Cannabis and Fatigue: 5 things to know, 5 ways treat, and 5 strains to try
Any extreme exercise or activity will lead to fatigue. There’s the exhaustion that follows a day of skiing, flag ball, or pick-up basketball. You may suffer fatigue after a day of working in the heat and humidity, a long international flight or keeping up with your kids. Such fatigue is short-lived and not the issue we’re looking at here.
Some people, more than you might think, suffer from chronic fatigue with various causes, symptoms, and difficulty in diagnosing. There’s a name for the problem: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).
Some cannabis strains will perk you up when tired. Some will smooth muscle pains from an exhausting activity. And, others will help you rest and recover. The focus here is on how cannabis can treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
5 things you need to know about CFS.
- CFS is “A debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that lasts 6 months or longer, is not improved by bed rest, and may be worsened by physical or mental activity” (Medicinenet).
- CFS-related impaired memory, insomnia, mental concentration, muscle pain, and weakness affect family, social, and work interactions.
- CFS affects about 1 million Americans, but women are two to four times more likely than men to be diagnosed with ME/CFS” (WomensHealth).
- CFS patients find “there are no Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments specific for ME/CFS” (WomensHealth).
- CFS has no clear cause, but research is focused on factors like “stress, the immune system, toxins, the central nervous system, and activation of a latent virus…. may be caused by inflammation of the nervous system, and that this inflammation may be some immune response or process. Other factors such as age, prior illness, stress, environment, or genetics may also play a role” (MedicalNewsToday).
5 CFS treatment regimens
With no clear cause, research focuses on treating symptoms. As the condition continues, this becomes increasingly complex. For instance, the core problems can provoke anxiety, depression, and risky self-medication.
- Doctors will start treating pain with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkillers like acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.
- Doctors may prescribe Modafinil, Lisdexamfetamine, Duloxetine, Amantadine, or Armodafinil. Or, they may prescribe medications for specific symptoms like depression and anxiety. Some of these medications have a high potential for abuse, and all of them have a negative impact on pregnancy.
- They will direct patients to cognitive behavior therapy under directions of professionals with CFS specialization. They may, in turn, recommend stretching and movement therapies, gentle massage, heat, toning exercises, and water therapy for healing” (CDC.gov).
- Nutritionists recommend avoiding potential allergens like gluten, lactose, casein, caffeine, and more. Some recommend a candida diet high in probiotics and eliminating alcohol, fruit, grains, and sugar.
- Patients should increase their intake of potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B-6 and B-12.
CFS patients are advised to integrate therapies for their individual symptomology. They should seek help in support groups and change their life pattern to emphasize nutrition, exercise, and rest.
5 cannabis strains for CFS
Cannabis has proven effective for many CFS patients as it works on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and broadly involved Endocannabinoid System (ECS). It may only provide a distraction, but it can also help with anxiety, depression, sleep, rest, and anti-inflammation. No one of these strains is a comprehensive solution, but each is worth consideration.
- Blue Dream is Sativa heavy with up to 25% THC. It produces a cerebral head high fast and hard. It warms, numbs, and mellows you out with a creative and motivated feeling.
- Durban Poison is pure Sativa with a 26% THC high. It will get pain off your mind, relieve stress, and anxiety. It produces a happy high that’s creative enough to continue your day. There is some risk of paranoia for some users.
- Green Crack boasts 15-20% THC, just enough to keep you awake and working through the day. The hit is cerebral boosting mood and energy to create, do, and finish things.
- Jack Herer, with its 18-24% THC, boosts energy with long-lasting effects. A potent Sativa, it produces a euphoric, happy, and creative energy.
- Super Silver Haze features 70% Sativa for a definite long-lasting energy boost. That’s 23% THC to induce relaxation and sleep.
The standard response is to promote high THC content, and these strains sure pack a punch. But, CFS patients may want to test different strains looking for something that works for their specific symptomology. If their symptoms include muscle soreness, dizziness, sore throat, and other evidence, they must find the right balance for them.
Your CFS overview
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome affects 1 million Americans per year, mostly women between 30-50. It is complex enough to delay and defy diagnosis. And, there is no definitive pharmaceutical solution.
Patients have medicated for centuries with cannabis, and now that its mechanism of action is being scientifically explored, cannabis may indeed be a magic bullet for some. Finding the right cannabis strain for an individual’s symptom syndrome can be challenging, but the relief from symptoms can be real.
CFS victims, especially those opposed to smoking and its effects, have the option to explore benefits of edibles, teas, and topical applications, too. Cannabis-derived candies can provide soothing relief throughout the day. Cannabis teas can help with sleep. And, cannabis lotions or transdermal patches can relieve localized pain.
CFS makes life difficult enough for patients to make mistakes with opioids and alcohol. Cannabis can be a far more effective and less risky choice.