CBD products are becoming more popular among people living with pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. There are several reasons why people with fibromyalgia are turning to CBD:
- Early research on CBD for fibromyalgia is showing promising results
- Many people are reporting positive effects managing Fibromyalgia with CBD
- Current fibromyalgia medications are inadequate for many people
- It doesn’t come with the “high” or impairment of opiates
So, is CBD right for you or your loved one with fibromyalgia? First, let’s review the facts.
Fibromyalgia is often categorized as a rheumatic disease, like arthritis, but it is a physical condition with a neurological component. The pain comes from the nerves and physiological irregularities in the brain and is expressed by pain in the body and joints.
The nervous systems of people with fibromyalgia amplify pain signals, just as a microphone amplifies sound. Fibromyalgia also involves several other types of pain. One type is paresthesia, which deals with nerves and can feel like electrical “zaps” or “zings,” it can also itch, burn, or tingle. Another type takes normal sensations, such as heat or light pressure, and the brain reinterprets them as pain.
However, with more than 60 recognized symptoms, fibromyalgia is about far more than pain. It involves extreme fatigue, cognitive dysfunction (often called “fibro fog”), and sensitivity to a wide array of things. Those sensitivities often include pharmaceutical drugs, making it hard to find medications that can be tolerated.
Beyond pain, fatigue, and fibro fog, which are nearly universal, everyone has their own unique blend of symptoms. Common ones include:
Related conditions may also develop, including:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
There is not a test for fibromyalgia. Diagnosis is based on symptoms, physical examination, and tests to rule out conditions with similar symptoms.
Using CBD For Fibromyalgia
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is one of over 80 cannabinoids that exist in the hemp plant. Hemp contains more CBD and is commonly used to derive the highest-quality products with less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the chemical responsible for the “high” feeling. CBD does not have any psychoactive effects.
Research on CBD for fibromyalgia is still in the early stages. This isn’t surprising because, until recently, most hemp products were classified as a controlled substance, making it difficult to study until recently. The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill re-classified hemp as an agricultural product instead of an FDA schedule 1 controlled substance. Therefore, CBD and other hemp products are 100% legal at the federal level and are now available for more research.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has not officially approved CBD products for medicinal use for fibromyalgia. However, CBD has been approved by the FDA for other uses, such as childhood epilepsy. With many people reporting positive results easing Fibromyalgia symptoms with CBD products, there is a great deal of hope that it can help people still struggling.
CBD & Fibromyalgia Medications
The most common fibromyalgia solution includes pharmaceutical anti-depressants or anti-seizure drugs. These drugs balance some of the chemicals in the brain. However, even the best of these medications only help about one-third of the people who try them. For those people that the drugs help, they don’t eliminate the symptoms completely. Doctors generally recommend a multi-pronged approach that often includes complementary options such as supplements, massage, acupuncture, stress reduction, and dietary changes.
The medical community has not identified any negative interactions between CBD and the drugs typically used for fibromyalgia¹. If you are concerned about negative interactions, talk to your doctor and pharmacist.
Evidence For CBD & Fibromyalgia: What Do We Know?
CBD studies have shown evidence that it’s effective at:
- Relieving pain
- Easing anxiety
- Helping with insomnia
Pain, anxiety, and sleep problems are all major symptoms of fibromyalgia that nearly everyone with the condition deals with to some degree.
One of the main ways scientists believe CBD causes these positive effects is through its interaction with the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The body naturally produces its own cannabinoids to regulate this system. Externally produced cannabinoids, like CBD, can help control the ECS. Receptors for the ECS system are found throughout the body and play a role in homeostasis, keeping things like your temperature and heart rate in the optimal zone.
Research shows that fibromyalgia often involves a natural cannabinoid deficiency² so CBD may be especially effective for fibromyalgia.
A study published in 2017³ suggested that CBD also works to regulate the activity of a certain kind of brain cell, the glia. These glial cells provide support to neurons and are part of the brain’s dedicated immune system. It’s the overactivity of certain glia that may cause central sensitization—which leads to the unique pain types of the illness and hyper-sensitizes the body.
In 2016, a review of CBD research⁴ found evidence that cannabinoids appear to be effective for fibromyalgia. The same review also found strong evidence that CBD is effective for irritable bowel syndrome and migraines. Both of those conditions include central sensitization and are common in people with fibromyalgia.
Side Effects Of CBD
Some side effects are possible but rare. Reported side effects of CBD include: becoming lightheaded, changes in liver enzymes that process drugs, dry mouth, reduced blood pressure, sleepiness, and changes in mood. These side effects are rare and CBD is generally considered to have a better side effect profile than many prescription drugs.⁵
CBD is not addictive, it’s not a drug people abuse⁶ (because there’s no high), and there are no reported overdoses of CBD.
Is CBD Right For You?
Talk your doctor about using CBD for your fibromyalgia symptoms. When you are ready to purchase your CBD products, check out Daddy Burt’s online store.