Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS, aka Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)) and Medical Cannabis
CFS/ME is a medical condition characterized by long-term fatigue, which can limit a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities.
Potential Efficacy / Quality of Evidence (Low, Average, High) of Medical Marijuana for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Cannabinoids, Terpenes/Terpenoids, Strains and Ratios that May Help
Pinene, limonene and beta-caryophyllene could be useful terpenoids.
Medical Cannabis Pros
Can battle insomnia, night terrors and sweats.
Relief from muscle and neuropathic pain.
Some cannabis strains/products may help with fatigue and lack of focus.
May help modulate an overactive immune system or an immune system attacking parts of its own body.
Some suggest that CFS could arise due to an endocannabinoid deficiency.
Medical Cannabis Cons
No definitive evidence that cannabis is particularly useful for ME/CFS, with mixed results.
Getting a hold of the right product is important, as the wrong one may increase fatigue!
More About the Condition
The symptoms of ME/CFS include chronic fatigue, impaired memory and concentration, muscle pain (myalgia), headaches, sore throat, sensitivity to food & light, extreme malaise, IBS-like symptoms, night chills and sweats and tender lymph nodes. Little is known about what causes ME/CFS and, as its name suggests, inflammation is certainly an issue, in particular of the brain and spinal cord.
Many suggest that ME is developed after a particularly heavy infection (e.g. glandular fever) that triggers an immune reaction that lasts even after the infection has ended. Other stressful events such as long-term dehydration, hunger and/or pain may trigger ME/CFS. There is some evidence that ME/CFS is linked to other conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, IBS and interstitial cystitis due to autonomic nervous system (AND) dysfunction.
Quotes from Experts
“Young people with severe pain sometimes need strong analgesics. Opiates are occasionally necessary. Their use requires full documentation. For young people with complex pain syndromes, referral to a pain clinic (preferably one that is familiar with ME/CFS) might be helpful. We have received anecdotal information from some young patients that their chronic pain was improved by the use of cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids. There have been no clinical trials of this medication.” Source: Rowe, Peter C et al. ‘Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer.‘ Frontiers in pediatrics vol. 5 121. 19 Jun. 2017, doi:10.3389/fped.2017.00121
Case Studies – Patient Stories