Almost 10 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia, but this chronic pain condition is difficult to treat—and often misunderstood by the physicians and loved ones of those who live with it. If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you’ve likely tried lots of different treatment options to fight this challenging condition and alleviate its painful symptoms. You’ve also probably heard the difficult news that there’s currently no known cure for fibromyalgia. Recently, a new possible treatment has garnered interest in the medical community for its potential to combat the symptoms of fibromyalgia: CBD.
What is Fibromyalgia?
If you’re unfamiliar with fibromyalgia, here’s a brief overview. Fibromyalgia is a complex and chronic pain disorder that causes widespread symptoms throughout the body. Women are more likely than men to have fibromyalgia, and the disorder can affect people of any age. The literal translation of fibromyalgia is “pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons;” while these are the most common symptoms of the disorder, its effects can be far more wide-ranging.
Along with muscular pain, fibromyalgia symptoms can also include fatigue, changes to sleep patterns and cognitive function, stiffness, depression or anxiety, headaches, IBS, and GERD. These symptoms wax and wane and may be intensified by stress. Along with its physical repercussions, fibromyalgia can also affect the mental and social well-being of sufferers, who may feel isolated and depressed by their symptoms.
There’s no specific test for fibromyalgia; it’s generally diagnosed when your doctor identifies a particular combination of relevant symptoms. Usually, your doctor will also do tests to rule out conditions with similar indicators, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
How is Fibromyalgia Usually Treated?
Currently, there’s no cure for fibromyalgia. Most patients find that a multi-faceted approach to treatment is most effective for managing their symptoms and preventing flare-ups of more intense pain. Daily management of fibromyalgia often includes a combination of prescription medications (such as non-narcotic pain relievers and antidepressants), taking steps to improve sleep quality, cognitive behavioral therapy, and physical therapies that range from light exercise like yoga to acupuncture and aromatherapy.
While many patients find a great deal of relief from fibromyalgia using a combination of the techniques above, it can still be challenging to live with the constant possibility of pain and other disruptive symptoms. For those seeking an additional avenue of potential treatment, using CBD oil for fibromyalgia pain presents an exciting new area of opportunity.
How Can I Use CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia?
The use of CBD for fibromyalgia is still a developing avenue of research, but a study from 2016 proposed a unique connection between this disorder and cannabis-derived compounds. The study suggested that fibromyalgia symptoms could be caused by an endocannabinoid deficiency within the body. This deficiency would affect the function of the endocannabinoid system, a network of receptors that controls many physical functions—including pain and inflammation—to help the body achieve and maintain homeostasis. ECS receptors are activated by cannabinoids, natural compounds like CBD found in the cannabis plant, leading to the hypothesis that CBD could offer significant relief for fibromyalgia sufferers whose symptoms are caused by poor endocannabinoid function. The study concluded that “clinical data have also produced evidence for decreased pain, improved sleep, and other benefits to cannabinoid treatment,” a promising statement for those seeking relief from the effects of fibromyalgia.
CBD has also been studied extensively as a potential treatment for many common symptoms of fibromyalgia. The compound has been well researched as a pain reliever, particularly for pain caused by inflammation. CBD can also be beneficial for the treatment of migraines, IBS, and sleep disorders—all common side effects of fibromyalgia.
Finally, many people who suffer from anxiety or stress find CBD remarkably effective. If you experience anxiety due to fibromyalgia, or find that its physical symptoms are triggered by stressful situations, CBD may help to limit stress-induced flare-ups and improve your mental well-being.
What’s the Right CBD Dosage for Fibromyalgia?
Once you’ve decided that CBD may be a beneficial addition to your fibromyalgia treatment plan, you have two things to decide: how you’d like to take this natural compound, and the right dosage for your needs.
Choosing how to take CBD is based largely on personal preference. Many people choose to ingest it in the form of an oil, pill, or gummy. Other patients prefer to vape CBD, and some find it most effective in a topical cream, which can be blended with other soothing substances like menthol to provide additional relief for muscle or joint pain. While edible forms of CBD travel through the entire body via your bloodstream, topicals can be a great choice for targeting stiff or sore muscles in particular areas.
Determining the right CBD dose for fibromyalgia is a process of trial and error for many patients. In general, you should begin with a small dose and work your way up slowly; 5 to 10 mg is often a good initial dosage for those new to CBD. Most products include a recommended daily dose on the packaging, and this can be a great place to start, too.
What Else Should I Know About CBD?
Many first-time CBD users want to know if this cannabis-derived compound can get you high. The simple answer is no. CBD-only products do not have psychoactive effects (avoid any products that contain THC if this is a concern), so they’re safe to use as you go about your daily routine.
If you’re planning to try a CBD oil or topical CBD cream for fibromyalgia, consult with your doctor to rule out any potential interactions with other medications or supplements you’re taking. While the side effects of CBD are rare and generally mild, they may include drowsiness and upset stomach. Your doctor can also help you monitor these side effects if you have any concerns.
If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, life can feel like a rollercoaster of unpredictable symptoms that drastically disrupt your day-to-day routine. While there’s currently no cure for this disorder, the addition of high-quality CBD products to your treatment plan may provide additional relief and help you achieve a better quality of life.
Due to FDA Regulations, we recommend that you do your own research on CBD products. We also suggest that you read the reviews on our website, where our customers record their real-world results of using our products.