A very common question popping up across numerous CBD forums of late is, can CBD be used as a treatment for Fibromyalgia (also known as Fibrositis)?
It’s an excellent question which I will aim to answer in a simple, digestible way.
Fibromyalgia is a very common condition which affects around 3 million people each year in the United States.
The condition causes widespread muscle pains and tenderness and can last for years.
Sadly, Fibromyalgia is an incurable condition. However, there are ways of significantly reducing pain and managing discomfort.
One of these methods which has risen in popularity in the past year is the treatment of Fibromyalgia through CBD (Cannabidiol). I will explain in this article why CBD is an excellent option to relieve some of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
Introduction: What is CBD and how does it work?
CBD is the medicinal substance Cannabidiol found within the cannabis plants hemp and marijuana.
CBD and THC are the two most thoroughly researched cannabinoids (substances from the cannabis plant) and research has shown that both can provide medicinal benefits when ingested.
However, the key difference between these two cannabinoids are that CBD extracted from the hemp plant does not cause any psychoactive side effects.
Whereas THC, more abundantly found in the marijuana plant, is a substance in cannabis plants which causes you to feel “high”.
Regulated CBD products, legal across all 50 states, are restricted to contain only trace amounts of THC (0.3%).
Cannabidiol is growing vastly popular across the western world as consumers are beginning to utilise the substance for its medicinal benefits without having to deal with the unwanted side effects found in THC based products and other prescription medicines.
How does CBD help the body?
Simply put, the body naturally contains a system which regulates pain and balances our internal environment. This system is called the endocannabinoid system.
Our body naturally produces cannabinoids to manage pain.
Ingesting regular doses of CBD via oils, capsules, vapes etc. allows us to boost / reinforce our endocannabinoid system which is great for reducing chronic pains.
What does the rise of CBD mean for Fibromyalgia?
CBD holds great medicinal potential for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, not only does it work alongside our body’s natural pain management system it also comes without psychoactive side effects meaning a user will remain fully functional in their daily life.
Scientific research has already been conducted to assess CBD’s effectiveness against chronic pains such as Fibromyalgia, research which shows promising signs that CBD is a viable option for those suffering from this chronic condition.
What’s more, everyday there are more and more testimonials from fibromyalgia patients reporting the medicinal benefits of CBD when used to relieve common fibromyalgia symptoms such as muscle tension and joint pains.
CBD is also being hailed as an excellent mental aid with users all around the world reporting improvements in their struggles against anxiety and insomnia after trialing CBD products.
What did scientists learn in clinical CBD tests using lab rats?
CBD trials on humans are still in their early stages and sadly this means there is not an abundance of scientific research proving the benefits of CBD against Fibromyalgia specifically.
Scientists are only just beginning to realise the medicinal potential of CBD and I am sure future findings will confirm the reported benefits of CBD against chronic pain in humans.
However, clinical trials have been run using animals which provide the best insights into the medicinal benefits of CBD against chronic pain as of January 2019.
Scientists recorded some of the medicinal benefits through monitoring the effects of CBD on lab rats, benefits which would, in theory, also aid humans.
In the CBD trials on animals research has shown:
Researchers noted that CBD plays a role in reducing inflammation in the brain.
‘Brain fog’ is a key cause of pain for many Fibromyalgia patients as excess volumes of pain are sent from the brain to the rest of the body.
Calming these pain receptors and clearing the ‘brain fog’ with CBD could see a significant reduction in pain for human Fibromyalgia patients.
Clinical tests also noted that CBD had the ability to put the brains glial cells into hibernation.
The activation of the brain’s glial cells is a contributing factor to the excess pain levels experienced by Fibromyalgia patients.
Putting these glial cells ‘back to sleep’ is thought to be incredibly beneficial to tackling some of the common Fibromyalgia symptoms.
These studies also recorded an improvement to the rats fight or flight nervous system activity, something known to be affected by Fibromyalgia. Through the application of CBD, rats subjected to stress demonstrated much calmer behaviour.
Most importantly, CBD was proven in these clinical trials to reduce pain behaviors in rats with inflamed joints and damaged nerves.
Fibromyalgia pains are known to be attributed to both the inflammation of joints and damaged nerves, meaning CBD has been proven to tackle these two primary causes of the condition in rats, now we await further human studies to support this theory.
Have any clinical trials been conducted with humans?
As of early 2019 (January), the majority of clinical trials featuring CBD have focused on the substances effect on anxiety, insomnia and PTSD. There is yet to be a dedicated study on the benefits of CBD against Fibromyalgia.
There have been a few studies trialling the effectiveness of cannabis against the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. These trials have all shown positive signs that the symptoms of Fibromyalgia can be reduced after the consumption of cannabis.
The majority of subjects reported reduced pain and better sleep after ingesting cannabis during the trial.
Please see these studies for reference:
Cannabis & fibromyalgia in Israel
Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): Can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?
Cannabis use in patients with fibromyalgia
However, ingesting cannabis remains illegal for many in 2019 as it remains a controlled substance in many states and countries.
Why CBD products are the next best alternative to cannabis
Hemp based CBD production and consumption was legalised across the United States in December 2018 thanks to reforms in the Farm Bill.
CBD oil extracted from hemp is currently legal in all 50 states since it is extracted from the hemp plant and not from the marijuana plant.
All regulated products contain no more than 0.3% THC.
This has provided patients with Fibromyalgia the opportunity to legally experiment with CBD oils and will surely prompt further studies into the benefits of CBD against Fibromyalgia in the coming months.
Why I advocate trying CBD to combat fibromyalgia
Of course, there is no guarantee that CBD has the ability to positively affect the symptoms of every Fibromyalgia patient.
Added to this, there is a serious lack of research into the use of Cannabidiol against Fibromyalgia, making it impossible to decisively say CBD is a guaranteed means of relieving Fibromyalgia symptoms.
However, I would still advocate that Fibromyalgia patients try a CBD oil for the following reasons:
While at this time the majority of research studies relevant to Fibromyalgia patients has been conducted using rats as test subjects, these trials have proved to be very positive. I am confident studies on human subjects would demonstrate similar results.
Researchers witnessed improved mobility in the rats in their trial which was concluded to be the result of a reduction in joint and muscle pains through the ingestion of CBD.
Far more extensive research exists to support Cannabidiol as a viable treatment to combat anxiety and sleep. This alone could ease a Fibromyalgia patient’s comfort as headaches, sleep disorders and anxiety are also commonly attributed symptoms of the condition.
CBD is one hundred percent safe and does not include the psychoactive side effects associated with cannabis and marijuana (THC).
There is no chance that CBD can have an adverse effect on the symptoms of Fibromyalgia and it will not make you “high” so you can drive and work safely too.
Most importantly, we must consider patient testimonials. These testimonials are not quite a replacement for clinical research trials, but should we trust them, they do inspire confidence that CBD can have a positive effect in the treatment of Fibromyalgia.
Here are a selection of testimonials I have found from fibromyalgia patients:
I take CBD for chronic pain from a number of conditions including fibromyalgia, movement disorder and breakthrough symptoms from it, dysautonomia, and herniated lumbar discs. My pain level with nothing was an 8/9, with percocet it gets to a 6/7. I was able to go from 3 percocet a day to 3 a week since starting CBD oil. I have found that a product with a higher CBDa of as close to a 1:1 ratio of CBD:CBDA content works far better for my pain and spasms. I personally also need a higher myrcene level to calm my dysautonomia. CBDa has anti inflammatory properties.
PMM via Facebook
I have a friend that recommend a CBD brand she has been using for 2 years, I checked them out and I was delighted by the customer service and help they provided me with. However I was most pleased with the results which went way beyond my expectations as a first time user. My CBD oils are great for pain relief.
BYW via Facebook
I am using it for Fibromyalgia and a Meningioma. It helps my inflammation and pain. It relieves anxiety. It works, it helps.
SHC via Facebook
I advocate that Fibromyalgia patients experiment with a trusted CBD product. I am not claiming that CBD is an all out cure to this condition. It is not.
It is however, very likely able to relieve discomfort and aid sleep and to this end, I believe CBD has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of many Fibromyalgia patients. Further research is required, I won’t deny that.
However, given the research that has already taken place and the absence of negative side effects I believe it is certainly a shot.
Should you decide to experiment with CBD, here is a useful chart to guide you regarding dosages starting out.
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