Research on CBD for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that causes musculoskeletal pain in addition to:
It mostly affects women, and currently there’s no known cure for the condition. However, treatment options are available that focus on pain management.
CBD has been used to ease chronic pain symptoms and reduce inflammation. It’s presented as an alternative to taking opioid prescriptions which can be addictive.
However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved CBD as a treatment option for fibromyalgia or most other conditions. The CBD-based prescription drug Epidiolex, an epilepsy treatment, is the only CBD product that’s FDA-approved and regulated.Happy St. Patty’s Day – Go Green! Better clothing, better food, better gadgets. Is there anything Hemp can’t do?
There are currently no published studies on fibromyalgia that look at the effects of CBD on its own. However, some research does look at the effects of cannabis, which may contain multiple cannabinoids, on fibromyalgia.
The results have been mixed. More human studies are needed.
A 2009 reviewTrusted Source found that CBD can be used to relieve neuropathic pain. The researchers concluded that cannabinoids such as CBD might be a useful adjunct to other pain medications.
A 2011 study looked at 56 people with fibromyalgia. Most of the participants were women.
Members of the study comprised two groups:
- One group was comprised of 28 study participants who weren’t cannabis users.
- The second group was comprised of 28 study participants who were cannabis users. The frequency of their cannabis use, or the amount of cannabis they used, varied.
Two hours after using cannabis, the cannabis users experienced benefits such as:
- reduced pain and stiffness
- an increase in sleepiness
They also had slightly higher mental health scores than the non-users.
2019 Dutch study
A 2019 Dutch study looked at the effect of cannabis on 20 women with fibromyalgia. Over the course of the study, each participant received four types of cannabis:
- an unspecified amount of a placebo variety, which contained no CBD or THC
- 200 milligrams (mg) of a variety with high amounts of both CBD and THC (Bediol)
- 200 mg of a variety with high amounts of CBD and low amounts of THC (Bedrolite)
- 100 mg of a variety with low amounts of CBD and high amounts of THC (Bedrocan)
The researchers found that the spontaneous pain scores of people using the placebo variety were similar to the spontaneous pain scores of people using some of the non-placebo varieties.
However, Bediol, which is high in CBD and THC, brought relief to a greater number of people than the placebo did. It caused a 30 percent reduction of spontaneous pain in 18 of the 20 participants. The placebo caused a 30 percent reduction of spontaneous pain in 11 participants.
Use of Bediol or Bedrocan, both high-THC varieties, significantly improved pressure pain thresholds when compared to the placebo.
Bedrolite, which is high in CBD and low in THC, didn’t show any evidence of being able to relieve spontaneous or evoked pain.
2019 Israeli study
In a 2019 Israeli study, hundreds of people with fibromyalgia were observed over a period of at least 6 months. Of the participants, 82 percent were women.
The study participants received guidance from nurses before taking medical cannabis. The nurses provided advice on:
- the 14 cannabis strains that were available
- delivery methods
All the participants started with a low dosage of cannabis, and dosages were increased gradually over the course of the study. The median approved dosage of cannabis started at 670 mg a day.
At 6 months, the median approved dosage of cannabis was 1,000 mg a day. The median approved dosage of THC was 140 mg, and the median approved dosage of CBD was 39 mg a day.
The researchers admitted that the study had limitations. For instance, they were only able to follow up with about 70 percent of participants. The use of so many different strains also made it difficult to compare the effects of CBD-rich and THC-rich strains.
However, they still concluded that medical cannabis was a safe and effective treatment for fibromyalgia.
At the beginning of the study, 52.5 percent of participants, or 193 people, described their pain level as high. At the 6-month follow-up, only 7.9 percent of those who responded, or 19 people, reported high levels of pain.
CBD treatment options
If you want to avoid the psychoactive effects of marijuana, you can find CBD products that contain only trace amounts of THC. If you live in a place where recreational or medical marijuana is legal, you can find CBD products that contain higher concentrations of THC.
Although they each have benefits separately, CBD and TCH likely work best when combined. Experts refer to this synergy, or interaction, as the “entourage effect.”
CBD also acts against THC-targeted receptors to reduce the negative effects of marijuana, such as paranoia and anxiety.
You can consume CBD in a number of ways, including:
- Smoking or vaping. If you want to relieve immediate pain, smoking CBD-rich cannabis is the quickest way to reduce symptoms. Effects can last up to 3 hours. Smoking or vaping allows you to directly inhale CBD from the cannabis plant, absorbing the chemical into your bloodstream and lungs.
- Edibles. Edibles are foods cooked with the cannabis plant, or cannabis-infused oil or butter. It’ll take longer to experience symptom relief, but the effects of edibles can last for up to 6 hours.
- Oil extracts. Oils can be applied topically, taken orally, or dissolved under the tongue and absorbed in mouth tissues.
- Topicals. CBD oils can be infused into topical creams or balms and applied directly to the skin. These CBD products can be an effective option for reducing inflammation and helping with external pain.
There may be respiratory risks to smoking or vaping marijuana. People with asthma or lung conditions shouldn’t use this method.
You should also follow dosage instructions carefully, especially with edibles, to avoid the negative side effects of taking too much.
Cannabidiol (CBD)-what we know and what we don’t
September 24, 2021
- By Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributor
Cannabidiol (CBD) is often covered in the media, and you may see it touted as an add-in booster to your post-workout smoothie or morning coffee. You can even buy a CBD-infused sports bra. But what exactly is CBD? And why is it so popular?
How is cannabidiol different from marijuana, cannabis and hemp?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of marijuana, or manufactured in a laboratory. One of hundreds of components in marijuana, CBD does not cause a “high” by itself. According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
Is cannabidiol legal?
CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status has been in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. In 2018, the Farm Bill made hemp legal in the United States, making it virtually impossible to keep CBD illegal – that would be like making oranges legal, but keeping orange juice illegal.
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What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a long-term, or chronic, condition. It causes symptoms such as:
- musculoskeletal pain, or pain in the muscles and bones
- general fatigue
- sleep and cognitive disturbances
This condition can be hard to understand, even for healthcare professionals. Its symptoms mimic those of other conditions, and there are no tests to definitively confirm a diagnosis. As a result, fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed.
In the past, some healthcare professionals even questioned whether fibromyalgia was real. Today, it’s much better understood.
Around 4 million adults in the United StatesTrusted Source, or around 2 percent, have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Most fibromyalgia cases are diagnosed in females. Most people get diagnosed in middle age, but fibromyalgia can also affect children.
Some of the stigmas that previously surrounded fibromyalgia have eased, but it can still be challenging to treat. Medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
You may also experience remission-type periods in which your pain and fatigue improve.
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