CBD is getting a lot of welcome attention for its potential to treat fibromyalgia. So far, there isn’t a lot of research on it, but there is some out there – and it’s promising. The fact is that CBD has taken the world by storm over the last few years, with claims that it can help in the treatment of a number of conditions, from anxiety to epilepsy.
There have also been claims that CBD-based products could help to relieve pain, even in medical conditions like fibromyalgia. But what do the medical professionals have to say? Let’s explore more about what fibromyalgia is, how CBD could help treat the condition, and what medical research has to say about the issue.
Overview of Fibromyalgia, CBD Benefits, and More
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that results in musculoskeletal pain, as well as cognitive issues and fatigue. There isn’t a cure for this disorder, but treatment options will typically focus on pain management. Fibromyalgia is classified as the second most common condition that affects the muscles and bones, yet somehow it is a very much misunderstood and sometimes misdiagnosed condition.
The classic symptoms of fibromyalgia include widespread joint and muscle fatigue. Other possible symptoms may be muscle pain, twitching, or burning; trouble concentrating and remembering; feeling nervous, depressed, or worried; and tender points or low pain threshold, among other things. Doctors aren’t so sure what causes this condition, but some believe that it’s a problem with how the spinal cord and brain process pain signals that come from the nerves.
While the cause of fibromyalgia isn’t known, there are certain things that suggest that you are more likely to get the disease. Here are a few of these:
- You rarely exercise
- You have a mood disorder, like either depression or anxiety
- You’re a women
- You have another painful condition, like arthritis or an infection
- You were emotionally or physically abused or have PTSD
- Others in your family suffer from fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia can feel similar to bursitis, tendonitis, or osteoarthritis. However, rather than hurting in a specific area, the stiffness and pain can be felt throughout the body. Some of the other symptoms can include headaches, dry mouth, urinating more often, sensitivity to cold, heat, or sound, belly pain or bloating, and tingling or numbness in the face, hands, legs, arms, or feet.
How and Why CBD Could Help with Skin Fibromyalgia
Recent research has found that our bodies natural inflammatory response could play a major part in the development of fibromyalgia. During studies, abnormal levels of interleukins IL-6 and IL-8 were discovered in the spinal fluid and serum of fibromyalgia sufferers. This proved that the disorder has an inflammatory aspect to it. Even the brain in fibromyalgia patients demonstrated signs of neuroinflammation.
This is relevant because CBD has been found to reduce inflammation by regulating inflammatory pathways within our bodies endocannabinoid system (ECS). Also, fibromyalgia patients who use CBD have reported reduced pain and reduced anxiety, which are both common symptoms of the disease.
The pain-relieving effects of CBD could be explained by the way that it affects the brain. CBD may interrupt the nerve pathways which send signals of pain between the body and brain. In other words, CBD could inhibit the brain from sending these messages of pain to the body, and therefore no pain is felt, or a reduce the amount of pain is experienced.
A 2017 paper that was published in Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets reported that CBD has the potential to diminish the activity of brain cells that are known as glia, which cause central sensitization. This is a key feature of fibromyalgia, as well as other central sensitization conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome. So essentially, by interfering with central sensitization, CBD could treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Studies on the Effects of Cannabinoids and CBD on Fibromyalgia
CBD has been found time and again to be an effective treatment for chronic pain symptoms and also has the potential to reduce inflammation. It’s actually considered to be a safe alternative to using addictive opioid prescriptions.
Direct research into CBD and fibromyalgia is very much limited. General CBD research is, in fact, still in its infancy, so research on CBD and fibromyalgia can be thought of as embryonic. However, CBD has been studied for symptoms and conditions that occur in fibromyalgia, including joint pain, anxiety, depression, nerve pain, insomnia, and PTSD.
Anecdotal evidence has suggested that consuming CBD could alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia in some people. It could change the way that pain is processed, with beneficial effects. Quality research is currently being conducted on CBD as a treatment method. In past years, research was focused on medical marijuana as opposed to CBD specifically. But new studies are linking the two and promising results are expected.
A 2015 review conducted research on using cannabinoids to treat chronic pain, but not pain that was specifically linked to fibromyalgia. Seven of the eleven studies that were looked at as part of the review concluded that CBD provided effective pain relief.
A 2016 study reported that a lack of endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to the cannabinoid receptors, could be at the root of chronic pain conditions, including migraines and fibromyalgia. Taking CBD could correct this deficiency, which explains the success that the compound has in treating chronic pain.
A 2017 study found that CBD has the potential to counteract the hypersensitivity of cells that surround the nerves in people who experience chronic pain, including fibromyalgia patients. However, this study also pointed to the need for more research.
Medical Benefits of Using CBD for Fibromyalgia
CBD has been found to be effective in improving sleep, reducing pain, and diminishing refractory pain in patients with migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and similar conditions that are involved in chronic pain. One of the many wonderful things about CBD is that it doesn’t have any adverse side effects and there isn’t a risk of addiction.
Although currently there isn’t a cure for fibromyalgia, CBD may be able to make the pain and discomfort more bearable, less frequent, and also not as noticeable.
How to Take CBD for Skin Fibromyalgia
People who suffer from fibromyalgia are finding the best delivery methods to be sublingual tinctures or vaporizing because of the speed of the effects of these methods. CBD dominant products and a combination of CBD and THC products have both been found to be helpful in treating fibromyalgia.
Smoking or vaping CBD is best if you are looking for immediate pain relief. Smoking cannabis that is rich in CBD is the quickest way to reduce the symptoms. Vaping or smoking CBD allows you to directly inhale the product, which helps with quick absorption into the bloodstream and lungs. The effects may last up to three hours.
Consuming a CBD tincture sublingually can also be very effective. Simply put a few drops under your tongue and hold it there for at least 30 seconds before swallowing. This process helps with quick absorption and increases the speed at which the CBD takes effect.
Of course, you could also use topicals which are a great option for reducing inflammation and helping with any external pain. You can simply apply the lotion, cream, or oil directly to the affected area of the skin.
If you are new to CBD, it’s always best to start with a low dosage and work your way up from there. The general consensus for beginners is to start off with 5 to 10 mg of CBD. You can then increase the dosage from there until you reach the desired effect. Dosage recommendation is tricky because every person is different, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. However, starting off low and increasing as needed is a good process to follow.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Fibromyalgia
Researchers are still looking into the effectiveness of CBD for treating chronic pain disorders, but more specifically fibromyalgia. There are a few success stories with using CBD to treat this condition, but you should also keep in mind that CBD is not yet FDA approved. This just means that you should make sure that you are purchasing the product legally.
We have no doubt that further studies will reveal even more promising results of CBD and its treatment of fibromyalgia. As for now, you might as well give it a try and let us know your thoughts.