Fibromyalgia can cause persistent pain that makes it difficult to enjoy even the most pleasant activities. Like many chronic conditions, the pain of fibromyalgia can be difficult to manage. Can CBD help with fibromyalgia and, if so, how? Here, we examine the science of CBD for fibromyalgia. We’ll look at the causes and symptoms of fibro and associated pain before discussing how CBD can help alleviate these symptoms. We will also provide some dosing guidelines to help you incorporate CBD into your fibro wellness routine.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a potentially debilitating condition that causes widespread muscle tenderness, pain, and fatigue. Related to arthritis, fibromyalgia can make even simple activities difficult or impossible. A chronic condition, fibromyalgia can be treated, but not cured. Like many chronic conditions, pain management for fibromyalgia is often difficult and may involve heavy pharmaceuticals.

How Can CBD Help With Fibromyalgia?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant that has no psychoactive effects. Many states that still ban medical cannabis will make exceptions for CBD due to its multitude of medicinal properties and inability to get a user “high,” like the compound THC is known to do. One ailment CBD is commonly used for is fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a condition involving multiple manageable yet chronic symptoms, including pain, fatigue, changes in mood, and memory loss. It is believed that the  disorder alters the way the brain processes pain signals, thus enhancing all bodily pains. Fibromyalgia affects more women than men, and is most common in adults between 40 and 75 years old.

While researchers are not entirely sure what causes fibromyalgia, some studies suggest  genetics may be involved. It is also believed that the heightened pain sensitivity associated with fibromyalgia is caused by lower levels of certain brain neurotransmitters, including serotonin and norepinephrine.

Current treatment for fibromyalgia includes pharmaceuticals and self-care, such as taking actions to improve general health. Treatments vary by symptoms, but range from pain relievers, antidepressants (to help treat pain and fatigue), and anti-seizure medications (which can be helpful in reducing certain pains and other fibromyalgia symptoms).

The Science of CBD for Fibromyalgia

The human body comes fully equipped with an endocannabinoid system, which is comprised of different receptors that help the brain communicate with the rest of the body. A 2016 study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research presented research that supported the theory that a lack of endocannabinoids, the neurotransmitters that bind to the endocannabinoid receptors and facilitate cell communication, may be the cause of treatment-resistant, chronic pain syndromes. These may include migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia. CBD for fibromyalgia may help to treat this deficiency, thus leading to reduced intensity of symptoms.

The endocannabinoid system sends pain signals between the brain and the body. CBD has been found to  alter these nerve pathways, and thus the pain felt throughout the body. This, accompanied with research that shows CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects, may also explain why CBD is an effective treatment for many fibromyalgia patients.

It should be noted that CBD only reduces fibromyalgia symptoms in some patients. Like all medications, CBD is not a magical cure-all and may be ineffective for some people. Further research is needed to understand why it works for some and not others.

Current Research: Study Results

A 2008 study reviewed scientific literature via the National Library of Medicine database and other sources in order to examine how clinical endocannabinoid deficiency could explain why migraines, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome are alleviated by cannabis. “Cannabinoids have similarly demonstrated the ability to block spinal, peripheral and gastrointestinal mechanisms that promote pain in headache, fibromyalgia, IBS and related disorders.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18404144

 

A 2019 study explored the effects of inhaled pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Four different cannabis varieties with different levels of CBD and THC were tested in 20 chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia. “[M] more subjects receiving Bediol [13.4 mg THC, 17.8 mg CBD] displayed a 30% decrease in pain scores compared to placebo (90% vs 55% of patients).”

Learn more: https://journals.lww.com/pain/Fulltext/2019/04000/An_experimental_randomized_study_on_the_analgesic.11.aspx

 

Recommended CBD Regimen for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that requires daily treatment. For bodily pains, we recommend a topical product like a CBD Lotion that can be applied right onto the affected area. This will offer localized, long lasting relief when and where you need it. Apply generously and be sure to massage into your skin.

For daily relief and general mood stabilization, we suggest also taking a CBD tincture every morning. Begin with a low dose (one full dropper) and increase as necessary. If you are new to tinctures, try a flavored variety and mix in your coffee or tea.

Takeaway

While CBD for fibromyalgia is effective, it is important to note that it is not a cure. CBD for fibromyalgia also tends to work best in accompaniment with traditional pharmaceutical medications and lifestyle changes. Treatment will be different for each patient, but studies show that CBD can help relieve many symptoms of fibromyalgia.

It should also be noted that while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the potential value that CBD may possess, to date they do not yet approve of it as a regulated treatment option. While the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (otherwise known as the Farm Bill) regulated industrial hemp, it did not change the legal status of CBD. Overall, more research and clinical trials will be necessary to fully understand how this naturally occurring substance can aid in the treatment of this chronic illness.