Can CBD Help Fibromyalgia?
Can CBD Help Fibromyalgia?
It’s a little-understood and long-term condition with serious ramifications and no known cure. Fibromyalgia has limited the quality of life for tens of thousands of people all over the UK, so it’s really no wonder that sufferers and researchers alike are on the lookout for effective treatments. And they’re asking – can CBD help fibromyalgia?
Our series on the current state of research into cannabidiol’s medical effectiveness is about to tackle this painful condition. As always, we’re going to see what the doctors say, and what CBD advocates think, and try to see if there’s any consensus on cannabidiol’s ability to lessen the symptoms of fibro.
What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
One of the main reasons it’s so hard to diagnose fibro, let alone treat it successfully, is because the condition has a wide range of symptoms. Some are linked, some aren’t. And beyond widespread pain, no two fibro patients report the exact same symptoms.
When you see the list of fibromyalgia symptoms listed, it’s easy to understand why people are desperate for relief:
- Widespread pain all over the body
- Increased pain sensitivity
- Extreme fatigue
- Muscle stiffness
- Memory and concentration problems (the “fibro-fog”)
- Stomach pain, bloating and IBS
How do you treat such widespread symptoms? Painkillers can exacerbate IBS. Treatments to lessen fatigue can worsen insomnia. And anti-depressants that can clear the fibro-fog can cause a grab-bag of side-effects. So we shouldn’t be surprised that doctors are stumped, prescribing everything from high-strength painkillers, to counselling, to an exercise regime.
But researchers are investigating whether CBD and cannabidiol-based treatments might be the answer when it comes to treating fibromyalgia. So let’s see what they’ve found so far.
What do the Experts Say?
Before you read on, we recommend revisiting our deep dive post on medicinal CBD (link to deep dive), as it’ll explain why it takes so long to accurately test whether a treatment works and be prescribed. Because fibro has no known trigger, the researchers’ jobs become even more difficult, and even more testing needs to be done.
But preliminary research has been undertaken to see whether CBD or hemp-based medicines can treat symptoms associated with fibromyalgia:
The CB2 receptor and its role as a regulator of inflammation (Published 2016)
The pharmalogic and clinical effects of medical cannabis (Published 2013)
Unlike other illnesses, there are very few studies focusing solely on CBD and fibro, although these two studies do show results which researchers believe are promising when it comes to treating various fibro symptoms.
As always you need to remember we’re not doctors and can’t challenge or support the findings. You can read the papers for yourself, or skim our summary here:
- Inflammation plays a key role in fibro pain, and treatments that trigger CB2 receptors may reduce inflammation.
- Cannabidiol has been shown to trigger CB2 receptors in subjects’ endocannabinoid systems
- Most long-term CBD users continue to use cannabidiol to treat chronic pain or arthritis/joint pain.
- Treatments with medical marijuana that’s high in CBD has shown improvements in types of pain, especially muscle pain.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) carries none of the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
Because no studies deal directly with CBD and fibro, we’ve had to look at broader studies, but even these are promising. CBD may in fact treat many symptoms of fibromyalgia by acting as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory, even when psychoactive compounds have been removed.
When it comes to directly asking the question “can CBD help with fibromyalgia,” cannabidiol advocates have been taking a more targeted approach. So let’s see what they have to say.
What do CBD Advocates Say?
Normally when we look at anecdotal evidence, results are slightly encouraging. This time, it’s a little different. The fibro community has championed CBD as their treatment of choice, believing that it’s a far more efficient treatment than other over-the-counter medications:
" I have fibromyalgia and a mother of two it helped me throughout the day and to sleep better."
“Recent studies have shown that our bodies’ natural inflammatory response may play a large part in fibromyalgia. Abnormal levels of interleukins IL-6 and IL-8 were found in the serum and spinal fluid of sufferers.
CBD has been found to reduce inflammation through regulating inflammatory pathways with our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems. Fibromyalgia patients have reported reduced anxiety in addition to reduced pain, which is a common comorbidity of the disease. Anxiety can trigger pain and discomfort and the use of CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety.
It may be only a matter of time before we are just as likely to reach for CBD capsules as we would for ibuprofen."
Various fibromyalgia societies in the UK, USA and Canada have also recommended CBD oils to their members as a potential treatment, so we advise you see what your local fibro support group has to say. But if they’re anything like the groups we’ve heard from, they’ll agree that using cannabidiol has improved their quality of life.
Can CBD Help Fibro?
As we aren’t medical experts, we can’t outright state that CBD will treat your fibro symptoms. But looking at the research and the thoughts of advocates, it does seem like there may be a significant chance that CBD helps relieve some of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
We just can’t say for sure until the medical testing results are in.
Until that happens, it’s important to make up your own mind and do your own research on cannabidiol supplements. If you’d like to try CBD products, we’ll be more than happy to help you. And please do share your experiences with us.
Please note: If you are taking any medication for your fibromyalgia, please talk to your GP before taking new supplements or reducing your existing medication.What do you think? Can CBD help fibromyalgia? Share your experiences with us either in the comments section, or via social media.