Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in cannabis. Unlike THC which is a psychoactive compound, CBD doesn’t cause intoxication or make you high.
CBD is said to activate serotonin receptors and it plays a role in:
According to recent studies, CBD oil also helps ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and can possibly prevent symptoms of psychosis to some extent. Benefits like these are what make CBD a fascinating alternative treatment for pain disorders like fibromyalgia.
CBD for fibromyalgia is thought to be an alternative choice for those who are thinking about going out of the box and trying something different than the standard pain medications.
In addition to fatigue, insomnia, and cognitive issues, fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that causes musculoskeletal pain. Mostly, it affects women and until now there’s no known cure for this condition. However, available treatment options are mostly focused on pain management.
CBD has been used to relieve chronic pain and alleviate inflammation. Furthermore, it is presented as an alternative to pain medication like opioid which is highly addictive. The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved CBD for fibromyalgia, but Epidiolex which is a prescription drug for epilepsy treatment is the only CBD product that is approved and regulated by the FDA.
Currently there are no published studies on fibromyalgia that review the effects of CBD on its own, but some research does look at the effects of cannabis on this chronic pain disorder. Finally the results are mixed and more human studies are required.
A 2009 review claims that CBD can be used to ease neuropathic pain. The researchers concluded that CBD can be helpful along with other pain medications.
A 2011 study looked at 56 participants with fibromyalgia where most of the people were women. Members of the study formed two groups. One group consisted of 28 people who were not cannabis users. On the other hand, the other group consisted of 28 active cannabis users. A couple of hours after using cannabis, cannabis users observed benefits such as reduced pain and increased sleepiness. In addition to that, they had higher mental health scores than non-users.
A 2019 Dutch Study looked at the efficacy of CBD for fibromyalgia. There were 20 participants and all of the subjects were women with fibromyalgia. Over the course of study, each of the women received 4 types of cannabis that include:
– An undefined amount of Placebo variety which contained no CBD or THC
– Bediol: 200mg of a variety with high amounts of both CBD and THC
– Bedrolite: 200mg of a variety with high CBD and low THC
– Bedrocan: 100mg of a variety with low CBD and high THC
The researchers found that the spontaneous pain scores of subjects using the placebo variety were as same as the users using some of the non-placebo varieties.
However, Bediol brought relief to a greater number of people. It caused a 30 percent spontaneous pain reduction to 18 of the 20 participants. On the other hand, the placebo caused a 30 percent spontaneous pain reduction to 11 participants.
In comparison with the placebo, Bediol, and Bedrocan both high THC varieties significantly improved pressure pain thresholds to the participants. But Bedrolite didn’t show any evidence of being able to relieve spontaneous or evoked pain.
In a 2019 Israeli study, at least 100 people (82% of the participants were women) with fibromyalgia were observed over a period of 6 months. Participants were guided by the nurses before taking medical cannabis. The nurses provided advice on the 14 available cannabis strains, delivery methods and dosages.
All the participants started with a low dosage and then the dosages were increased progressively over the period of study. The median approved dosage was 670 milligrams of cannabis a day. At six months, the median approved cannabis dosage was 1000 milligrams a day. The median approved THC dosage was 140 milligrams and the median approved CBD dosage was 39 milligrams a day.
The researchers reported that they were only able to follow up with 70 percent of participants and on the other hand, so many types of strains made it difficult to make a comparison between the effects of CBD-rich and THC-rich strains separately.
At the beginning of the study, 52.5% of the participants reported that their pain level was high and after following up for 6 months, only 7.9% of participants reported that no improvement was achieved.
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Researchers are still exploring whether CBD for fibromyalgia is effective or not. Furthermore, a wide range of studies is needed to prove the efficacy of CBD for the treatment of chronic pain disorders. Although there are some success stories, CBD for fibromyalgia is not FDA approved. Moreover, research hasn’t yet shown the long term effect of CBD on the human body. If you are sure to use CBD for fibromyalgia or other types of chronic pain management, consult with a doctor first. They can help you avoid side effects and possible interactions with other medications and treatments you are taking.