New research studies show promising signs that breaking free from the muscular and skeletal pain of fibromyalgia is possible. Since cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural painkiller, many wonder if using CBD oil for fibromyalgia is a good idea.
To answer this, we explored what this ill-understood condition is, and the studies that show exactly what effects CBD has on patients’ comfort.
So, let’s not waste any more time to find out if CBD is the answer to the question: what is the best treatment for fibromyalgia?
What Is Fibromyalgia?
By definition, fibromyalgia—officially, fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a condition of a neurological origin that causes widespread pain in the muscles and bones, as well as touch sensitivity.
Appropriately dubbed the invisible disease, fibromyalgia can also cause fatigue, sleep problems, and cognitive difficulties. Hence the idea for CBD in fibromyalgia treatment.
In the 1800s, fibromyalgia was called “muscular rheumatism”. It was then that doctors finally agreed that the pain the patients feel is real and not imaginary.
What Happens in Fibromyalgia?
Well, nobody knows for sure! Scientists “believe” it has something to do with the way our brain interprets pain signals.
And since the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in pain sensation, CBD effects on fibromyalgia should be beneficial, soothing the brain’s pain sensory system.
What Triggers Fibromyalgia?
While the exact mechanisms and the complete list of triggers is yet unknown, these are some of the psychological and physical risk factors for fibromyalgia:
- A stressful event
- Sleep deprivation
- Genetic predisposition
- Other diseases (osteoarthritis, lupus, Lyme disease, ankylosing spondylitis, hypothyroidism, or rheumatoid arthritis)
- Being female (women are more likely to develop it Lack of physical activity (exercise is one of the best treatments for fibromyalgia
Can CBD Oil Help with Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia research is quite limited even before you add cannabidiol into the mix. Still, some of the information available shows a positive link between these two, and we’ll happily share it with you.
So, how can CBD oil help?
- Firstly, CBD has the ability to connect with neurotransmitters in the brain and spread its positive calming effects throughout the body.
- Next, inflammation is one of the main culprits for fibro pain and brain fog. Apparently, during inflammation, a special type of cells in the brain and spinal cord (the microglia cells) can amplify the transmission of pain signals, leading to fibromyalgia.
So, fibromyalgia and CBD are inevitably connected. Studies show that CB2 receptors, which can be affected by CBD, are in charge of regulating microglial cell function.
- Research on CBD and brain functions also show that it has the ability to repair cells damaged after suffering severe trauma, and we know PTSD is one of the causes of fibromyalgia.
- Next, CBD is anti-oxidative, and very much recommended for neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
- Undeniably so, ECS and pain sensitivity are closely connected. In fact, ECS regulates pain sensations. Since CBD affects ECS, it also affects pain sensations (in a good way).
Now, let’s see what CBD oil benefits can do for fibromyalgia symptoms and why it could be the best medicine for fibromyalgia.
CBD and Fibromyalgia Pain
About 2% to 4% of US citizens are estimated to have fibromyalgia (6 to 12 million people). In other words, millions of people are in pain right now, but only a handful of those will get a timely diagnosis, let alone a prompt treatment.
This is why many reach for simple and fast solutions like CBD. But, what do scientists say when it comes to CBD used for fibro? The following studies will offer you a glance.
A survey on the consumption of cannabis by fibromyalgia patients was done in Israel. The authors of the study posted a questionnaire in three big fibromyalgia Facebook groups; 383 people responded with their experiences with medical cannabis.
Results: 94% of consumers admitted cannabis eases their pain, and 93% said cannabis improved their sleep. 62% of them also praised cannabis for anxiety issues; few adverse effects were noted.
An observational study concerned with THC and CBD for fibromyalgia in the form of medical cannabis was conducted in the period between 2015 and 2017 by the SUMC Clinical Cannabis Research Institute. The follow-up period was six months.
Results: 81.1% of the patients reported overall improvements. Before the treatment, 52.2% of patients (193 people) were struggling with high-intensity pain; 6 months later, only 7.9% (19 people) had the same pain intensity.
Overall, the pain is said to have declined from a median of 9.0 to 5.0. However, studies that show that taking CBD oil for fibromyalgia pain is as effective as cannabis are still lacking.
Neuropathic pain may appear in addition to other types. Results from research confirmed that cannabinoids are decreasing pain levels. The trial included 1,219 patients, out of whom 614 received cannabinoids.
Chronic pain is the most common reason for using medicinal marijuana, with multiple sources claiming that the best THC vs the best CBD ratio for fibromyalgia is 1:1.
Another study exploring the question: does CBD oil work for pain? was conducted in 2011. More precisely, this study focused on the effects of cannabis use on the life quality and symptom relief of those with fibromyalgia.
56 patients with fibromyalgia participated in it. Half of them used cannabis in different forms, and the other half didn’t consume cannabis at all.
Results: FM patients that used cannabis felt significantly less pain and stiffness in comparison with non-users. Plus, they had better mental health scores than the rest. Other noticeable advantages were the enjoyment of relaxation and improved sleep.
CBD Effects on Fibromyalgia Symptoms
CBD Oil Eases IBS Symptoms
Up to 70% of FM patients also suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In fibromyalgia, this condition is also associated with anxiety, depression, or stress, which are bound to occur if you’re feeling chronic, unexplainable pain.
One study explains the CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects in the bowels of mice and shows its positive effect on human colonic cultures. CBD oil also used to counteract anxiety, which, in turn, calms the digestive tract.
CBD Works for Anxiety and Depression
Even though the recommendation of CBD oil for the treatment of fibromyalgia is mostly done to counter chronic pain, CBD is also known to ease anxiety and depression. Once again, these mood-lifting and calming effects are due to CBD’s impact on our endocannabinoid system.
Anxiety entails a number of disorders, and CBD provides a helping hand for most of them (GAD, PD, and even PTSD). Studies with human subjects suggest that CBD oil should be used as a regular treatment.
CBD is recommended because it has negligible sedative effects, anxiogenic effects, and overall, it is regarded as safe.
This is one more advantage when discussing CBD oil for fibromyalgia and anxiety. As children and teenagers can suffer from the disorder, CBD oil (without THC, of course) would prove a natural and efficient medicine.
Fibromyalgia patients are three times more likely to suffer from depression (at the time they are diagnosed) than healthy individuals.
Indeed, it is easy to become depressed when you are constantly feeling tired, and you’re enduring chronic pain, facing misunderstanding and wrong diagnosis, and a constant loss of energy. Another relation between CBD oil and fibromyalgia is the fact that depression can cause damage to the brain.
Studies acknowledge cannabis’s and with it, CBD oil’s anti-depressant qualities. CBD seems to ameliorate depression by bridging the communication between the brain and serotonin production (the hormone of happiness).
To sum up, fibromyalgia will be much more tolerable if these two symptoms are addressed.
Does CBD Oil Help Fibromyalgia Headaches?
Ask any FM sufferer and they will complain about the frequent headaches or migraines. As many as 76% of them have to deal with chronic headaches! Migraines are the most common ones; they may even act as a trigger!
In 87% of cases, a fibromyalgia flare occurs 12 hours after a migraine attack. Likewise, 84% of respondents clearly state that the combination of fibromyalgia and migraine is detrimental to their health and quality of life.
Since CBD is one of the natural ways to deal with migraines, the treatment of fibromyalgia and CBD oil become synonymous.
CBD manages migraine headaches quite effectively. Migraine statistics data show that one of CBD’s best pain-reduction scores is linked to migraines and other headaches.
In a 2016 study where participants were taking CBD-rich cannabis for migraines, it had the desired effect in about half of the cases.
Similarly, CBD is excellent in reducing nausea, which often accompanies the worst of migraines.
Insomnia, Fibromyalgia and CBD
It isn’t hard to imagine that falling asleep while in pain can be a problem, no matter how exhausted you’re feeling.
In fact, Insomnia is so common in fibromyalgia that some even wonder whether this is actually a sleep disorder. Indeed, one study found 99% of fibromyalgia patients had sleep problems.
Fortunately, sleep statistics on CBD tell us CBD oil is beneficial in many ways. This is extremely important since daytime fatigue is caused by a lack of sleep, making it a vicious circle.
First of all, once the pain is reduced, it’s much easier to fall asleep. Secondly, by taking your CBD oil for fibromyalgia you are also going to end your nightmares too because it minimizes the time spent in the REM phase, which means fewer possibilities to dream.
CBD Oil Clears Fibro Fog
You’re in pain, and you keep forgetting things? Yes, that has fibromyalgia written all over it.
Forgetfulness, mental sluggishness, and difficulty concentrating can be detrimental to both your profession and your family life. What’s more, the so-called “fibro fog” is present in 50% of FM patients.
Cannabinidiol can bring focus into your fibromyalgia-ridden brain. Indeed, CBD helps focus in contrast to the ”bad boy” THC, which is constantly criticized for memory and cognitive impairment.
As a matter of fact, CBD is so efficient in helping us regain concentration that it is even advised to be used by people and kids struggling with ADHD.
CBD trials including adults show promising results, and hemp-derived CBD oil is suggested as an excellent alternative for kids dealing with ADHD.
All-in-all the answer to: can CBD oil help with fibromyalgia confusion is a resounding yes!
CBD Oil Helps With Painful Periods
Women are ten times more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than men; They make a whopping 80–90% of FM patients. Plus, they report pain of higher intensity than that of male patients.
But what’s the link between a painful period and fibromyalgia?
It is observed that fibromyalgia symptoms increase before and during menstruation. So, women with fibromyalgia have more painful periods. Fortunately, research shows that taking CBD oil for fibromyalgia should resolve this.
Scientific research states that CBD has a big impact on prostaglandins. These are the hormone-resembling compounds within us, which make for heavy and painful periods.
Prostaglandins are inflammatory molecules, and — surprise, surprise — people use CBD for inflammation! In fact, one of the reasons why CBD oil for fibromyalgia pain is so effective is that this cannabinoid directly reduces the production and impact of prostaglandins.
Speaking of periods (or the lack of them), CBD oil is especially recommended for women who are postmenopausal or in the middle of their menopause; they seem to have the worst symptoms.
Side Effects of CBD for Fibromyalgia
Just like any other potent medication, CBD has several side effects. Some of these are mostly related to over-sensitivity or overdosing (dry mouth, diarrhea, sleepiness, dizziness).
Otherwise, the most common CBD side-effects include:
- Increased appetite
- Losing or gaining a few pounds
What’s more, some people don’t like the CBD effects on blood pressure, since this cannabidiol lowers it. Plus, CBD can interact with some medications or non-medical treatments. Therefore, consulting our GP before taking CBD oil or fibromyalgia medicine or supplements is always a good idea.