A feeling like your entire body is on fire.
These are what people with Fibromyalgia deal with on a daily basis.
Approximately 10 million Americans have Fibromyalgia and 80-90% of them are women. This condition can occur in people of all ages, even in children. There is no cure for fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is not a new condition.
Doctors in the early 1800s called it “muscular rheumatism” and described its symptoms as stiffness, aches, pains, tiredness, and difficulty sleeping.
But despite this, we are no closer to determining the exact cause of Fibromyalgia.
Diagnosis is based on symptoms described by the patient including tenderness, fatigue, and changes in overall functionality and well-being.
There are no lab tests for FMS but a doctor may order it to rule out co-existing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Different people describe varying intensity of symptoms, the most prevalent of which are:
Other commonly reported symptoms include:
Related symptoms are often worsened by stress.
Since there is no cure for FMS, pharmaceuticals, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and gentle exercises are recommended to manage and get relief from the symptoms.
Although CBT and exercises are good options, pharmaceuticals or drugs often prescribed for Fibromyalgia come with several side effects that include dizziness, nausea, fatigue/drowsiness, dry mouth, hypertension, difficulty concentrating, swelling, weight gain and the tendency to have suicidal thoughts.
If one is taking other medications for another existing condition, the fibro drugs may interact with these.
These adverse effects are the main reasons why people with FMS seek out alternative treatment to get relief from their condition.
And this alternative comes in the form of CBD oils.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound that has been found to have a lot of medical benefits. CBD counteracts the psychoactivity of the more popular cannabis compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
CBD appeals to people who are looking for relief from pain, inflammation, anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures and feelings of lethargy, without the high.
When you take CBD, it makes its way to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
This system regulates pain, inflammation, sleep, the immune system, appetite, mood, and reproduction.
The ECS is very complex and has receptors throughout the brain and body.
CBD, although it’s a cannabinoid, does not directly interact with these receptors; it merely affects the signals between them.
This is part of the reason why CBD is non-intoxicating, unlike THC which directly interacts with the receptors.
Apart from cannabidiol’s indirect influence on the receptors, this cannabinoid can also boost the levels of endocannabinoids by inhibiting the enzymes that break them down.
This results in much improved function of the endocannabinoid system.
Hundreds of CBD-related studies have been conducted and more are still on-going in institutions here and abroad.
All these studies contribute to the increasing understanding and acceptance of CBD.
Through these studies, we now know that cannabidiol can help manage epilepsy, reduce high blood pressure, that it has potential healing effect on alcoholic liver diseases, how it may reduce brain damage and improve recovery after stroke, and other breakthroughs.
But only a few studies have looked at the effectiveness of CBD in managing FMS.
Researchers are still baffled as to why this cannabinoid can reduce some symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Another thing that confuses them is why CBD works in some people suffering from this syndrome and not in others.
A study conducted in 2016 suggested that the decrease in endocannabinoids in the body may be the root cause of chronic pain syndromes like fibromyalgia.
And since CBD is known to boost the function of ECS – including its ability to produce endocannabinoids – using CBD oils can help with management of FMS symptoms.
Despite the lack (for now) of solid studies backing the effectiveness of CBD oils for fibromyalgia, there are many stories shared by fibro sufferers telling us how CBD has helped with their symptoms.
Carrie Anton who has a column at Fibromyalgia News Today shared her experience after taking CBD oil for her FMS pain. “After just three days, I’m noticing a reduction in my pain levels. I also slept for more than seven hours in one night for the first time in months. I took some about 6 a.m. before work and made it the whole eight hours without pain, which is highly unusual for me. I feel less anxious than usual.”
Donna Gregory also shares her experience on her fibromyalgia blog. “When I received my oil, I used it sublingually every 6-8 hours. I was surprised by what happened over the next 24 hours. After my third dose of CBD oil I noticed the pain in my lower extremities greatly reduced. I continued putting the drops under my tongue for the next week and as I did so, it relieved the majority of my pain. I have other fibro friends who report similar results.”
Redditor SeitanIsland also shared how CBD helps them manage their symptoms; “I have fibromyalgia. Started taking CBD over a year ago after reading an article about how it helps Morgan Freeman manage his fibro symptoms. One of the best decisions for my health I have made. It’s is the only thing that has helped me. I know I will never be cured, and eliminating flare ups is impossible, but CBD has greatly helped me to manage symptoms better than ever. Prior to taking CBD my doctor prescribed me Cymbalta and I had a very negative experience on it – depression for the first time in my life, excessive sweating, constant lethargy. I was in a constant fog and have little memory of those few months. Vowed after that to never take another pharmaceutical to manage my condition. Suffered awfully for months after that until I finally found CBD. CBD then got me well enough to start getting into yoga, which also has helped tremendously. I wish more people with fibro knew about CBD, I wish I knew sooner!!”
If you do your own research, you will find numerous other stories about how CBD oil has helped with fibromyalgia.
But remember that everyone is different, so you will also encounter accounts that say CBD had not been able to help their FMS. The only way for you to find out if CBD works or not, is to try it.
It should be noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found some companies who were selling hemp oils that do not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain. Some bottles do not contain any cannabinoids at all. The FDA has issued warning letters to these companies. You can check who these firms are on the FDA’s page.
This might explain why some fibro sufferers say the oil was ineffective – they might have purchased oils that have little or no CBD.
Make sure that you check out the FDA’s report and find out which brands to avoid.
Everyone reacts differently to CBD oil and serving size varies for each person.
The best thing to do is start small and gradually increase dosage until you get the desired result.
Perhaps start with 25mg twice a day and increasing dosage by 25mg every 3 to 4 weeks until you experience relief.
In case you observe any worsening of symptoms, decrease your CBD oil dosage.
Most fibro patients that take CBD oils do so through sublingual drops as it has been found that the cannabinoid takes effect relatively quickly this way. Hold the drops under your tongue for 60-90 seconds to allow the cannabidiol to be absorbed in the bloodstream.
If you don’t like drops, capsules, gel caps, topicals and transdermals are also available options.
There are two kinds of CBD oils:
CBD rich marijuana strains are usually available at dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Since these dispensaries are regulated, it is safe to purchase from them.
CBD oils from industrial hemp on the other hand are not regulated and can be bought online at one’s own risk.
Hemp plant is a bio-accumulator which means it absorbs toxins that may be present in the soil where it grows.
Since online hemp CBD oil sellers are not regulated, it could be difficult to know where the hemp source was grown.
It’s important to do a lot of research if you don’t live in a state where medicinal cannabis is legal and your best option is to purchase CBD oil online.
It’s also essential to note the differences between hemp CBD oil and marijuana CBD oil.
Cannabidiol products from hemp contain less than 0.3% THC while products from marijuana contain more than 0.3% THC.
If you have concerns about testing positive to THC on a drug test, then best opt for CBD oil products with very little or 0% THC.
Interestingly though, many medicinal cannabis users claim that a combination of CBD and THC provides the best results for them.
One study in 2006 has determined the same and provided the reasoning behind this: CBD on its own has anti-inflammatory properties, but it also inhibits the negative effects of THC (intoxication, rapid heart rate, sedation). This in turn allows for a higher administration of THC which helps with problems like central pain, spasticity, sleep disturbances, peripheral neuropathic pain, among others.
To get the best out of CBD oil for fibromyalgia, it is recommended to go for full spectrum oils if possible. Full-spectrum products include all naturally-occurring cannabinoids and terpenes from the hemp plant, including legal amounts of THC (less than 0.3%). There is still a chance of testing positive on a drug test, even if the THC content of the oil is less than the legal amount.
If your work frequently does drug tests, it would be best to opt for broad spectrum CBD oils. These still have various other cannabinoids and terpenes that help the CBD act on your symptoms, but without the THC.
In this chart from Leafly.com, you’ll see that the cannabinoids that help best with easing FMS symptoms are CBD, THC and CBN (cannabinol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid).
Quite popular and featured in reputable news outlets including The Wall Street Journal. They offer full spectrum CBD oil tinctures derived from organic, European industrial hemp. Available in 300 mg and 3600 mg. There are two flavors to choose from: cinnamint and natural.
Endoca is a family-run business with a variety of CBD products. THey have 2 varieties of CBD oil tinctures available on their website: CBD Hemp Oil Drops and CBD Raw Hemp Oil Drops. Both of these are gluten-free and non-GMO. Every Endoca CBD Oil product contains omegas, vitamins, minerals, and cannabinoids. CBD Hemp Oil Drops are made with the whole hemp plant, and contains CBD and CBDa that is filtered and heated gently, transforming the CBDa molecules into CBD. CBD Raw Hemp Oils do not go through the same heating process. This means that the CBDa remains intact. Because of this, most people who follow raw food diets prefer the CBD Raw Hemp Oil Drops. Both options are available in medium-strength 300 mg/ml bottles and strong 1500 mg/ml bottles. They offer worldwide delivery, with free shipping for US orders over $74 USD.
Their popular products are water soluble, full-spectrum CBD oil drops that are rich in terpenes. Terpenes are essential oils that are naturally found in plants, vegetables and herbs. They are known to have healing properties and terpenes from cannabis plants have been noted to have useful therapeutic properties. Their tinctures come in THC and THC-free varieties and 150 mg to 900 mg bottles. You can also choose from different flavors including natural, grape, apple, strawberry banana, cinnamon, tutti-frutti, watermelon and others.
Being diagnosed with fibromyalgia is like being sentenced to life imprisonment, with no chance of parole. The symptoms that come with it will be with you for the rest of your life.
Traditional treatment options offer very little hope, with many of the prescribed fibro drugs even potentially exacerbating FMS symptoms. Trying out alternative treatments such as CBD oils is the best way for many fibromyalgia patients to get their much needed and deserved relief. There is no harm in trying this for yourself. Though there is still much to learn about CBD and its efficacy as a pain treatment for fibromyalgia sufferers, there are many information and resources available to you. Combining CBD oils with a healthy lifestyle may work wonders.