In modern society, people work themselves to death, literally. The Japanese even have a word for it, karoshi. Death by overwork. Long-haul truck drivers pop stimulant pills to stay awake at the wheel, students chug energy drinks to cram for tests, and working parents are falling asleep with coffee in their hands. Our society is definitely experiencing fatigue.
Most people are familiar with fatigue in some form. Working long hours and exerting oneself physically and mentally all day takes its toll on our minds and bodies. Fatigue is generally a lack of energy or motivation, but not the same as drowsiness, or being sleepy, although a catnap might be a good idea. Some who are experiencing fatigue may say they feel exhausted, run down, and tired.
Fatigue is normal in healthy people and is easily remedied with rest. Working, thinking, playing, and simply living will fatigue the most resilient of us at some point. Fighting fatigue, instead of treating it, most frequently results in accidents and injuries. Our cognitive ability to function decreases as we exhaust our energies. If we don’t rest we end up falling asleep at the wheel, working inefficiently, making poor judgments, and can even get sick. Our bodies need rest and sleep to rejuvenate mentally and physically.
Juggling relationships, careers, multitasking, constant commitments, and responsibilities, without getting enough sleep, will surely cause anyone to burn out at some point. Illness can cause fatigue and also be a symptom of fatigue. As well, certain conditions and diseases show can directly cause fatigue, such as blood disorders, cancers, eating disorders, Endocrine diseases, fibromyalgia, PTSD, IBD, arthritis, and more.
Many medications, such as lithium salts, can also induce fatigue in the body and mind. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are known to fatigue patients. Depression, and other psychiatric conditions, such as insomnia, can contribute to fatigue as well.
While it’s easy to understand normal mental and physical fatigue, what’s not clear is why some people are chronically fatigued even when healthy and well rested. Experiencing fatigue chronically for six months or more without the presence of other medical conditions could be diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome.
Since fatigue, being chronically fatigued, and chronic fatigue syndrome are associated with so many different causes and conditions, there are a variety of methods to treat and respond to it. General, daily fatigue can be treated with rest and relaxation effectively. For many of us, being chronically fatigued is the issue, and it requires other approaches.
Many people who suffer from fatigue chronically, as a result, experience pain, anxiety, and depression. Often, the fatigue goes untreated, and sufferers turn to drugs and medication for energy and relief to get through their daily lives. Students and workers using ADHD medication and caffeine to fight fatigue can actually increase their chronic fatigue symptoms. Truck drivers around the world are popping uppers like Benzedrine and amphetamines, or even cocaine to fight off sleep and fatigue.
These types of medications not only increase the risk of developing certain health conditions, such as heart attack or stroke, but they also cause irritability, anxiety, stress, and in the long term can have deadly effects on systemic functions in the brain and body.
For those diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, doctors may suggest specialized treatments, therapies, and lifestyle changes to address the condition. In addition, physicians may prescribe medications such as painkillers, like NSAIDs] and opioids or SSRI antidepressants to manage pain and depression associated with CFS, known medically as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
Unfortunately, children and adults in the U.S have been prescribed opioids, antidepressants, anxiety pills, and sleeping pills as if it were a part of their daily nutritional needs. This has led to an astounding 1 in 6 people in the U.S. taking psychiatric medications. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, prescription painkillers were responsible for over 20,000 deaths in 2015, and some 2 million people over age 12 had a substance abuse problem with prescription painkillers. Both of those figures are nearly twice as high as heroin death and addiction rates for 2015.
Normal fatigue, brought on by overwork, stress, injury, or illness can lead to headaches, muscle inflammation, and pain in the body and brain. A 2015 extensive systematic review of the effectiveness of cannabinoids in treating chronic pain concluded by stating,
“Cannabinoids may provide effective analgesia in chronic neuropathic pain conditions that are refractory to other treatments.”
Essentially, chronic pain that can't be treated by traditional treatments of opioids and the like could be effectively reduced by cannabis-based medicines.
Cannabis is able to reduce pain and inflammation in the body by activating the [endocannabinoid system]. This system's main receptors, [CB-1] and [CB-2], are found throughout the body’s tissue in the central and peripheral nervous system, and even the brain. The receptors can be agonized by endogenous cannabinoids such as anandamide, or by phytocannabinoids and terpenoids found in cannabis and other plants. These receptors work to maintain homeostatic conditions in the body by regulating functions like pain management, immunological responses, appetite, mood, and sleep.
In 2012, a study on the effects of exercise on gene expression in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis found that ME patients who exercised, produced higher concentrations of a unique receptor called TRPV-1. It’s thought that this specific receptor could be integral in the metabolism of the endogenous cannabinoid [anandamide}, aptly coined the “bliss molecule” due to its role in stimulating sensations of well being and relaxation. Lack of anandamide uptake, or receptors to bind with anandamide, could manifest various symptoms. Introducing exogenous cannabinoids, like those naturally derived from cannabis, help to regulate systems of health and wellness in the body that may be dysfunctional.
Cannabis has shown in scientific research its antioxidant, neuroprotective, analgesic, anti-inflammatory properties, and a high safety profile, all warranting its medicinal use. While further research is needed, large portions of the medical community agree that cannabis is able to treat symptoms of fatigue, and could help induce rest and relaxation for some of us who have difficulty stepping back and taking a rest when we need it.
Marijuana will affect individuals differently. Consult with a physician and medical marijuana professional about using cannabis and check out some of the strains linked below that have been reported to help with fatigue.
· [[Alice in Wonderland]]
· [[G13 Widow]]
· [[Laughing Buddha]]
· [[Sour Tangie]]
· [[Super Lemon Haze]]
· [[Acapulco Gold]]
· [[Allen Wrench]]
· [[Amnesia Haze]]
· [[Asian Fantasy]]
· [[Durban Poison]]
· [[Blue Crack]]
· [[Casey Jones]]
· [[Cinderella 99]]
· [[Conspiracy Kush]]
· [[Cotton Purple Chem]]
White, Andrea T. Ph.D. (2012) National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Differences in metabolite-detecting, adrenergic, and immune gene expression following moderate exercise in chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and healthy controls