CBD for Fibromyalgia: Research, Dosage, & Concerns
CBD is considered a potential treatment option for fibromyalgia. While there is not a lot of research on it, there are few that sound promising. We will consider the use of CBD for fibromyalgia, what the experts say, and the possible benefits.
Also, a lot of people do not have a full grasp of what CBD oil entails. There was some argument about how it works, its legality, and medical use. This made the use of CBD controversial. However, we’ve seen some progress over the recent years following the legality of CBD products.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder characterized by widespread muscle pain, insomnia, fatigue, and cognitive issues. There is no known cure for this disorder, but it’s not a life-threatening illness. The treatment options focus majorly on managing prevailing symptoms, like pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fibromyalgia is more common in women than in men. There is a growing interest in the use of alternative therapies to provide relief from the symptoms. One of these alternatives happens to be CBD.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
- Pain all over the body
- Anxiety and depression
- Difficulties with memory, thinking, and concentration
And, What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, CBD, is a chemical present in cannabis plants. There are hundreds of these compounds, called cannabinoids, and CBD is one of the well-known. Another well-known compound is THC. CBD, unlike THC, is not psychoactive. That means it will not get you high. Growers use different mechanisms that focus on either higher THC or CBD levels. Hemp, which is a variety of cannabis, is richer in CBD than THC. Most CBD oils are generally from hemp.
The CBD interaction with the human body has a lot of potential medical uses. There are also many CBD success stories from people who use it for different purposes. But are these claims based on scientific facts? From a scientific perspective, CBD is a possible treatment option. One of its strongest evidence is in treating seizures in certain types of epilepsy.
People use CBD for fibromyalgia and a wide range of other medical purposes. Some of these include:
- Chronic pain
- Seizures in children
- Anxiety and depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
Currently, there is no FDA-approved CBD oil for the treatment of these conditions. And, this is because researches are still at the infant stage. The legal restrictions in place before 2018 made it difficult to study the medical benefits of cannabis. The only CBD-based drug approved by the FDA is epidiolex. It’s a prescription drug used in treating epilepsy.
How Can CBD Help With Fibromyalgia?
According to recent studies, CBD eases the symptoms of depression. It’s also a potential treatment option for pain and sleep problems. Its benefits in these conditions are what makes it an alternative treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms.
People with fibromyalgia often experience pain, sleep disruptions, anxiety, and depression. So, CBD can help alleviate these symptoms. There is no specific investigation on the use of cbd interaction CBD oil for fibromyalgia. But, there are studying the effects of medical cannabis as an effective treatment option for this ailment.
Researches and Studies Done on CBD for Fibromyalgia
As we said earlier, there are no published researches on CBD and fibromyalgia. The studies are on the effects of cannabis on fibromyalgia, not CBD alone. Cannabis has several other cannabinoids or compounds. There is also a need for more human studies because of mixed results from the investigations.
In 2009, a review on the analgesic potential of cannabinoids found that CBD could be used to relieve neuropathic pain. The studies demonstrated that cannabinoids are useful adjuncts to analgesic drugs. Also, they could act as rescue treatment options when opioids are ineffective.
A 2011 study examined 56 people who had fibromyalgia. The participants were divided into two groups:
The first group comprised 28 participants who were not cannabis users. The second group were 28 of the participants who used cannabis. The people in the second group took different amounts of cannabis in different frequencies.
After two hours of taking cannabis, these changes were recorded in the second group:
- Reduced pain and stiffness
- Increased sleep quality
- Higher mental scores than non-cannabis users
2019 Dutch Study
A 2019 Dutch study investigated the effect of cannabis on women with fibromyalgia. There were 20 women involved in this study. Each of them received four types of cannabis during this research:
- An unspecified amount of placebo, which contained neither CBD nor THC
- 200mg of cannabis variety with high CBD amount and low THC (Bedrolite)
- 200mg of a cannabis variety with high amounts of CBD and THC (Bediol)
- 100mg of a cannabis variety with a low amount of CBD and high amount of THC (Bedrocan)
Researchers found that the spontaneous pain scores of people who took the placebo were comparable to those who took non-placebo varieties. Nevertheless, Bediol, which contains high CBD and THC, offered more relief than the placebo did. There was about a 30% reduction of pain in 18 out of 20 women. Meanwhile, the placebo brought a 30% reduction of spontaneous pain in 11 women.
Also, the researchers found that the use of Bediol or Bedrocan, which are high in THC, improved the threshold of pressure pain. This improvement is significant when you compare it with the placebo. Conversely, Bedrolite, which contains high CBD and low THC, didn’t cause any reduction in either spontaneous or evoked pain.
2019 Israeli Study
A 2019 Israeli study observed about a hundred people with fibromyalgia over a long period – a minimum of 6 months. 82% of the subjects in this fibromyalgia research were women. The participants had low amounts of cannabis at the beginning of this study. The dosage, however, increased as days went by up to 1000mg per day. The median dose for CBD was 39mg a day, while THC was 140. The researchers had difficulties monitoring all the participants. So, they followed up only about 70%.
By the end of the six months, they concluded that cannabis was a safe and effective treatment option. This study couldn’t investigate THC or CBD for fibromyalgia independently. They used different strains, which made the comparison difficult.
What do the Experts Suggest?
Dr. George Habib is co-author of a 2018 review study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. He investigated medical cannabis as a treatment option for fibromyalgia. According to him, “the impression (from the study) was that this type of medication is more effective than pregabalin and duloxetine.”
Dr. George believes that cannabis offers hope for people with fibromyalgia. He also pointed out that the patients in the study took extracts containing both CBD and THC.
Another expert, Dr. Ginevra Liptan, is the director of The Frida Center for Fibromyalgia. She is also the author of The FibroManual: A Complete Fibromyalgia Treatment Guide for You and Your Doctor. According to Ginevra, many of her patients report relief from muscle tension, pain, anxiety and insomnia. They experience these results when they combine CBD oil with their traditional medications. She also highlighted that CBD for fibromyalgia is effective when you combine it with THC.
Dr. Ginevra also noted that the level of relief patients get varies, from one patient to the other. For some, they notice only a mild relief, while the other report significant improvements.
What About the Dosage: How Do You Take CBD For Fibromyalgia?
There is currently no standard dosage for fibromyalgia. The dose of CBD for fibromyalgia varies from one patient to the other. And that is because people respond differently to substances.
The general advice when using CBD for fibromyalgia is to start low and go slow. Begin with the smallest available dose for the product you’re using. Then, gradually increase by 5mg to 10mg until you get your optimal dosage. By using this method, you can monitor how your system reacts to the intake of CBD. You also get to prevent some side effects, like dry mouth.
Are There Any Concerns While Using CBD Products?
CBD is a safe substance to use. It’s well-tolerated and has few side effects even when you use a high dosage. These side effects of cbd are often mild if you experience them. They include:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
Unlike other treatment options, like opioids, studies suggest that CBD doesn’t build a tolerance. Also, note that most research on the side effects of CBD focuses on pure CBD oils that do not contain any synthetic additives.
Lastly, CBD can interact with other drugs. You need to be cautious if you are on any medications or about to start one.
Some Thoughts about the Legal Factors
The legality of CBD depends on many factors, majorly federal and state laws and the percentage of THC in the product. After the 2018 Farm Bill classified hemp as an agricultural product. And this made hemp and hemp-derived products legal on a federal level. Products that fall under hemp-derived must not contain more than 0.3% THC.
Regardless of federal laws, some states have specific laws that regulate hemp products. You can always check your state laws if you are not sure of the regulations guiding the use of hemp.
CBD is a potential alternative for people with fibromyalgia. Though there is a lack of conclusive evidence to prove this, studies and anecdotal evidence look promising. The benefits of CBD or hemp for fibromyalgia may include reducing chronic pain, improve sleep quality, and treat anxiety and depression. There is no standard recommended dosage. However, experts always advise that you start from the smallest dose and gradually increase it. Be sure to discuss with your doctor first before using CBD as a treatment option. That way, you can avoid possible drug interactions and side effects.