Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid derived from the marijuana plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, CBD doesn’t get you high, but according to some research, it may hold promise as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving treatment for fibromyalgia.
Treatment options for fibromyalgia (FM) are limited. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are similar to those of other chronic pain syndromes. It is estimated that over 11 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia. While the symptoms of FM are similar to other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lumbago, and chronic fatigue syndrome, there is no cure.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes chronic musculoskeletal pain, as well as insomnia, depression and other cognitive problems. While not life-threatening, it can have debilitating consequences, both physically and psychologically. Currently, there is no known cure and the traditional therapies available are mainly focused on pain management. However, CBD is becoming increasingly popular among people with fibromyalgia. In this article, we look at how CBD can help treat the symptoms of this debilitating condition.
Does CBD help with fibromyalgia?
There is evidence that conditions such as depression, stress and anxiety may contribute significantly to the development of fibromyalgia. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which regulates the body’s physiological response to stress, becomes dysfunctional, making it increasingly difficult to cope with and manage stressful situations, and causing chronic widespread pain. CBD can alleviate these conditions through its ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The function of the ECS is to maintain physical and cognitive homeostasis (balance) by directing endocannabinoids to where they are needed in the body. CBD acts on the ECS with analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that help relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. CBD can help with fibromyalgia:
- Pain reduction
- Reduction of inflammation
- Promotes cognitive homeostasis (and therefore reduces symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression)
- sleep regulation (helps against insomnia and fatigue)
CBD and sleep regulation
CBD also activates serotonin receptors (5HT1A and 5HT2A) – which help reduce stress and anxiety. Several studies show that CBD helps with anxiety and depression, as well as other neurological problems. This is due to the increased activity of astrocytes, which regulate synaptic activity and inflammation. It reduces the underlying inflammation in the brain that has been linked to conditions such as depression. CBD can be effective in regulating the quality and quantity of sleep, thanks to its calming properties. Moreover, the ability to reduce common causes of insomnia, such as anxiety, pain or chronic stress, also contributes significantly to better sleep.
CBD for the treatment of fibromyalgia What does the research say?
Unfortunately, research on the effects of CBD on fibromyalgia is limited. There are currently no published studies on fibromyalgia that have examined the effects of CBD alone. However, several clinical studies of cannabis in general have shown promising results.
Study #1: Cannabinoids and fibromyalgia
In 2009, a study (specifically mentioning fibromyalgia) looked at different cannabinoids and found that CBD in particular could relieve pain. Specifically, CBD has been shown to be more effective in relieving neuropathic pain when used in combination with other pain medications.
Study #2: Comparison of cannabis users and non-users
In a 2001 study of 56 people (mostly women) with fibromyalgia, participants were divided into two groups of 28 people. One group consisted of cannabis users (with varying frequency of use and amount of cannabis) and the other group consisted of non-cannabis users. Two hours after cannabis use, the first group reported benefits such as increased sleepiness and reduced pain and stiffness. They also performed better on mental health assessments than those who did not use cannabis.
Study #3: Women with fibromyalgia
In a 2019 Dutch study, 20 women with fibromyalgia were administered different types of cannabis (four in total during the study):
- 100 mg cannabis with low CBD content and high THC content (Bedrocan)
- 200 mg cannabis with high content of CBD and THC (Bediol)
- 200 mg CBD-rich, THC-poor cannabis (Bedrolite)
- A placebo that contains neither CBD nor THC
Cannabis with high CBD and high THC content (Bediol) led to a 30% reduction in spontaneous pain in almost all participants (18 out of 20). However, it is worth noting that participants responded better when THC levels were similar to CBD levels, suggesting that environmental factors are critical when using CBD to treat fibromyalgia.
Study No 4: Long-term study
In another 2019 study – this time in Israel – 367 people with fibromyalgia (82% of them women) were followed by researchers for six months. All participants used medicinal cannabis after seeking prior medical advice on the 14 available cannabis strains, dosages and modes of administration. A slow dose was given at the beginning (median 670 mg per day), which was gradually increased over the course of the study (at the end, the median dose was 1000 mg per day). After six months, only 7.9% of respondents reported severe pain, compared to 52.5% at baseline. However, it should be noted that the use of so many different strains makes it difficult to compare the effects of CBD- and THC-rich strains.
How do you use CBD oil for fibromyalgia?
There are many ways to consume CBD – they all have their pros and cons. We will discuss them here.
1. Sublingual (under the tongue) recording
CBD oil can be placed under the tongue and absorbed into the capillaries there. This means that it enters the bloodstream directly and bypasses the digestive system. The effect is therefore fast, making it an ideal application method for spontaneous pain or sudden feelings of stress and anxiety.
2. Inhalation (vapour)
As with sublingual ingestion of CBD oil, vaporization allows the cannabinoid to be immediately absorbed into the bloodstream through the capillaries of the cheeks and lungs. So it is an interesting option in case of a sudden attack of pain or stress.
3. Local exhaust ventilation
CBD oil can be applied directly to the skin or added to creams, balms, lotions and ointments, often mixed with other emollient ingredients for added effect. CBD interacts with CB receptors in the skin to provide fast, targeted, localized pain relief when needed. Since very little CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream when administered topically, it is best combined with other forms of CBD use for maximum effect.
3. Oral absorption
CBD oil can be taken orally (directly in the form of oil or capsules) or added to various foods such as chewing gum, pastries, honey or butter. Because CBD must pass through the body’s digestive system before it enters the bloodstream, it takes longer for the effects to be noticeable, compared to sublingual consumption or vaping. However, the effect lasts longer – up to six hours.
How much CBD oil should I take for fibromyalgia?
The symptoms of fibromyalgia – and their severity – vary from person to person. The same goes for the dose of CBD needed for effective treatment. As always, it’s best to start small and work slowly. Start with a low dose and gradually increase it until you feel the desired effect – you will then know that you have found the optimum dose for you as an individual. Don’t worry, it’s almost impossible to overdose on CBD, but you should avoid unwanted (albeit mild) side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, or nausea. It’s important to keep in mind that most people with fibromyalgia require relatively high doses of CBD to relieve their often chronic symptoms, so it’s best to be prepared.
Best selection of CBD products for the treatment of fibromyalgia
1. Royal CBD oil (the best in general)
Royal CBD is one of the leading suppliers of CBD oil in the US. Their 2500 mg full spectrum version is one of the most powerful products available on the market. These oils are rich in CBD, as well as many other beneficial anti-inflammatory and analgesic cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromes (CBC). Other ingredients like lavender, myrcene, bisabolol, and linalool also help CBD fight the pain and inflammation associated with fibromyalgia. If you are looking for a high-dose medication to treat your fibromyalgia symptoms, this may be a good option. Since this is a full-spectrum unit, you can also use the surround effect. At this point, all the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant work together to provide maximum health benefits.
2. Gold Bee CBD Oil (best organic formula)
Gold Bee also produces full spectrum CBD oils, which means that the effect is optimized. Third-party laboratory tests – the results of which all reputable CBD companies clearly disclose to consumers – have shown that Gold Bee oils contain particularly high concentrations of the terpenes linalool and myrcene. Both substances have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Moreover, Gold Bee CBD oil is rich in CBC, CBN and CBG – cannabinoids that also have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
3. Hemp Bombs CBD Oil (THC Free)
Unlike Gold Bee, Hemp Bomb CBD Oil contains CBD isolate, so it is completely THC free. Although research shows that the environmental effect is extremely helpful in treating fibromyalgia, some people cannot or do not want to use THC (the psychoactive substance in cannabis). If this sounds like you, hemp bomb CBD oil is your best bet. You can choose from different potencies, ranging from 125 mg to 5,000 mg. This means there is something here for all levels of fibromyalgia symptoms, including the most severe. This will also help you avoid switching brands if symptoms worsen and a higher dose is needed. Finally, all Hemp Bombs CBD oils come with third-party lab results, so you know the product is free of impurities and contaminants. There are also six scents available: Acai Berry, Chocolate Mint, Orange Creamsicle, Peppermint, Watermelon and Natural Hemp.
Final thoughts: CBD administration for fibromyalgia
Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, which can be both physically and socially debilitating. While CBD is not a panacea, the available scientific evidence suggests that it could be a promising alternative or supplement to traditional pain medication. This is mainly due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help combat chronic pain. Additionally, CBD’s ability to promote cognitive homeostasis helps relieve symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. As always, it is best to consult your doctor before using any new supplement as a treatment for a health problem. This is especially true if you are already taking prescription drugs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How much CBD should I take for fibromyalgia pain?
There are many ways to use CBD. You can use it to treat a number of ailments, but the most popular is to treat inflammation. In fact, recent research has shown that CBD has the ability to help treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia and other similar conditions. To the uninitiated, CBD might sound like a pretty odd substance – it’s not a drug like Viagra or Adderall, it doesn’t have street value like Coke or heroin, and it’s not a drug that people crave like crack or heroin either.
Does CBD help fibromyalgia?
If you suffer from fibromyalgia (FM), you might have heard the buzz that CBD (Cannabidiol) oil could benefit you. Cannabis is a plant that contains the component of cannabis that is known to provide pain relief. However, there is little known about the long-term effects of cannabis oil on fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a debilitating rheumatic disease that affects the entire body, and it is difficult to treat. At its core, it’s a pain disorder, and it causes all kinds of symptoms, such as pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and mood changes.
How fast does CBD oil work for fibromyalgia?
Some people have reported great results from using CBD oil for pain relief. However, there is no definitive scientific proof that CBD can treat pain, and there are some side effects. There are also some misconceptions about the use of CBD oil and fibromyalgia. Is CBD oil good for fibromyalgia? What are the side effects of using CBD oil for fibromyalgia? CBD (a.k.a. cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. It is commonly used medicinally as an alternative treatment for a number of ailments, among them, fibromyalgia. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, CBD has been studied in fibromyalgia, and products containing CBD have been available since 1998.
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