Fibromyalgia is a disorder known to cause musculoskeletal pain and chronic pain, insomnia, fatigue, and cognitive issues. Women are more commonly affected by Fibromyalgia than men, and unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition at the time of writing this article.
However, there are treatment options available that can help people to deal with the common symptoms of this disorder, particularly the management of chronic pain.
CBD and Fibromyalgia
CBD is well known for its ability to relieve symptoms of chronic pain and reduce inflammation for a number of conditions, including Fibromyalgia. It’s also being welcomed with open arms by people who are sick of being dependent on addictive opioid prescriptions that are addictive and can have a range of negative side-effects.
That said, in the US, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration is yet to officially approve any CBD-based options for the treatment of Fibromyalgia and many other conditions. In fact, one of the only disorders that the administration has approved CBD-derived prescription treatments for is epilepsy.
Epilodex is a CBD-based product currently available on prescription to thousands of epilepsy sufferers and is known to reduce the severity and frequency of seizures.
Right now, there are no published studies that look at the effects of CBD on Fibromyalgia. However, there has been research into the effects of cannabis as a whole on Fibromyalgia.
Cannabis contains many cannabinoids; therefore, further research is needed on fibromyalgia patients and CBD alone in order to test the effectiveness of this compound on treating this disorder.
A review conducted in 2009 revealed that CBD is effective in treating neuropathic pain. The research team concluded that cannabinoids, including CBD, could be a fantastic alternative to prescription pain medications.
A 2011 study worked with at 56 people living with Fibromyalgia. The majority of the participants were women.
Members of the study were split into two groups:
- One group was made up of 28 study participants who didn’t use cannabis.
- Group two was comprised of 28 study participants who were recreational cannabis users. How often they smoked cannabis use or the amount of cannabis they used varied.
Roughly two hours after cannabis use, users experienced benefits to the symptoms associated with their Fibromyalgia, including:
- Decreased levels of pain and stiffness
- A steady increase in sleepiness
Their mental health scores also came out slightly higher than the non-users, perhaps suggesting that cannabis can also alleviate the cognitive impairment associated with Fibromyalgia.
2019 Dutch study
In 2019 a study in The Netherlands reviewed the effects of cannabis on 20 female participants with Fibromyalgia. During the study, each participant was given four different types of cannabis:
- An unspecified amount of placebo variety, which contained no THC or CBD
- 200mg of strain of cannabis containing high amounts of both THC and CBD (Bediol)
- 200 mg of a variety of cannabis with low amounts of THC and high amounts of CBD (Bedrolite)
100 mg of a type of cannabis containing low amounts of CBD and high amounts of THC (Bedrocan)
The study revealed that the pain scores of people that used placebo and non-placebo varieties were pretty similar.
That said, Bediol, which has high concentrations of both THC and CBD, successfully relived pain in more people than the placebo, causing a 30% reduction of pain in 90% of the participants. The placebo caused a 30% reduction in spontaneous levels of pain in 11 of the participants.
Both Bedrocan or Bediol, which both contain large amounts of THC, significantly improved fibromyalgia pressure pain thresholds in comparison to the placebo.
Bedrolite, which is higher in CBD and lower in THC, failed to display any tangible evidence of being able to relieve evoked or spontaneous pain.
2019 Israeli study
In a 2019 Israeli study, over a hundred people with Fibromyalgia were studied over a six-month period. Of all the participants, 82% were female.
All participants received guidance from nursing professionals before using medical cannabis. The nursing staff gave advice on:
The study participants received guidance from nurses before taking medical cannabis. The nurses provided advice regarding:
- the 14 different cannabis strainsthat were available
- The various delivery methods
- The recommended dosages
Each participant began the study with a relatively low dose of cannabis, and dosages increased as the study continued. The median approved dosage was set at 670mg per day at the start of the study.
By the six-month mark, the median approved cannabis dosage was at 1,000mg per day. The median approved dosage of CBD was set at 39mg per day, and the median approved dosage of THC sat at 140mg per day.
Unfortunately, due to limitations, researchers only managed to follow up with roughly 70% of participants. Additionally, the use of multiple strains of cannabis made it hard to draw conclusive results.
That said, the general consensus at the end of the study period was that cannabis is both safe and efficient for treating Fibromyalgia.
At the start of the study, 52.5% of participants, which equated to 193 people, described their pain level as high. After 6-months, only 7.9% of participants that responded, or 19 people, reported that their pain levels were still high.
CBD Treatment Options
For those of you who want to avoid any psychoactive effects of cannabis, there are premium CBD products available that contain only small trace amounts of THC. If you live in a country were medical or recreational marijuana is legal, there are also CBD products with high concentrations of THC available.
Although both cannabinoids have their separate benefits, for Fibromyalgia sufferers, a product or strain of cannabis containing both CBD and THC could be more beneficial. Professionals refer to this synergic interaction as the ‘entourage effect.’
CBD works to counteract the negative effect that THC can produce, including anxiety and paranoia.