If you are one of the as many as 10 million people in the U.S. who suffer from the medical disorder known as fibromyalgia, you’ve probably tried a variety of treatments with varying levels of success. Learn more about CBD and Fibromyalgia.
Before discussing the connection between CBD and Fibromyalgia, let’s first look into the symptoms. Fibromyalgia symptoms include chronic joint and muscle pain and fatigue. Some patients also become extremely sensitive to touch. The condition is not life-threatening but fibromyalgia patients often must deal with pain throughout their lives. There is no cure for this disorder, but it can be treated.
A number of medical experts have suggested that fibromyalgia might be the result of a cannabinoid deficiency suggesting that supplementation with cannabinoids such as those found in CBD oil might prove to be an effective treatment for the condition. And, in fact, many patients who have used CBD oil to treat their condition report that it provides them with marked relief.
Fibromyalgia is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50 years old, and by age 80, nearly 8% of all adults meet the American College of Rheumatology classification of fibromyalgia. And, if you’re a woman with fibromyalgia you are certainly not alone — nearly 90% of all fibromyalgia patients are women.
Fibromyalgia pain is classified into three major types:
- Hyperalgesia — brain receives normal pain signals, but amplifies their intensity.
- Allodynia — light pressure causes pain which is commonly described as being similar to a bad sunburn.
- Painful Paresthesia — causes a feeling of “pins and needles” similar to the sensation experienced after a foot has “fallen asleep.”
Fibromyalgia can also affect muscles, making patients feel stiff or causing spasms or twitches. Extreme fatigue is also very common in fibromyalgia patients. Other symptoms include dizziness and painful menstruation.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia can impair sleep. The condition is thought to be responsible for preventing patients from entering a deep sleep state. This in turn results in patients waking up tired regardless of how many hours they’ve slept.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that causes bloating and pain in the intestines, is also commonly associated with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is often mistakenly dismissed as being a psychological condition which is “all in the head.” Imaging studies have revealed that it has a very real effect on the brain. Patients with fibromyalgia display abnormally high brain activity in reaction to pain.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is still a mystery. Genetics seems to play a role in the development of fibromyalgia. Also, patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia.
Over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol, Advil and Aleve, as well as prescription pain relievers, are the most common treatment for fibromyalgia. Antiseizure drugs can be used to manage pain in some cases.
Interestingly, antidepressants are also known to reduce the pain and fatigue that come with fibromyalgia.
Research On CBD and Fibromyalgia
What are the connections between CBD and Fibromyalgia? Many CBD oil users claim the solution is extremely helpful in controlling their pain. Scientific research is underway to look for clinical evidence that CBD oil actually is effective for treating fibromyalgia.
As we mentioned, some experts believe that Fibromyalgia may be the result of a cannabinoid deficiency. And there is research to back up this idea. The results of several research studies suggest that supplementation of patients’ diets with the variety of cannabinoids found in full-spectrum CBD oil — including cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN) and others — might make up for this deficiency and provide some measure of relief for the chronic pain and inflammation which are characteristic of the condition.
In 2011 a survey of fibromyalgia patients that use medical cannabis found “a statistically significant reduction of pain and stiffness, enhancement of relaxation, and an increase in somnolence and feeling of well-being.”
Another survey of 1,300 fibromyalgia patients conducted by the National Pain Foundation showed similar results. In that study, 62% of patients who used cannabis reported a reduction in symptoms. The authors of the report on this study concluded that “medical cannabis is far more effective at treating symptoms of fibromyalgia than any of the three prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat the disorder.”
Aside from its potential for treating pain, CBD is also believed by researchers to have a potential role in the treatment of some of the other issues which are associated with the disorder. CBD has been proven to reduce seizures, and is commonly used to treat issues such as sleep disorders, anxiety and depression. In fact, these are some of the most common conditions for which CBD oil is used.
Research Studies On CBD’s Effects on Fibromyalgia
If you would like to delve deeper into some of the actual scientific research being done to determine CBD’s effects on fibromyalgia symptoms, below is a list of studies including all referenced above.
- Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): Can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?
- Cannabis use in patients with fibromyalgia
- Cannabinoids for fibromyalgia
- Cannabis Use in Patients with Fibromyalgia: Effect on Symptoms Relief and Health-Related Quality of Life
- The Analgesic Potential of Cannabinoids
CBD and Fibromyalgia – Conclusion
As any patient or medical specialist will tell you, fibromyalgia is a very real condition which can greatly reduce the quality of life for those who suffer from it.
Many researchers suspect that the condition may be the result of a cannabinoid deficiency. CBD oil is a great source of cannabinoids and does not cause the high associated with medical cannabis. Preliminary research has been promising with some researchers claiming that CBD oil works better than medicines traditionally used to treat fibromyalgia.
If you have any experience with using CBD to treat fibromyalgia, we’d love to hear your story.