatment options, but many patients have continued to suffer from chronic pain, depression and somatic disorders, even when under optimal care. We now believe medical cannabis is an additional treatment option that may provide relief for these patients, in an effective manner, at relatively low cost and with relatively few side effects in prolonged treatment. I am very hopeful that future studies will corroborate our findings."