Many patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome admit to using cannabis for pain management
New research published this month suggests that medical cannabis is extremely prevalent in patients seeking to treat symptoms of a severe tissue disorder. New study shows rate of patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome treat their symptoms with cannabis. The use of complementary therapies for the management of chronic pain in patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or hypermobility spectrum disorders. EDS is a serious illness. Can cannabis be an effective treatment?
The study found that more than a third of patients diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) have used therapeutic hemp to manage their symptoms. The NORML, who published a report on the study last week, said researchers found that 37% “reported using cannabis for therapeutic purposes,” with cannabis use being particularly prevalent “among patients who reported having experienced moderate or severe pain ”.
“Of all the traditional and complementary therapies used by those interviewed, marijuana was found to be the most effective,” NORML said in its report.
What is EDS?
Le National Institutes of Health defines Ehlers-Danlos syndrome as "a group of disorders that affect the connective tissues supporting the skin, bones, blood vessels, and many other organs and tissues", the outlook for which can "range from slightly loose joints to life-threatening complications ”. The characteristic symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are extremely flexible joints and elastic skin prone to bruising.
According to the NIH, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome “appears to affect at least 1 in 5000 people worldwide”.
The research was based on surveys of over 500 people through the EDS Society who reported being diagnosed with EDS or HSD (Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders), to determine which therapies Complements and alternatives have been used and their efficacy declared in relieving pain and improving quality of life.
The authors said they “focused on the use of traditional Chinese therapies, herbal medicines and marijuana”.
The most commonly reported therapies, used by 70-92% of participants, are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen, opioids, and physical therapy, ”the authors write. “The therapies that participants rated most effective were opioids, physical therapy and marijuana, with 10-24% of people using these therapies finding them extremely helpful. Over 56% of patients with ADS / HSD choose cannabis on their own as a complementary therapy, widely used in patients with MDS / HSD with higher reported pain levels. Providers caring for patients with EDS / HSD should be aware of these data which show wide use of self-medication therapies, should be taken into account to work collaboratively with these patients to develop comprehensive treatment strategies to to better manage the complications of their chronic pain ”.
NORML noted that “although EDS is on the list of requirements for medical cannabis therapy in a handful of states - including Connecticut, Illinois and New Hampshire, there is little clinical data evaluating its safety and effectiveness for patients with the disease ”.
Connecticut added EDS to the list of requirements earlier this year when it expanded its pool of potentially eligible patients. State lawmakers have also given the green light to prescribing medical cannabis to patients with chronic pain for more than six months.
The state's medical marijuana program, which was established by lawmakers in 2012, has 38 qualifying requirements for a cannabis prescription after the addition of EDS and prolonged chronic pain.