Those dealing with the constant pain and discomfort of fibromyalgia may find some relief from taking CBD. This is just one of the many ways in which CBD can provide relief from an otherwise chronic condition, alleviating pain and improving a person’s quality of life.
CBD stands for cannabidiol and this is a chemical compound from the cannabis plant. It is one of over a hundred chemical compounds and does not cause any psychoactive effects. It contrasts with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the chemical component responsible for producing the high from marijuana.
Because of the lack of high associated with CBD, it is a good option for those suffering from fibro and other conditions who do not want to take marijuana for a range of reasons. Some people may not feel comfortable taking a mind-altering substance, some may react poorly to marijuana, or others simply do not feel the need for the high.
CBD’s Role in Fibro
Fibromyalgia is a type of chronic pain disorder. Those with fibro experience musculoskeletal pain, cognitive issues, and fatigue. Because there is no cure available, fibro treatment looks to pain management. This is where CBD steps in as it is commonly used for pain management.
CBD can offer an alternative to taking strong pain medications with potential side effects, such as potentially addictive opioids.
A research review published in 2013 found some evidence that CBD can relieve the pain from fibromyalgia. This study similarly found CBD helped reduce pain from other conditions, like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Unfortunately, more research still needs to be completed to get a clearer picture. So far, most CBD studies have small sample sizes and tend to rely on asking participants about symptoms instead of using objective measures. Additionally, few studies focus on fibromyalgia; most look at pain management in general. The small number of studies with sufficient controls and objective measures do suggest that CBD can treat fibromyalgia.
One example is a 2015 review that looked at cannabinoids for chronic pain, including for fibro. The review looked at 11 studies, seven of which indicated CBD reduced pain. Another 2015 review looked at 28 clinically controlled trials, but with medical marijuana instead of CBD. The results supported CBD’s ability to control chronic pain.
In 2017, a study looked at the impact of CBD on cell hypersensitivity in chronic pain conditions. The research included patients with fibromyalgia. Although the results indicated a need for more research, they were promising.
A 2017 study indicated that CBD can reduce the activity of glia. Glia is brain cells that cause central sensitization. Their activity is a key feature of fibromyalgia as well as other syndromes affecting central sensitivity.
How CBD Helps With Fibromyalgia
Scientists are still not positive why those with fibromyalgia experience some relief from the symptoms of the condition when taking CBD, but there are multiple theories. The leading theory is that CBD interacts with the brain, potentially interrupting nerve pathways responsible for sending pain signals between the body and brain.
The benefits of CBD for fibro may also come from its anti-inflammatory properties. This anti-inflammatory action would reduce swelling and heat from the disease. That reduction in swelling should, in turn, reduce the pain.
Yet another theory is that fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes may be due to a lack of endocannabinoids, something backed by a 2016 study. These neurotransmitters bind with cannabinoid receptors. If they are the cause of at least some symptoms of fibro, the CBD could correct the deficiency.
Effectiveness of CBD for Fibro
Plenty of anecdotal data indicates CBD oil effectively removes or reduces fibro symptoms. Scientists still need to conduct more research into CBD’s specific benefits on fibromyalgia.
There is preliminary evidence that cannabidiol can assist with pain in those with fibro as well as other chronic pain disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and migraines.
Treating Fibro Symptoms With CBD
Although there is not enough research on CBD to treat fibromyalgia, there is plenty of research indicating that it can successfully treat pain, anxiety, and insomnia. These are three of the major symptoms of fibro, with others including extreme sensitivity to pain, stiffness, fatigue, poor sleep quality, cognitive issues, headaches, restless leg syndrome, and IBS.
In fact, CBD can assist with some of these other fibro symptoms in indirect ways. By resolving insomnia, you are likely to experience an improvement in sleep quality and be less fatigued. The anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD may reduce stiffness. There is also evidence that CBD can help with irritable bowel syndrome, one of the potential symptoms of fibro.
Using CBD to Treat Fibromyalgia
Using CBD to treat fibromyalgia is similar to using it to treat any other condition. You will likely require some trial and error to find the ideal dosage for your particular needs. This will vary based on your weight, the severity of your pain, and your body chemistry. Ideally, you should start with a low dose of CBD and increase it if necessary. This dramatically reduces the potential development of side effects.
You can take CBD in many forms. Start by deciding whether you want CBD that also includes THC in small quantities. This can cause the entourage effect, giving you improved results from the substance. It also increases the chances of psychoactive effects and may not be legal in all jurisdictions.
Once you decide whether you want THC in your CBD, you can choose between tinctures or oils, edibles, topicals, or vaping.
Side Effects of CBD
It is uncommon for people to have side effects from taking CBD. You could experience drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, or dizziness. Even if those side effects occur, they will likely be less than those of more traditional pain treatments for fibro.
If you are on pharmaceutical medications or supplements to treat your fibro already, you should consult your doctor before taking CBD. This will let you avoid drug interactions.
You can also reduce the potential for negative side effects by choosing quality CBD. Opt for CBD with independent testing results readily available.
Experts still need to conduct more research, but CBD shows a great deal of promise in treating fibromyalgia. Those suffering from fibro symptoms may want to supplement their traditional treatments with CBD.