August 25, 2021

CBD for Fibromyalgia

An estimated 4 million US adults — about 2% of the population — have fibromyalgia.(1) While there’s no cure for this painful condition, it can be effectively managed with medicine and complementary wellness approaches.

Given CBD’s renown for supporting health in so many ways with relatively few and mild adverse effects, it’s no wonder people want to know if it can help fight fibromyalgia. For example, could CBD’s potential to ease chronic pain and modulate mood provide much needed relief to fibromyalgia patients?

We’re about to find out….

 

What Is Fibromyalgia?

If you’re reading a post about fibromyalgia, chances are you may already know something about it. In the event that you’re a curious soul without prior knowledge of this disorder — here’s quick primer.

Signs & Symptoms

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that’s most notably characterized by widespread body pain. Many with fibromyalgia are more sensitive to pain and have sleep troubles, persistent fatigue, and cognitive and psychological distress.

It’s not uncommon for fibromyalgia exist alongside certain other conditions, such as:

  • IBS
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Migraines

Doctors aren’t sure of what triggers fibromyalgia. But, they believe it’s linked to brain and spinal cord changes caused by repetitive nerve stimulation. These alterations might play a role in sensitizing people with fibromyalgia to pain and establishing a sort of body-mind “pain memory.” Genetics, gender, infections and other health conditions, and traumatic events can also factor in to the onset of fibromyalgia.(2)

Interestingly, though, there’s a school of thought that a deficient endocannabinoid system could be the underpinning of fibromyalgia.(3) Keep this tidbit in mind — we’ll come back to it later on.

Common Treatments

A combo of meds and self-care practices are the first line of attack on fibromyalgia. As fibromyalgia isn’t curable, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and improving the quality of life.

Pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs are top choices for addressing pain and sleep issues. Physical and occupational therapies, counseling, stress management, exercise regimens, and other complementary and alternative medical and lifestyle strategies round out the treatment plan.

CBD + Fibromyalgia

CBD’s been used therapeutically for thousands of years. However, its formal use to treat fibromyalgia is a recent application in Western medicine.

CBD may be gaining traction in the fibromyalgia realm at super-speed due in part to its legality, availability, and secular popularity. But, if the science is any indication, we think there’s more to it….

Relevant Benefits Of CBD

As a newcomer to the bag of fibromyalgia remedies, research is limited as to the safety and efficacy of CBD for fibromyalgia. Applicable studies — though few and fairly small scale — proclaim very encouraging results. Here are some that examined various cannabis formulations (that included THC and CBD) on fibromyalgia:

  • Retrospective analysis of clinical trials and patient questionnaires supported using CBD for fibromyalgia symptoms. Findings suggested that patients experienced significantly reduced pain, improved sleep, and decline in other symptoms.(4)
  • A 2019 study found cannabis to be safe, effective, and well-tolerated by participants, especially those who didn’t respond well to standard treatments. Several quality of life markers — like pain intensity — had favorable outcomes.(5)
  • A tiny Dutch study explored the effects of four different inhaled cannabis treatments. The preparations that contained THC and CBD yielded the strongest pain relief (as compared to the formulations and the placebo).(6)
  • According to a recent article based on a survey of almost 900 people, 72% of respondents use CBD as an alternative to opioids and other pain meds. They reported fewer side effects and better management of symptoms. (7)

In most of these studies, the researchers and authors highlight the need for further study through larger, longer, objective trials.

Aside from these fibromyalgia-specific studies, a wealth of evidence indicates CBD’s ability to:

  • Alleviate several types of pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Regulate or improve mental and emotional well-being
  • Facilitate concentration and other cognitive functions

A casual internet search will reveal plenty of literature on these topics. Or check out our many blog posts, which give lots of context and are backed by oodles of info from independent, high-quality sources.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS), CBD & Fibromyalgia

So, how’s this all work? What is it about CBD that enables it to combat fibromyalgia symptoms?

At the root of it is the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS. It’s made up of endocannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors. CBD leverages this vast and complex system to communicate with the brain, which then signals other bodily systems and functions to respond in various ways.

CB1 and CB2 are the two ECS receptors involved in relaying CBD-related info and commands. The CB1 receptors are mostly in the central nervous system (CNS) — the brain and spinal cord — and the CB2 receptors are predominantly in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), skin, organs, etc.

In terms of fibromyalgia, researchers believe that CBD influences the CB2 receptors to counter pain and inflammation.(8) Meanwhile, CBD also collaborates with CB1 receptors to help lessen sleep woes, depression, and cognitive difficulties associated with fibromyalgia.(9, 10)

How To Use CBD For Fibromyalgia

If you know you have fibromyalgia, that means you’re under the care of a physician for an ongoing health condition. Just like any other addition or deletion to your care plan, you should consult with your doctor about how to bring CBD into your mix of therapies.

Once you get the two-thumbs-up from your trusty doc, you have an ocean of CBD options. It may take some time and experimentation to land on the brand, formulation, dosing, and other aspects that make up your personal CBD-for-fibromyalgia regimen. Keep your doctor in the loop as he or she may be able to offer guidance that leads to an effective CBD protocol sooner.

Picking The Best CBD For Fibromyalgia

Regardless of how you adopt CBD, always be sure to use the highest-quality CBD oil products. Superior CBD products will be purer and more bioavailable — meaning more good ingredients, less contaminants, more absorbable, and faster-acting. Not to mention a better overall value!

You’ll probably benefit most from a full- or broad-spectrum CBD because it will contain some other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabis goodness. These other substances fill out the nurturing profile of the CBD and usher in the desirable “Entourage Effect.”

A Couple Cautions

A last couple things of note before you board the next CBD train to Fibromyalgiaville:

  1. Currently, the FDA hasn’t approved any CBD-based pharmaceuticals as a treatment for fibromyalgia.
  2. Some — relatively minor — side effects have been reported. These included dizziness (mostly when CBD was taken without food), dry mouth, and upset stomach.

Summary (Keyword Rich Subhead)

Chronic widespread pain, fatigue, and depression are some of the high-profile hallmarks of fibromyalgia. Traditionally, this condition is treated with medications and complementary therapies to address the symptoms. As CBD becomes more popular and accessible in general, researchers and people with fibromyalgia alike are eyeing it for its potential to help manage this disorder.

Research on CBD for fibromyalgia is limited but growing. However, there’s ample data showing that CBD could have beneficial effects on pain, inflammation, and mental health more broadly.

If you’re interested in trying CBD for fibromyalgia, connect with your healthcare team to determine the most appropriate regimen for you. And always always always use the best CBD oil products on the market for optimal safety and efficacy.

BEST CBD FOR FIBROMYALGIA

 

References

  1. (2020). Fibromyalgia. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/fibromyalgia.htm
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2020). Fibromyalgia. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354780
  3. Russo, E. (2016). Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0009
  4. Berger, AA, et al. (2020). Cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Best practice & Research. Clinical Anaesthesiology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpa.2020.08.010
  5. Sagy, I, et al. (2019). Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis in Fibromyalgia. Journal of clinical medicine. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8060807
  6. van de Donk, t, et al. (2019) An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia. PAIN. https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001464
  7. Boehnke, K, et al. (2021). Substituting Cannabidiol for Opioids and Pain Medications Among Individuals with Fibromyalgia: A Large Online Survey. The Journal of Pain. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2021.04.011
  8. Villines, Z. (2020). How can CBD help with fibromyalgia? MedicalNewsToday. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321501#fibromyalgia
  9. Kesner, A, et al. (2020). Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids and Sleep. Frontiers in Molecular Science. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2020.00125
  10. Anthony, K. (2020). CBD for Fibromyalgia. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-for-fibromyalgia


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