CBD for Fibromyalgia: How Does It Help Those Battling With The Condition
Anyone who suffers from fibromyalgia will tell you that there is little relief to be found. The drugs that are prescribed to relieve the pain and fatigue don’t work for everyone, and even when it does work for some, the relief is either not complete or doesn’t last long as seen in the results from surveys done here. For those wanting a more natural, safer, and more effective approach, CBD oil for fibromyalgia is showing a lot of promise.
Fibromyalgia: The Highlights
- In the past, many believed fibromyalgia did not exist but was an excuse for women to complain about pain
- Studies have not only demonstrated fibromyalgia is real, but that it also affects men
- Fibromyalgia causes pain in the soft tissues of the body, affecting one or multiple areas at a time
- A deficit endocannabinoid system could explain why fibromyalgia appears, but more studies need to be publish in this regard
- CBD improves the endocannabinoid system, and it’s believed that’s why it helps with fibromyalgia.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia causes pain in the soft tissue and muscles of the body. Sometimes one area at a time, and sometimes multiple areas. It also causes a lot of fatigue and unfortunately, there is no cure. The symptoms can only be managed when they flare up. To make matters worse, the pain signals between the nerves and the brain are also amplified.
Although no specific causes are known, it’s speculated that genetics, physical trauma, or autoimmune disorders may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia Include:
- Chronic pain
- Muscle pain
- Muscle spasms
- Tingling or prickling sensations
- Burning sensations
- Stabbing pains
- Extremely sensitivity to pain
- Poor sleep
- Brain fog
- Poor memory
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
This is not even the entire list of symptoms. Living with one or more of these regularly can really get in the way of everyday life and often depression and anxiety can develop due to these struggles. This is why many are trying to find better ways of managing all these symptoms as it’s so frustrating when expensive medications don’t even work.
Can a Deficient Endocannabinoid System Explain Fibromyalgia?
The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of endocannabinoids which are neurotransmitters (hormones) that bind to cannabinoid receptors (not to be confused with endocannabinoid receptors) in the brain. This doesn’t necessarily involve cannabis. Our bodies produce endocannabinoids naturally.
Medical News Today highlights this study by Mary Ann Liebert published in 2016 that shows that there seems to be a link to a deficiency in endocannabinoids and fibromyalgia, as well as migraines and irritable bowel syndrome. It also shows that CBD products may be able to help with this as cannabis and hemp contain cannabinoids.
Chronic stress seems to be one of the biggest causes of an endocannabinoid deficiency. Just as your health, in general, is impacted by stress, so is both your endocrine system and your ECS.
Testing The Endocannabinoid Levels is Difficult
Endocannabinoid levels can be tested through simple tests using blood, saliva, or hair. There are other more invasive tests which use a fresh tissue or a process called microdialysis from a conscious brain.
This involves measuring the endocannabinoid concentrations by inserting a needle into the brain. The invasive tests work slightly better but only just. The problem is that endocannabinoid molecules disappear quite rapidly. So whether the test is invasive or one of the simpler tests, to get an accurate reading is quite hard.
How Does CBD For Fibromyalgia Work?
Scientists aren’t exactly sure how it works but it’s thought to lower inflammation, interrupt the pain signaling pathway, and even heal damaged nerves (which is helpful for neuropathic pain). Add to this the fact that CBD has also been helpful for reducing anxiety and stress.
By supplementing with cannabinoids might correct the deficiency which is helpful for other medical conditions like migraines and MS (multiple sclerosis), as well as IBS. Cannabis, always controversial, is showing promise not just for fibromyalgia patients but for others who live on pain medications too.
There are a number of ways to use cannabinoids. You can take the oil, tincture, eat CBD gummies, cookies, powders, juices, or even use it as a vape oil or get a topical cream. You may even find medical marijuana products and CBD sold as chocolates or mints.
Is CBD Effective Against Fibromyalgia?
There aren’t many scientific studies or clinical trials regarding this issue but the few studies that have been done have had some very promising results. Most of the feedback regarding for using these products coming from the cannabis plant has been anecdotal.
Many people say that they have experienced a reduction in the symptoms of fibromyalgia and improved pain management overall. Across the board, different dosages seem to work for different people. Some people found that they had to use it every day for it to be effective and some found that it worked whether they used it every day or not.
For many people, CBD with low THC content works better than conventional pain medication, for others, a bit more THC is necessary. There are also different cannabinoids, so if one type doesn’t work, there are others to try. Some recommendations are to get a full-spectrum CBD oil which consists of all the types of cannabinoids.
You can check out this blog where this woman describes her experience in detail. Just remember that everyone is different and the only way to know whether it will work for you is to try it.
CBD Oil Dosage For Fibromyalgia
The dosage will depend on what works for you but most people say that a dose of between 50 mg and 100 mg works well. It’s best to start off slowly and work your way up and to split the dose into two or three doses a day. For example, 25 mg twice a day, or perhaps 10-15 mg three times a day. This will help your body to get used to it and prevent side effects.
CBD oil products should come with a recommended dose. Because manufacturers harvest them from different plants, and for example, some manufacturers get it from normal cannabis plants, but others will either grow hemp specifically with the purpose of having it produce as little THC as possible and as much CBD as possible.
This will affect the dosage and different supplements will have different strengths. So always read the instructions on the back of the box or the leaflet.
Just be sure to always get your cannabidiol products from a reputable brand and supplier as industrial hemp and even smaller scale hemp farms may have questionable practices and their products may be full of pesticides and heavy metals which won’t help your cause at all.
While most people find that they experience no side effects when using CBD products, be aware that some people have experienced some negative side effects like:
- Brain fog
- Dry mouth
But these side effects are rare and as long as you increase your dosage slowly they should be avoidable.
What Fibromyalgia Patients Say About CBD
Reviews are a great way to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. But as mentioned before with everybody reacting differently to CBD products and different dosages so there are many different reviews. A lot of people have experienced great relief but there are some who only got a little bit of relief or where it had no effect at all.
These are reviews from popular fibromyalgia forums or forums that deal with various health conditions from the fibromyalgia section:
There is one last thing to mention. CBD oil products, including those that contain very little to no THC, are not legal everywhere. Some people have found that the products that they bought online were confiscated. So be sure to check the laws of your state and what is said about the type of products. Some forms such as topical creams may be legal whereas edibles may not be for example.
More and more hemp products for therapeutic use are becoming legal. It’s only a matter of time especially considering that most of these products are not mind-altering substances.
If you are struggling with fibromyalgia pain, CBD products are a safe option to try for pain relief provided they come from a reputable brand. With all the success stories, it’s worth it to give it a try and there is no risk of getting high.
Remember that the health of your entire ECS can be also be improved by eating healthily and reducing stress where possible. Even if CBD doesn’t relieve the pain, you may find that it helps you to sleep and/or reduces your anxiety and stress levels which also can help.
Have you tried CBD oil products? Please share your experience with us.