CBD and Fibromyalgia
CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia
Does CBD oil help fibromyalgia ? Let’s investigate. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition and people experience symptoms to varying degrees. From various aches and pains, to debilitating pain that causes a low quality of life. Of the estimated 2-4% of the population who suffer from fibromyalgia, the majority are women.
There is currently no cure for the condition and, unfortunately, many fibromyalgia patients complain of harsh side effects with prescribed medications such as duloxetine and pregabalin. With so many people struggling with the condition, more people than ever before are turning to CBD products to find relief.
The Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia causes musculoskeletal pain in addition to a large list of symptoms, some of which include:
- Cognitive issues
- Blurred vision
- Restless legs
- Brain fog
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. However, it is thought that people who have this condition process pain differently to those who don’t. That is, the pain signals in their brain and extremely sensitive, making them over-sensitive to touch.
Fibromyalgia and the Endocannabinoid System
To understand fibromyalgia properly, you need to understand its relation to the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is the cell signalling system that regulates the body. The ECS is made up of molecules that send messages around the body; and cannabinoid receptors receive those messages. One of these receptors is the CB1 receptor which is found in your central nervous system. It is responsible for regulating pain.
Fibromyalgia inhibits the way the brain processes pain signals. As a result, researchers believe that people with fibromyalgia have pain receptors that have developed a “memory” of the pain they are experiencing. This causes the body to become more sensitive to that pain in the future.
So, how does CBD help this? Well, first it’s important to understand exactly what CBD is.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound derived from the flower of the cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol will not make you high. Among its numerous health benefits, CBD is thought to activate the body’s serotonin receptors, playing a positive role in:
- Reducing inflammation
- Pain perception
- Maintaining body temperature
These are just some of the benefits that make CBD so appealing as a treatment for extreme pain disorders such as fibromyalgia. Although CBD is a popular remedy for fibromyalgia, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not officially approved CBD for treating both fibromyalgia and other forms of pain (yet).
Despite this, CBD remains a popular and effective treatment choice for many people who opt for CBD treatment over taking opioid prescriptions, as these can be addictive.
How Does CBD oil Help Fibromyalgia?
Researchers cannot yet say decisively why CBD appears to reduce symptoms in some people but not others. Research is still being carried out. However, they currently believe that the pain-relieving effects of CBD are likely down to its impact on the brain. It is understood that CBD may interrupt the nerve pathways that send signals of pain between the brain and the rest of the body.
When CBD enters the body, it attaches to receptors in the brain. These are primarily the CB2 receptor. This results in reduced pain and inflammation. However, research is still limited, and many more studies are needed to fully understand the effects of CBD on the body.
The Research on CBD oil for Fibromyalgia
Research is currently looking at the effects of cannabis, which may contain multiple cannabidiols, on fibromyalgia. It is important to realise that CBD cannot cure the condition. However some people have found it has helped manage their symptoms, and research in this area is showing promise.
According to the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health, there is evidence that suggests CBD could have some benefits for chronic pain sufferers. In fact, a 2020 review concluded that CBD could, in some contexts, provide relief from chronic pain in fibromyalgia sufferers, as well as improved sleep, and reduced inflammation.
CBD and Neuropathic Pain
CBD was found by a 2009 review to relieve neuropathic pain, with researchers concluding that cannabinoids such as CBD might be useful in addition to other pain medications. In 2001, a study was carried out that looked at 56 people with fibromyalgia. Most of the study participants were women. The members of the study were separated out into two groups:
- One group was comprised of 28 study participants who were not cannabis users
- The other group was comprised of 28 study participants who were cannabis users. Of course, the frequency, quality, and amount of cannabis each person used varied.
CBD was administered to all the study participants and just two hours later, participants experienced benefits such as reduced pain and stiffness, and increased sleepiness.
CBD and Its Effects on the Brain
In addition to easing inflammation in the body, CBD may also be able to reduce neuropathic pain in the body which is caused by damaged or malfunctioning nerves. A study carried out in 2016 in the Swiss journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences suggested that the therapeutic effects of CBD were extremely promising.
CBD seems to offer neuroprotective properties that can help to stimulate cell repair in the brain. This could help improve the positive brain function of fibromyalgia patients. And therefore may also reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by boosting anandamide signalling.
Long-term CBD Treatment for Fibromyalgia
In 2019, an Israeli study was carried out on hundreds of people with fibromyalgia over a period of 6 months. The study participants received guidance from nurses beforehand and 82% of the participants were women. All participants were given a low dosage of cannabis that was gradually increased over time. After six months, the results were in!
At the beginning of the study, 52.5% of participants described their pain level to be high and six months later, only 7.9% reported high levels of pain.
CBD Oil Helps Reduce Depression, Stress, and Anxiety
As mentioned above, fibromyalgia can cause several additional symptoms in sufferers, including increased anxiety, depression, and stress. Depression is very commonly associated with fibromyalgia. This is because many people find the condition significantly affects their mental wellbeing and quality of life.
However, studies as early as the 1980’s have shown that CBD has anxiolytic properties which can help alleviate anxiety. Helping users feel calm and relaxed. CBD also helps fight against depression via the 5-HT1A receptor, which is extremely beneficial for fibromyalgia patients struggling with their mental health.
The Type of Cannabis Prescribed for Fibromyalgia
CBD can come in a variety of forms and because every fibromyalgia patient is different, with differing symptoms, certain types of CBD may be more beneficial for some people than others.
Doctors will commonly start fibromyalgia CBD treatments with a CBD dominant oil that is taken orally. This can help improve many of the symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia. If further treatment is required, your doctor may prescribe the cannabis flower which can be inhaled via a vaporiser. Taking CBD in this way means it gets to work a lot faster, but the duration is shorter.
Typical CBD oil Doses for Fibromyalgia
Treating fibromyalgia with CBD is the same as treating any other condition; its dose depends on the patient’s response to the cannabinoids. Typically, doctors will prescribe patients a very low dose of CBD for their pain and increase this dose very slowly over time. The goal is to find the minimal dose that is effective for the individual, while also providing maximum relief. This process is often referred to by doctors as ‘identifying your therapeutic window’.
Whether you are new to taking CBD products or not, it is always recommended to start small and work your way up. Starting with smaller doses at first helps your body adjust to the cannabinoids.Thus reducing possible side effects, and providing you with better long-term results.
The Types of CBD Used to Treat Fibromyalgia
If you are considering CBD as a treatment option for your fibromyalgia, there are a variety of products you can try. CBD can be taken in a number of different ways, including:
Vaping: if you want immediate pain relief, vaping CBD by directly inhaling it can help the chemical absorb into your bloodstream and lungs faster.
CBD Capsules and tablets: for on-the-go, there are numerous CBD products, such as capsules, that make taking CBD easy. However, it is important to be aware that taking CBD this way can mean it will take longer for you to experience symptom relief. That being said, the effects of CBD tablets can last for up to 6 hours.
CBD Oil: CBD oil can be applied topically, dissolved under the tongue, or taken orally. Cannabidiol oil is one of the most popular hemp derived products and is absorbed quickly and easily into the body.
Cannabidiol Side Effects
Most people can tolerate CBD well, but there are some who have reported negative side effects such as:
- Dry mouth
If you have fibromyalgia and you are considering taking CBD to help alleviate your symptoms of pain, it is important to consult your doctor first. There is a possibility that CBD may interact with certain prescription medications, so it is important to check first. And, as we mentioned above, always start with a small dose so that your body has time to adjust.
The Benefits of Taking CBD oil for Fibromyalgia
CBD can help alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia as well as related symptoms of stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression that are commonly associated with the condition. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of taking CBD oil for fibromyalgia.
CBD is an Analgesic
Fibromyalgia is characterised by chronic pain in the body, as well as increased sensitivity towards pressure and pain. Studies have shown that CBD oil has analgesic properties. These have been shown to improve the individual’s pain threshold, allowing for a better tolerance of chronic pain. However, immediate direct pain relief has not been shown to be provided by CBD usage.
CBD Provides IBS Relief
Patients with fibromyalgia commonly struggle with irritable bowel syndrome in addition to their condition. One study showed that IBS was found in nearly 42% of fibromyalgia patients. The co-existence of these disorders can make it extremely difficult for patients to live comfortably and happily. However, CBD has been found to effectively provide relief from the symptoms associated with IBS by reducing the productive of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the intestinal cells.
CBD has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation in the body is extremely common in fibromyalgia patients, with many people experiencing long-term inflammation as a symptom. CBD is thought to help with inflammation as it is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and can reduce both acute and chronic inflammation effectively. Reading CBD for inflammation will provide further details. There are also many that use CBD for Arthritis due these anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD Oil Alleviates Insomnia and Sleep Difficulties
Many people with fibromyalgia suffer with insomnia and sleep difficulties due to the pain caused by the condition. Getting enough sleep is vital for the proper healing of the body and it also helps you feel relaxed and energised. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can result in worsened pain by significantly decreasing a person’s pain tolerance level.
CBD can have a sedative effect, helping patients get the sleep they need. Many people have found CBD helpful in alleviating insomnia and improving sleep quality. What’s more, CBD has been shown to reduce rapid eye movement in patients that is often associated with stress and anxiety, therefore allowing the patient to sleep more deeply.
Taking CBD for Overall Well-being
One important factor in the effective treatment of fibromyalgia is the overall well-being of the patient. For many fibromyalgia patients, the quality of life they experience is significantly diminished by the symptoms of the disorder. Treatments for this condition need to look at both the medical outcome and the well-being of the patient.
In a cannabis survey carried out in 2017, patients undergoing cannabis treatment made some of the following comments:
- “I am more active and able to do the things I want”
- “I can think more clearly”
- “It lets me live a more productive life and a more fulfilling one”
- “cannabis distracts me from the pain and dwelling on negative thoughts”
- “It gives me the ability to function throughout the day”
While treatment for fibromyalgia is important, we must prioritise the well-being of the patient as the goal for any fibromyalgia treatment plan.
Many people with fibromyalgia experience symptoms to varying degrees. From various aches and pains, to debilitating pain that causes a low quality of life. Although it is important to realise that CBD will not and cannot cure the condition, some people have found it has helped manage their symptoms. Research in this area is showing promise. CBD can influence your overall health and wellbeing.
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If you would like to try taking CBD for yourself, why not browse our shop? We sell a variety of high-quality CBD products that help support your wellbeing, reduce your pain, and support your sleep issues. Our partnership with The Harley Street Hospital is helping to progress the world’s understanding of CBD products. So that everyone can benefit from their medicinal effects and find relief from their symptoms through plant-based support.