Fibromyalgia is the second most common diagnosis made in rheumatology clinics, behind only rheumatoid arthritis. A disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues, Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic, widespread pain widely thought to be the result of overactive nerves in the body. One of the most common chronic pain conditions, Fibromyalgia affects more than 5 million women and men in the United States. Fibromyalgia is a specific kind of pain that is chronic, widespread, and often accompanied by tenderness. The pain associated with Fibromyalgia is different from typical pain that we all experience with a headache or a sprained ankle, but it is just as real. Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness, and CBD cannot cure it. However, many who live with the condition find that experimenting with combinations of remedies can help to manage or eliminate symptoms. In most cases, CBD seems to offer the best results when combined with medication and lifestyle remedies.
General CBD research is in its infancy, so research on CBD for fibromyalgia should be considered embryonic. As far back as 2008, though, researchers determined that, “The use of cannabis was associated with beneficial effects on some FM (Fibromyalgia) symptoms.” A 2017 study concluded that CBD might counteract the hypersensitivity of cells surrounding nerves in people with chronic pain, including those with fibromyalgia.
Pain. This topic is likely to get a lot of future attention for several reasons. First, we have a pain epidemic in the U.S., and fibromyalgia is a major contributor. Current treatments just aren’t good enough for most people, so there’s an enormous incentive to find something that’s better at relieving pain and other symptoms. Second, we have an opioid addiction and overdose epidemic in this country. Numerous studies have demonstrated that where states have legalized marijuana, the number of opioid prescriptions and of opioid deaths drop. CBD oil is believed to be effective against pain and inflammation, and, in its pure form, it’s generally regarded as safe. While anecdotal evidence certainly isn’t scientific proof of anything, there is an abundance of it from people living with fibromyalgia who say CBD helps them.
Besides pain, Fibromyalgia patients may also suffer from chronic fatigue symptoms. Manifesting as listlessness, sleepiness, and a reduced tolerance for exercise, those living with Fibromyalgia often find fatigue is much greater than and lasts far longer than it would in a healthy person. As well as feelings of intense, unrelenting physical and mental lethargy, fatigue may also cause those affected to experience headaches, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, digestive disturbances, swollen lymph nodes, impaired memory and concentration, and depression. Symptoms vary in severity according to the individual, and in some cases can seriously detract from an individual’s quality of life. Fibromyalgia is strongly associated with inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. A 2014 study found that patients living with fibromyalgia exhibited markers of inflammation in certain brain regions that were 45-199% higher than in healthy controls.
Fibromyalgia patients who use CBD oil often report an improved sense of relaxation and a reduction in anxiety, pain, and inflammation. Symptom relief varies among individuals and conditions; it can be dramatic and rapid, or more subtle and gradual. Typically, patients report experiencing relief from disturbed or unrefreshing sleep, joint and muscle pain, depression, and emotional imbalance. Some patients also report that CBD use actually improves the primary symptom of fatigue. A 2015 review looked at the results of 28 randomized, clinically controlled trials of medical marijuana as a treatment for pain. The review found that high-quality evidence supports the use of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain, which is well-known to be improved with cannabis use. This is the case both for neuropathic (caused by an injury or dysfunction of the nerve itself) and nociceptive (caused by a factor other than injury to the nerve itself, such as a wound or inflammation in neighboring tissue) pain.
The potential of CBD to improve poor sleep is relatively well-established; various studies have demonstrated that while REM sleep is reduced, deep sleep is increased with CBD, which may lead to overall greater levels of refreshment in the patient. Depression and other mood disorders plague those who live with fibromyalgia. The potential role of CBD in the treatment of depression and cognitive impairment is controversial, but there are studies that imply a positive effect could be gained by some patients, and that this positive effect is likely to depend on dose, regularity and history of use, and genetic and environmental factors. Depression is thought to respond well to low doses and poorly to high doses.
There are a variety of reasons that people might consider treating Fibromyalgia with CBD oil. For one, CBD products generally don’t have side effects. CBD oil doesn’t give people the feeling of being highIn fact, CBD oil has very little if any THC—the active ingredient in marijuana that makes people feel high. Since CBD oil isn’t psychoactive, users don’t have to worry about feeling anxious or paranoid. This is one of the many reasons that people from all walks of life are willing to consider using CBD for their issues. CBD oil gives people the benefits of medical marijuana without the high, making it accessible to people who normally would not touch a marijuana leaf with a ten-foot pole! Because it is safe and legal, even the most straight laced people can give it a try. According to reports from CBD users, it also helps minimize anxiousness, chronic pain, sleep issues, and mood swings. It’s a healthy alternative to medical marijuana and possibly to some prescription medications.
At this time, CBD is not FDA approved as a treatment for fibromyalgia, although many patients have used it to treat their symptoms. However, the FDA hasn’t conducted enough significant research yet to approve it for medicinal purposes. Studies conducted so far suggest that CBD oil can be an effective option for disease treatment. Several studies have shown that CBD has been an effective treatment for epilepsy and neurogenerative diseases. Three of four studies reported that CBD had positive results on people with epilepsy and even reduced the frequency of seizures. CBD oil also appears to have neuroprotective properties that may help people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. The benefits of CBD oil have not been fully realized yet. Additional research will play a big part in understanding how it can help with Fibromyalgia.
Catherine Cattarello is a writer, editor, small business owner, and a CBD enthusiast pleased to share this information.