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Study: 1 in 8 fibromyalgia patients use cannabis for relief

People in Michigan and around the country who suffer from the debilitating illness fibromyalgia know that every day can be a struggle. Fibromyalgia is something of a mystery even to experienced doctors and researchers; its symptoms can range from pain in the joints and muscles to headaches and fatigue. There is no cure and managing the pain and discomfort can be challenging at best. Not only is going to work often out of the question, but simply managing everyday tasks such as housework or driving a vehicle can be next to impossible.

A new survey from Canada sheds some light on how some people have chosen to deal with their illness: by using marijuana. Medical marijuana has long been used to ease pain for people who suffer from a range of maladies, including HIV and glaucoma, but there have not been comprehensive studies for how marijuana use affects fibromyalgia patients. However, the Canadian study found that one in eight people who suffer from fibromyalgia have self-medicated using marijuana or another cannabis product.

Researchers are not fully on board with immediately handing out pot to fibromyalgia sufferers, however. One expert on pain management said the ideal medication would not just mitigate pain but make the patient more functional and productive. The study found no improvement on productivity for those who used marijuana.

While people who suffer from fibromyalgia often have a hard time with their daily lives, that difficulty should not extend to receiving benefits for Social Security Disability. People who need to apply for SSDI benefits often consult with attorneys experienced in filing claims and appeals so that those who are entitled to benefits under the law can receive them.

Source: Reuters, "One in eight with fibromyalgia uses cannabis as medicine," Kerry Grens, July 12, 2012

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