The use of cannabis for pain management: Potential side effects on myofascial tissues of the musculoskeletal system.
Sensitivity of the Fasciae to the Endocannabinoid System: Production of Hyaluronan-Rich Vesicles and Potential Peripheral Effects of Cannabinoids in Fascial Tissue
Myofascial tissue is a thin, strong, fibrous connective tissue that extends throughout the body to provide support and protection to muscles and bones. Myofascial pain is a common clinical disorder, in which patients feel acute muscle pain and weakness, and experience decreased range of motions. This disorder affects 85% of the population at least once during their lifetimes.
In the US, over the past decade, the availability and usage of cannabis in medical context has consistently increased, and myofascial pain has been one of the conditions reported to be alleviated by cannabis therapy.
However, a recent study has demonstrated that cannabinoids - the major biologically active components of cannabis - affect the function of the fasciae, a constituent of the myofascial tissue. In particular, the fasciae helps synthesize the extracellular matrix (EM), a three-dimensional network of extracellular molecules that provide structural and biochemical support to surrounding cells in the myofascial tissue. Exposure to cannabinoids alter the biosynthesis of the EM by the fasciae and consequently remodels all surrounding cells and tissues. This finding suggests that therapeutic applications of cannabinoids to treat pain may lead to unwanted side effects to our musculoskeletal system.