CBD is getting a lot of attention nowadays for all the right reasons. Besides being a viable treatment for epilepsy, chronic pain, and a host of other conditions, new research suggests that the compound may also help with curbing fibromyalgia symptoms. Although cannabidiol science is still in its infancy, and we don’t have a lot of data to work with, initial results paint a promising picture.
Despite CBD’s widespread popularity, a lot of people don’t know the underlying science behind the compound. Because of this, there’s a lot of misinformation and confusion. Many people mix the compound with marijuana, which is psychoactive and induces a high. There’s also a lot of tentativeness regarding CBD’s legality — but new developments are steering the compound’s future towards a more understandable future. Let’s discuss one of them: CBD for Fibromyalgia.
What Is CBD Oil?
The main compound of the cannabis plant responsible for causing a high is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Many farmers breed cannabis plants for THC to evoke a greater high. However, this trend is changing with CBD.
CBD is grown from hemp — another member of the cannabis Sativa species. Hemp is different from marijuana in one aspect: it contains high concentrations of cannabidiol and trace amounts of THC.
Hemp-based CBD is being widely used for its therapeutic properties. You can find a lot of anecdotal evidence on public forums like Reddit suggesting that it can improve eyesight and relieve anxiety and help with a lot of similar things.
But, are these claims true? What is the scientific standpoint? And what’s the verdict on CBD and fibromyalgia? Does the compound do any good for people living with this condition?
Today, people are taking CBD for various medical reasons. These include:
- Chronic pain and inflammation
- Pain from glaucoma
- Epilepsy, especially in children3
- Social anxiety disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Movement problems from Huntington’s disease
- Assistance with smoking cessation
- Stopping the growth of cancerous tumors
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first CBD-based pharmaceutical-grade drug called Epidiolex. Epidiolex was introduced as a treatment for two rare forms of epilepsy — Lennox Gastaut and Dravet syndrome. Aside from Epidiolex, the regulatory authority has not greenlit any CBD-based drug.
CBD has various delivery systems. You can take it orally, sublingually, smoke and vape it, or apply a topical CBD cream. The choices are vast and sundry.
Research on CBD and Fibromyalgia
When it comes to fibromyalgia, the research on the subject is dwindling. But, experts speculate that the topic is going to explode in the future.
The US is facing a chronic pain epidemic and fibromyalgia has a big hand behind this. Conventional treatments are ineffective so researchers have targeted their wits at finding a solution that yields better results. Hence, a lot of money is being poured into research regarding CBD and fibromyalgia.
The pain epidemic is also running parallel with an opioid epidemic. Studies have shown that following marijuana legalization, opioid prescriptions reduce. That’s great news for compounds like CBD because these kinds of developments promise safer treatments, less stringent legal controls, and increased incentive to look for solutions to the opioid issue.
CBD oil is touted as a safe and effective treatment for pain and inflammation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the compound has an excellent safety portfolio and has minimal potential for substance abuse.
Lastly, while public opinion isn’t a surefire way of ascertaining a compound’s viability as a treatment, it does hold its weight. You’ll find accounts of many people on Facebook and Reddit swearing that the compound has helped with managing fibromyalgia.
Right now, scientific evidence suggests that CBD relieves:
As these are the significant symptoms of fibromyalgia, there might be some truth to the theory that CBD may help treat the condition.
A 2017 study indicated that cannabidiol can reduce glial cell activity in the central nervous system, contributing to central sensitization. Central sensitization holds paramount importance in fibromyalgia and other chronic fatigue and pain syndromes, such as IBS and Crohn’s.
CBD can also tap into the endocannabinoid system and fill in the void left behind by endocannabinoids. In fibromyalgia, patients have an endocannabinoid deficiency. That’s why some researchers think that cannabis products may provide a promising solution.
Scientific investigation has also found CBD to help fight inflammation. Fibromyalgia isn’t primarily an inflammatory condition, but in some cases, it may be affected by abnormal inflammation in localized tissues called fascia.
That said, you should always use CBD with caution. Whether you’re using the compound for fibromyalgia or some other medical condition, make sure you’re aware of the side effects. These include:
- Changes to liver enzymes used to process drugs
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Increased tremor in Parkinson’s disease, at high doses
Most side effects are mild. The compound is well-tolerated at higher doses, but more research is needed according to the WHO.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
The question remains: Can you use CBD? Fortunately, after the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018, the federal government and many state bodies legalized CBD products for sale. Today, CBD sourced from hemp, and containing less than .3% of THC is legal.
You might have your reservations about using CBD to treat fibromyalgia. Will it work? Is it safe? Am I wasting my time? No matter what the questions, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons and make your decision accordingly.
Cannabidiol is a safe compound, so you don’t have to worry about dosing or experiencing severe side effects. Make sure you’re taking the right dosage to reap the maximum benefits. One thing you should keep in mind is treatment results. For some people, the compound takes only a couple of weeks to show results, while for others, it might take several months. The key is to try CBD for the long haul. If you’re still unsure, consult a holistic CBD doctor.