Chronic fatigue is characterized by constant extreme fatigue or tiredness regardless of rest.
Cannabis and Chronic Fatigue
There are many skeptics when it comes to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) due to its unknown cause. Chronic fatigue syndrome is multifaceted and believed to stem from the dysregulation of multiple systems throughout the body. There are dozens of symptoms associated with the syndrome including memory loss, dizziness, fatigue and irritability.
Chronic fatigue is classified as fatigue that cannot be remedied by sleep or rest. Until now, there have been no scientific studies that look at the effects of cannabis use on chronic fatigue syndrome, however there is promising work being done on other disease processes who share symptomology with CFS.
Individuals are often skeptical when it comes to using cannabis to treat symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome due to its relaxing effects. Most people associate cannabis use with relaxation, decompressing, sleep and calming effects. However, certain types of cannabis may also be used for uplifting mood, increasing energy and harnessing focus.
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome has unknown causes but is usually associated with other disease processes. Chronic fatigue syndrome can be difficult to diagnose as it presents differently in each individual, with varying levels of symptomatology.
Common symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include decreased activity level and fatigue, post exertional malaise, sleep problems, cognitive impairment, pain, flu-like symptoms and sensitivities and intolerances.
The most common symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is fatigue. This fatigue is not normal, or related to strenuous activity, but rather chronic and not reduced by sleep or rest. Most individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome report that fatigue significantly limits their ability to perform normal activities of daily living.
Another prominent symptom is post-exertional malaise, which is classified as significant fatigue experienced after a physical or mental activity that would normally not make a person tired. Periods of post-exertional malaise can be short-lived, lasting 24 hours or less, or carry on for days or weeks at a time. This can include activities such as bathing or cooking a meal, activities that would not normally exhaust a person.
Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
As the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are unknown it can be very difficult to diagnose the disease. Researchers believe there are numerous factors at play with chronic fatigue syndrome including genetic predisposition, a virus or other infection, immune system abnormalities, stressful environment, central nervous system and hormone abnormalities and exposure to toxins. CFS also affects more women than men.
Chronic fatigue syndrome has many similarities to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and lupus, which often makes diagnosing the condition more challenging. It is theorized that people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome generally have decreased adenosine triphosphate production and irregularities in the immune system.
Although researchers are constantly making gains into the science behind chronic fatigue syndrome, there is no one test that can confirm a diagnosis. Doctors will work with each patient to take a thorough medical history and review symptoms to determine if an individual meets the criteria for chronic fatigue disorder.
Current Treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Current treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome include lifestyle modifications, stress management as well as pharmacological interventions.
Lifestyle modifications play a key role in managing CFS. Pacing activities and low grade exercise such as yoga or tai chi is recommended. It is also important to keep an activity log to determine which activities cause the most exhaustion and symptom increase. People with chronic fatigue syndrome may find that certain activities are not within their physical limits.
Stress management is another important tool in managing chronic fatigue syndrome. As external stressors can exacerbate chronic fatigue syndrome it is important to mitigate stress. People with chronic fatigue syndrome should learn tools to cope with stress and find ways to eliminate undue stress in their lives.
Finally, medications that increase ATP production in the brain may reduce the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. It is also common for individuals with CFS to use sleep aids to help with symptoms of insomnia.
Cannabis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
While there are no studies to prove the effectiveness of managing chronic fatigue syndrome with cannabis, there are many subjective reports of how the plant may help. Many individuals associate cannabis with relaxation, sleep and having calming effects, but this is just one aspect of the wonderous plant.
It is important for individuals to educate themselves about different strains and types of cannabis that may be most beneficial. For people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, the uplifting effects of a sativa strain or a product high in cannabidiol (CBD) may be most beneficial. For others who struggle with sleep, a heavy indica may be of greater benefit for its sleep-inducing effects.
Cannabis may also help people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome combat pain symptoms. One study, published in 2010 in the Science Direct, demonstrated the reduction of pain and inflammation in an animal model, that can be directly correlated to a human population. The study theorized that cannabis acts on CB1 receptors in the brain and spinal cord to produce analgesic effects in mice.
At Apollo Cannabis Clinics we offer patient educators who work with each individual to create an appropriate treatment plan. Patient educators will assist individuals in finding the products that are right for them and provide pertinent information on dosing and consumption methods.
Apollo Clinics Can Help
Apollo Cannabis Clinic is an evidenced based clinic who has been conducting observational research on medical cannabis and conditions since 2014. The staff includes health care professionals to assist patients of all ages and backgrounds.
In order to access Apollo’s services, begin by visiting apollocannabis.ca to fill out an intake form. Once the information has been submitted and reviewed an Apollo representative will contact you to book an appointment with one of our doctors.
During the initial appointment individuals will disclose their medical history and past cannabis use, and the doctor will determine an appropriate treatment plan with regards to cannabis. It is important to be honest and open with the doctor as it will provide them the best chance at helping individuals manage their condition with cannabis.
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