How can CBD help with fibromyalgia?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an oil that derives from cannabis. A growing body of research suggests that CBD may help people with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by chronic pain. Studies suggest that CBD may help relieve pain and inflammation, so researchers are looking into its effects on the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
For example, one 2020 review concludes that although current evidence is still limited, the emerging data suggest that cannabis can have a positive effect on fibromyalgia.
Also, although CBD shows promise as a remedy for this condition, research has not yet proven that it is safe and effective, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved CBD for treating fibromyalgia or other forms of pain.
Nonetheless, CBD remains a popular choice. This article will explore why CBD may be able to relieve the pain of fibromyalgia. It will also examine its most effective uses and some potential side effects.
In short, CBD is not the same as cannabis.
CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant. Another compound in cannabis, called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is responsible for producing a high.
In most cases, the CBD oil on the market is made from a type of cannabis called hemp, which legally must contain less than 0.3% THC.
Concentrated CBD oil could offer greater benefits with fewer risks than using medical cannabis.
Researchers cannot decisively say why the compound appears to reduce some fibromyalgia symptoms, or why it works for some people and not others, but researchers are currently testing some theories.
The pain relieving effects of CBD are likely down to its effects on the brain. It may interrupt the nerve pathways that send signals of pain between the brain and the rest of the body.
CBD and other cannabinoids attach to specialized receptors in a person’s brain. One of these receptors, called a CB2 receptor, plays a role in managing pain and inflammation.
When CBD enters the body, it may attach to CB2 receptors, or it may cause the body to produce natural cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) that attach to these receptors. This may then result in reduced pain and inflammation.
One 2016 study suggests that a lack of endocannabinoids may be at the root of chronic pain syndromes, including migraine and fibromyalgia.
Using CBD may correct this deficiency, explaining the compound’s success in alleviating chronic pain.
Research is still limited, however, so more studies are needed before researchers can fully understand this process.
For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.
Scientists are now conducting quality research on this treatment method. In the past, research has focused on medical cannabis rather than CBD in particular. New studies are finding benefits linked to this compound.
According to the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health, some evidence suggests that cannabis or CBD could have modest benefits for chronic pain.
For example, a 2020 review concludes that CBD could, in some contexts, have benefits for relieving chronic pain, improving sleep, and reducing inflammation.
Anecdotal data also suggest that using CBD oil may alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia for some people.
Studies also suggest that CBD can relieve pain, improve sleep, and reduce refractory pain in people with various conditions linked to chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, migraine, and irritable bowel syndrome.
People who use medical cannabis are likely to consume some CBD, but exact quantities are unknown. There is a debate about whether CBD is more effective when a person uses it alone or alongside medical cannabis.
A combination of other chemicals in the plant may intensify the positive effects of CBD and provide additional benefits. For instance, one 2006 study suggests that CBD works best in combination with THC.
More evidence is necessary for researchers to know the true effectiveness and safety of CBD for pain and chronic health conditions.
What do the studies say?
A 2020 review concludes that the emerging data suggest that cannabis can have a positive effect on fibromyalgia. The researchers also say, however, that the current evidence is still limited.
A 2019 randomized study looks at the effects of Bediol, a drug that contains both CBD and THC, in people with fibromyalgia. It suggests that more people who took Bediol reported a 30% decrease in pain scores compared with those who took a placebo.
However, other results in this study were inconclusive, and it is unclear whether the effects were due to THC or CBD.
A 2017 study concludes that CBD might counteract the hypersensitivity of cells surrounding nerves in people with chronic pain, including those with fibromyalgia. However, it also points to the need for more research in this area.
A 2015 review analyzes existing research into cannabinoid usage for chronic pain, though not specifically pain linked to fibromyalgia. Seven of the 11 studies included in the review suggest that CBD relieves pain.
A different 2015 review looks at the results of 28 randomized, clinically controlled trials of medical cannabis as a treatment for pain. Many of the trials focused on pain linked to multiple sclerosis. The review suggests that high quality evidence supports the use of medical cannabis to treat chronic pain in some contexts.
Does synthetic cannabis work?
One 2016 review assesses the effects of a synthetic cannabinoid called Nabilone on fibromyalgia. The researchers say that the participants tolerated it poorly, and that it had no significant benefits, compared with a placebo.
On the other hand, a 2020 review states that “synthetic cannabinoids are one of the most promising classes of drugs in pain medicine.”
Research into the effects of synthetic cannabis is limited, so researchers are still investigating its effectiveness.
Why has finding evidence been difficult?
There is limited evidence from human studies to support the benefits of CBD oil, as the use and research of cannabis are still restricted.
As cannabis is becoming legalized in various regions, research is gaining momentum and starting to show some promising results.
Many studies of CBD have limitations, including the following:
- very small participant numbers
- conflicting results
- a lack of control groups or placebos
- a lack of objective measures, relying instead on self-report measures
Other challenges that researchers face include sourcing high quality CBD or medical cannabis (due to a lack of regulation) and controlling the dosage and potency of CBD products.
Although a small group of studies suggests that CBD is effective for fibromyalgia, the data remain mixed and inconclusive.
A variety of websites offer instructions for using CBD oil, but there is little expert insight into usage or dosage. Some people use the oil topically, while others use it orally.
If possible, people may benefit from talking about dosages with a doctor who is knowledgeable about CBD and fibromyalgia.
As with any drug, it is advisable to start with a low dosage and carefully observe the body’s reaction.
The FDA do not regulate CBD products in the same way they regulate drugs, so companies sometimes mislabel or misrepresent their products. This means that it is especially important to do some research to find quality products.
People generally tolerate CBD well, but some have reported side effects. Some common side effects include:
- dry mouth
People should talk to their doctor before taking CBD. CBD may interact with certain over-the-counter aids, dietary supplements, and prescription medications, especially those that warn against consuming grapefruit .
There are also some concerns that CBD might interfere with the liver’s ability to break down toxins by disrupting an enzyme called cytochrome P450 complex.
Although hemp and hemp-derived products that contain less than 0.3% THC are legal under the Farm Bill, there is still some confusion over the specifics.
Research is ongoing, and the legal status of CBD and other cannabinoids varies by state.
If a person in the United States is thinking of trying CBD, they can check their local laws here.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition. Although CBD will not cure it, some people find that it can help them manage their symptoms, and research in this area shows promise.
Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.
Last medically reviewed on November 2, 2020
Cannabidiol (CBD) may help relieve chronic pain. Learn more about the evidence behind this, plus the potential benefits and risks, here.
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Your Ultimate Guide to Using CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia
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Fibromyalgia affects about 10 million Americans . The condition is incurable, but there are treatments for managing pain.
Research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) can benefit those suffering from fibromyalgia and other health issues. Continue reading to learn about using CBD oil for fibromyalgia. You can visit The Cannabis Radar to get the best CBD oil for fibromyalgia, for others, please keep reading the article.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition. A person with FM feels pain throughout their muscles and bones, and fatigue. Symptoms include:
- Low pain threshold
- Burning sensation
- Muscle tightness or spasms
- Headaches or general aching
- Foggy cognition
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Some people may experience inflammation, but fibromyalgia doesn’t involve tissue damage.
While no one knows what causes FM, we have some ideas. It could be genetic or from trauma, such as an illness or injury. The spinal cord and brain may process pain differently.
Someone is more likely to have FM if they:
- have other pain conditions
- have a mood disorder
- aren’t physically active
- are female
- have been abused
- have/had PTSD
An endocannabinoid deficiency could be the problem. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for responding to cannabis. The system helps regulate mood, pain and sensation, memory, and appetite.
A lack of receptors in this system would explain the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
There is a variety of treatments for fibromyalgia. They usually consist of medication, mental health management, and implementing physically healthy habits.
So far, the FDA has approved three medicines for FM. They are Lyrica, Savella, and Cymbalta.
Other medicines that are suggested to some are non-opiate pain killers like NSAIDs. These are over-the-counter unless a high dose is prescribed. There are medicines that can treat specific symptoms.
Anti-depressants and psychotherapy help manage the anxiety and depression that can come with having fibromyalgia. Joining a support group may be beneficial.
Getting a good night’s sleep often provides pain relief. Here are some ways to make sure you sleep well.
Don’t nap. If you have to, only nap for an hour. Starting moving right when you wake up.
Fall asleep and wake up at the same time. Setting an alarm is a good idea.
Don’t have alcohol or caffeine in the evening. Don’t have spicy foods or liquids before bed.
Engage in exercise that’s regular and at least three hours before bed. Set a schedule and use a timer.
Sleep in a quiet, cool, and dark room. Make sure you’re relaxed when you go to bed. Take a bath, have some tea, do yoga or meditate, or listen to soothing music.
Don’t watch TV or use anything with a screen. The light will keep you awake longer.
Alternative treatments for FM include yoga, meditation, acupuncture, physical therapy, aromatherapy, and chiropractic sessions.
Cannabidiol is a compound derived from marijuana. CBD can’t get you high, as it doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) like marijuana. Only a small percentage of people feel euphoric effects similar to those of marijuana.
THC causes negative mood changes such as anxiety and paranoia. CBD reduces these effects.
CBD also activates the endocannabinoid system. This helps improve the body’s response to pain among other benefits, making it a possible treatment for many conditions involving pain. It’s a promising alternative to opioids because CBD isn’t addictive.
CBD has been used to treat mood disorders, schizophrenia, insomnia. cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and other conditions.
This treatment was FDA-approved for epilepsy in 2018. The medicine is called Epidiolex. Specifically, it’s used to treat people of 2 years and older with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome.
CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia
Research on CBD oil for pain relief in FM patients is ongoing. There are only a few studies to look at currently.
Studies have suggested that CBD reduces glial cell activity. Over-activity of these cells causes increased reaction to sensation. This is a symptom of fibromyalgia.
There is evidence that CBD can effectively treat irritable bowel syndrome and migraines. These are central sensitivity syndromes like fibromyalgia.
Some FM patients have inflammation, and research suggests that CBD can reduce inflammation. CBD also diminishes endocannabinoid deficiency, a problem of those with FM.
Many CBD oil users have reported relief of pain, insomnia, muscle tension, and anxiety. These are all FM symptoms.
A 2011 study found that cannabis had multiple benefits for fibromyalgia patients. They felt more relaxed, sleepy, and had less pain and muscle tension.
Another study supported CBD as a treatment for neuropathic pain. As mentioned before, CBD may reduce or eliminate an endocannabinoid deficiency. This explains why the drug alleviates pain.
More research is needed to understand the effectiveness of CBD on FM. While some studies support CBD, others do not. The results are mixed because it’s difficult to control every variable.
The laws around CBD and marijuana make it hard to find quality doses of them. Researchers have trouble controlling the potency and dosage of both drugs. Some studies are more subjective than objective.
CBD for fibromyalgia brings relief to those who rely on opioid medications. These medicines are legal, but people can easily become addicted to them. CBD is non-addictive.
How to Use
There are a variety of ways to use CBD. Smoking or vaping brings immediate pain relief that lasts up to three hours. People with respiratory issues shouldn’t intake CBD this way.
CBD oil comes as a tincture, cream, and pill. Creams are especially good for inflammation and tender areas on the body.
Tinctures are extracts that can be put directly into the mouth or mixed with food or a drink. They’re usually in a dropper bottle, making it a discreet medication for those who need it during the day. This method gives four to five hours of relief and activates in about thirty minutes.
Tinctures can come in spray form. The oil is meant to be sprayed under the tongue.
CBD can be ingested through foods, butter, or oil. It takes longer for the drug to relieve pain, but it lasts for up to six hours.
Be sure to take the correct CBD dosage. Going over the prescribed dose is unlikely to endanger you, but it won’t work effectively. High doses can cause confusion and sleepiness.
To ensure quality and the appropriate potency, purchase CBD from dispensaries and places that have had the product tested by others. The container the CBD comes in should have a warning section, an FDA disclaimer, and a batch number. You should also be able to find out what the specific ingredients are.
It’s safer to buy CBD (and really any medication) in-store. In-store grocers typically have an investigative process implemented. Still, you should research the company you’re going to get the CBD from.
Make sure you know whether your medication is an isolate CBD or full-spectrum. Isolate CBD is CBD by itself. Full-spectrum CBD is a combination of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids such as cannabigerol or cannabidivarin.
This mixed CBD has stronger effects than isolate CBD. Taking it would require a much lower dose compared to taking CBD alone.
Like with any drug, CBD works differently for everyone. Some may not have any problems and others may experience side effects. Symptoms can include:
- Low blood pressure
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
CBD inhibits cytochrome p450, enzymes that assist in breaking down drugs in the liver. Be cautious about taking CBD with medicines that warn about eating grapefruit. You may want to avoid eating grapefruit while on CBD.
Ask your doctor about using CBD to avoid negative interactions with your current medications.
According to The Hemp Farming Act in the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD is legal on the federal level. This applies to CBD derived from hemp. Hemp is any cannabis plant that has less than 0.3% THC.
CBD made from marijuana has higher levels of THC, and is not federally legal. It’s only legal in states that have legalized marijuana.
The only FDA-approved CBD medicine, Epidiolex, is derived from marijuana. If a child suffering from epilepsy and lives in a state where cannabis is illegal, they can’t legally obtain Epidiolex. This shows how laws can work against each other.
CBD Is Beneficial
Although fibromyalgia isn’t curable, research is gathering evidence in support of CBD for fibromyalgia symptom relief. Conducting more studies will help us pinpoint how CBD works and get it FDA-approved. The legality of hemp-derived CBD has helped make this possible.
If you decide to try CBD for fibromyalgia, be aware that it could be illegal where you are if it’s marijuana-derived. Most people get the best results by combining the drug with other treatments.
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