Fibromyalgia & CBD Oil: Research, Benefits, and Finding the Right Product
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you’ll understand how difficult it is to treat this mysterious disease. Because fibromyalgia isn’t fully understood, it’s been impossible to find a definitive cure. Luckily, CBD oil may be able to help.
While studies on CBD oil and fibromyalgia are limited, currently available CBD oil research suggests it may be effective in reducing the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
This chronic pain condition is believed to be the result of physically or emotionally traumatic events that alter the sufferer’s brain chemistry. These changes in the brain impact the way pain signals are sent throughout the central nervous system—two areas believed to be impacted by CBD oil.
Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia
CBD oil is well understood to have analgesic (pain-reducing) and anti-inflammatory properties. Combined with its mood-elevating effects, CBD oil presents a well-rounded option for fibromyalgia treatment.
While CBD oil is already used by many fibromyalgia patients, the most common treatment plans usually involve some combination of pain relievers, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, nerve pain medications, talk therapies, and lifestyle changes.
There are some downsides to the standard treatment method. Taking pain relievers and antidepressants specifically is not an ideal long-term solution, especially given the detrimental effects that can be experienced with prolonged use. Chronic use of over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen can lead to stomach issues, ulcers, and even cardiovascular problems if taken in high doses. Long-term use of antidepressants can lead to side effects like sexual problems, feeling emotionally numb, weight gain, and withdrawal issues.
And while muscle relaxants may provide some relief, it’s not recommended that they be taken for more than a few weeks, as there’s little evidence to suggest their effectiveness beyond a short-term treatment schedule. As far as traditional fibromyalgia treatment methods go, nerve pain medications like Lyrica seem to present the most hope, but still can yield side effects like drowsiness, edema, and constipation.
Additionally, some suggested lifestyle changes for fibromyalgia patients, such as increased exercise, can be difficult to achieve because of the chronic muscle pain brought on by the disease.
CBD oil is a more natural and gentler alternative to the medications traditionally prescribed for treating fibromyalgia. Cannabidiol (CBD) is being widely studied for its beneficial effects on pain and mood without the risk for addiction or adverse side effects. Because of its promising pain relieving, anti-inflammatory, and mood boosting qualities, CBD oil may be able to replace or complement the medications you’re taking for fibromyalgia, while also making suggested lifestyle changes more achievable.
How to Use CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia
How you choose to use CBD oil to treat fibromyalgia will depend on what symptoms you are looking to treat. But before you do anything, speak to your doctor about using CBD oil. While cannabidiol is generally considered safe with very limited side effects, it can interact with certain medications, including antidepressants.
Once you have the “all clear” from your physician, you’ll need to decide which CBD product(s) you’d like to use. CBD oil vapes, drops, and capsules are some of the most popular and convenient ways to take CBD oil, but they are all a little bit different.
Of all the different CBD oil delivery methods, CBD vape products produce effects the fastest. Because the CBD does not have to pass through the digestive system and is absorbed directly through the lungs, the results are near instant. CBD vape oils are best for sudden and unexpected fibromyalgia flare-ups. The effects of CBD vapes are relatively short-lived, typically lasting 30 minutes to an hour. If you are new to CBD oil or to vaping, it can be difficult to get the dosage right at first: an inhale for one person will not be the same as an inhale for another. It may take some experimenting to find your ideal CBD vape dosage.
As far as dosage goes, CBD oil capsules, tinctures, and drops, are easier to manage for people who are new to CBD. Capsules provide the most consistent dose and can easily be worked into your current treatment regimen. CBD oil drops and tinctures allow for easy adjustment of dosage if you’re not yet sure how much CBD is right for managing your fibromyalgia. While these methods are great for CBD dosage control, they can take longer to take effect than CBD vapes.
CBD oil capsules have to pass through the digestive tract and be broken down for absorption. This means it can take up to an hour before the effects are experienced, though you’ll likely feel the benefits of a capsule (or edible) for at least 4-6 hours. CBD oil drops are absorbed into the bloodstream through the thin skin under the tongue, usually showing effects within 30 minutes. The benefits of CBD oils drops and tinctures typically last 2-4 hours, but this time can vary depending on your age, weight, and metabolism.
For treating specific areas of fibromyalgia pain, you might consider using a CBD oil topical, like a lotion, salve, or gel. With this format, the CBD is absorbed through the skin and works in a highly localized manner. CBD oil topicals can be slow to take effect, but the benefits last for hours.
The CBD oil that is best for treating fibromyalgia will be up to you. You may even find a combination of products works best. Maybe you supplement daily with CBD capsules or a CBD tincture for consistent, cumulative relief and use a CBD vape oil for pain flare-up, and/or a topical for targeted relief. You get to craft your own CBD regimen according to your needs.
CBD Oil Dosage
When it comes to CBD dosage for fibromyalgia, it can be difficult to get things right at first. There is no single, universal dose for CBD oil because everyone processes it differently. For this reason, it is best to start with the lowest serving suggestion listed on your CBD product and adjusting up or down as needed from there. For advice and tips on how to get the dose right, check out our dosage guide or speak with a naturopathic doctor.
If you’re looking for a quick starting point of reference though, we at CBD Oil Review have reviewed hundreds of products and come up with the following serving suggestion:
The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25 mg of CBD taken twice daily.
If you aren’t seeing results, try increasing your dosage by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until you’ve found equilibrium.
Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil to Treat Fibromyalgia
While research on using CBD oil to treat fibromyalgia is limited, the studies performed so far examining cannabidiol’s effect on fibromyalgia's most common and troubling symptoms is promising.
CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia Pain
The pain associated with fibromyalgia is perhaps one of the things that CBD oil can relieve most effectively.
CBD oil affects the body’s endocannabinoid system, directly and indirectly impacting the way pain is perceived. There are a number of ways in which this occurs; the two most understood being CBD’s interaction with glycine receptors and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, both of which are involved in the experience of pain.
While the origins of fibromyalgia remain unclear, small fiber neuropathy has been discovered in people with the condition, suggesting that neuropathy may actually play a role in the experience of fibromyalgia-related pain.
Glycine receptors are inhibitory receptors located in the central nervous system that play a significant role in pain perception. In a study conducted on rodents, CBD was found to reduce the experience of “chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain” by potentiating these receptors. As nerve pain is one of the more difficult fibromyalgia symptoms to treat, these findings hold significant promise for the future.
CB2 cannabinoid receptors are found primarily outside of the central nervous system and play a significant role in regulating immune responses, including inflammation. In conditions like fibromyalgia that involve a complicated combination of issues, mitigating an inflammatory response by using CBD oil may relieve some of the pain and tenderness experienced by sufferers.
A study on neuropathic pain by the University of California investigated the potential of vaporized cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceutical treatment. The results showed that cannabis scored similarly in pain relief to two of the most commonly prescribed drugs in terms of its analgesic properties. Because CBD oil does not carry the same side effects as many prescribed medications, nor does it have the intoxicating effects of THC, it provides a well-tolerated option for fibromyalgia pain.
CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia Related Depression
Depression is a common symptom of fibromyalgia, and while it does not affect all diagnosed patients, it is a common trait in any chronic illness. CBD oil has been shown to improve mood and motivation through its impact on anandamide, adenosine, and serotonin levels.
Anandamide, also called the “bliss molecule,” is a feel-good neurotransmitter that is responsible for motivation and feelings of happiness. CBD oil inhibits the reuptake of anandamide, allowing it to circulate through the brain in larger quantities, decreasing the effects of depression.
CBD oil is also a reuptake inhibitor of adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that produces relaxing, anti-inflammatory, and sleep-promoting effects. Similar to its effect on anandamide, CBD oil may help to reduce an anxious mood by allowing more of this neurotransmitter to remain in circulation.
Serotonin is the neurotransmitter perhaps most commonly associated with the experience of depression. Low levels of this mood-regulating neurotransmitter have been linked to depression for decades. Some of the most common medical treatments for depression are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications block the reuptake of serotonin, increasing the amount of it available in the body. CBD oil can work in a way that is similar to SSRIs. By acting as an agonist on the serotonin receptor called 5-HT1A, CBD has been shown to quickly and effectively raise serotonin levels in the brain, producing promising antidepressant effects.
Best CBD Oils for Treating Fibromyalgia
In order to find the best CBD oil for fibromyalgia, you need to know what to look for. Here are some tips to help you buy the most suitable and high-quality CBD products:
- Check the THC content. In order to be legal in the majority of U.S. states, CBD oil must be derived from industrial hemp and have a THC content of 0.3% or below. Products with higher levels of THC are only legal to purchase in states that allow recreational use of cannabis. Find the laws specific to cannabis and CBD in your state here.
- Buy organic. Whenever possible, look for a product that is sourced from organic hemp. This will ensure that your product is clean and free from harmful chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides.
- Read the ingredients. Look for a product that has as few ingredients as possible. Typically, a CBD oil will contain CBD, a carrier oil like hemp seed oil or coconut (MCT) oil, and terpenes or natural flavoring. If the CBD product you are looking at has lots of extra ingredients or artificial additives, take a pass.
- Look for Certificates of Analysis (COAs): Brands should be testing their products in an independent laboratory and posting the results in a Certificate of Analysis. A COA will tell you the exact chemical makeup of your CBD product and allow you to verify its purity, potency, and safety.
If fibromyalgia is becoming intolerable for you or someone you love, it may well be time to consider the ways CBD oil can help.
People who suffer from this condition may also be interested in these related articles:
- How to Talk to Your Doctor About CBD Oil
- CBD Oil For Pain Relief: How It Works and What You Should Know
- Insomnia and CBD Oil: A Better Night’s Sleep
- Depression and CBD Oil: Benefits, Effectiveness, and Dosage
- Is CBD Oil Legal In My State?