Fibromyalgia is a, quite literally, painful diagnosis featuring chronic, widespread, aching pain throughout your body. If you or a family member are dealing with fibromyalgia and have exhausted your search for remedies for pain, one more option may exist: CBD effects for fibromyalgia might be the magic elixir you are seeking to ease your pain.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 compounds found in the cannabis plant. It is non-psychoactive, meaning it can’t get you “high,” and has been widely researched for its ability to help ease pain.
Here we dive into the research on CBD to see whether it may help with fibromyalgia pain so you can get some relief.
What Exactly is Fibromyalgia?
To better understand how CBD may help with fibromyalgia pain, it helps to understand exactly what fibromyalgia is.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes chronic musculoskeletal pain along with other symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, and memory and mood issues. While researchers are still unclear as to the definitive cause of fibromyalgia, the main theory is that it is the result of something causing the brain to amplify pain signals throughout the body.
Sometimes, symptoms of fibromyalgia start after surgery, trauma, an infection, or intense psychological stress. In other cases, the symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no apparent trigger.
CBD: Can It Help Fibromyalgia Pain?
While there is currently no cure for fibromyalgia, CBD may be able to help fight the widespread pain that comes with it. CBD interacts with the built-in cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids (that’s right – our bodies also contain and produce their own cannabinoids!) found throughout our bodies.
These receptors and endocannabinoids also play a heavy role in the function and regulation of our nervous system, which also happens to be a major factor when it comes to pain signals.
There are currently no direct studies focusing solely on CBD’s effect on fibromyalgia pain; however, there are many studies that show it could help ease symptoms in a variety of ways, and also several studies of fibromyalgia sufferers using whole cannabis as a treatment option.
Let’s see what the research says.
Several studies have suggested that CBD can help ease pain – even the difficult-to-treat types of pain like neuropathic pain. [*] In fact, several researchers have mentioned CBD may be a new alternative to opioid pain medications.
When it comes to fibromyalgia, a 2011 study done on fibromyalgia patients (mostly women) found that those using cannabis experienced reduced pain and stiffness, along with more sleepiness, than those who didn’t use cannabis. [*]
Another study out of the Netherlands studied the effect of cannabis on 20 women with fibromyalgia. In this study, each participant received four different forms of cannabis with different levels of CBD, including:
- a placebo version, which contained no CBD or THC
- 200 mg of a version with high amounts of both CBD and THC (Bediol)
- 200 mg of a version with high amounts of CBD and low amounts of THC (Bedrolite)
- 100 mg of a version with low amounts of CBD and high amounts of THC (Bedrocan)
Bediol, which is the variety high in CBD and THC, brought more relief to participants than the placebo did, causing a 30 percent reduction of spontaneous pain in 18 of the 20 participants.
The placebo only caused a 30 percent reduction of spontaneous pain in 11 participants.
The other varieties, Bediol or Bedrocan (both high-THC varieties) significantly improved pressure pain thresholds when compared to the placebo.
It is worth noting however that the version with high CBD and low THC in this study didn’t do much to help relieve spontaneous pain, suggesting that spectrum oils including trace amounts of THC may ease pain better than just CBD alone. [*]
- Can Improve Sleep
Fibromyalgia sufferers often experience insomnia due to pain at night. Luckily, CBD has several studies that suggest it helps improve sleep.
One on CBD, sleep, and anxiety found that sleep scores improved in the first month of users taking CBD, while also reducing their anxiety scores (a benefit if you’re also not sleeping due to feelings of anxiety). [*]
- May Help With Mood Issues Related to Fibromyalgia
Some fibromyalgia patients also experience mood issues alongside fibromyalgia, such as depression. Several studies suggest CBD can have antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects, with one animal study finding it interacts with certain receptors that help regulate serotonin in our system. [*] Serotonin is an important, “feel-good” chemical that plays a large role in depression and mood disorders, with researchers believing low levels can lead to depression symptoms. [*]
Another study found CBD may help reduce stress, which could also help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression related to excess stress, whether it be from fibromyalgia pain or other stressors in our life. [*]
How to Use CBD for Fibromyalgia
There are several ways to use CBD to help with fibromyalgia symptoms. Know that everyone is different when it comes to which method they prefer, so you may want to try a couple different options before you decide on which avenue is best for you.
- Vaping/Inhalation. Vaping or inhaling CBD is one of the fastest ways to get CBD into your system in order to quickly relieve pain. This is because it goes directly into the lungs and is absorbed into the bloodstream, whereas other methods like edibles and capsules need to be digested before they can take effect.
• Edibles and Capsules. While edibles and capsules may take longer to have an effect, their effect can also last a few hours longer than other methods. Edibles and capsules are also more convenient than smoking when you’re, say, at work.
• Topicals and Creams. You can also apply CBD topically in the form of a lotion or balm. This is great for local pain as well – if you have one area of your body, like your joints, affecting you more than the others.
• Tinctures. CBD oil can also be bought as a tincture where you use a dropped to deliver CBD under your tongue. This type takes a little less time to take effect than edibles, but a little longer than vaping.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to decide if you want THC in your blend. THC is the compound that makes marijuana psychoactive and can give you a high. However, some people believe (and some research suggests) the combination of CBD with THC may be more effective than CBD alone, although this isn’t definitive. If you don’t want THC, avoid “spectrum” oils and always check the ingredient list.
Also, check to make sure your CBD is sourced from high-quality (preferably organic) hemp plants so that pesticides and other chemical residues won’t end up in your oil.
Much research shows CBD is fantastic for helping to treat widespread pain. For this reason, it may be a good option if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia. There is no set dose, so start with a low dose as recommended on your brand and work up until you find a dose that works for you.
Have you ever tried CBD for pain? What was the result? CBD effects for fibromyalgia pain is very promising.