Did you know that fibromyalgia is the second most common condition affecting the bones and muscles. It affects approximately 2-4% of of Americans (that’s equal to as many as 12 million), and while it affects both men and women, approximately 90% of fibromyalgia sufferers are female.
Those are huge numbers! And while there are several pharmaceuticals on the market, many are looking for more natural methods for relief of the symptoms. So, with growing research, what do we know about CBD for fibromyalgia? Is it a viable alternative for treatment?
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects your bones and muscles, and it’s characterized by pain. And that pain is usually felt all over.
What causes it? Unfortunately, doctors are still not really sure what causes fibromyalgia. Sometimes physical trauma can lead to its development. Other times stress or an infection may be the cause. And other times it may have to do with other musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis.
Because fibromyalgia can feel similar to osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis, doctors can misdiagnose it. That said, one of the most evident symptoms is that, rather than hurting in a specific area, the pain and stiffness may be felt throughout your entire body.
Other symptoms can include:
- Interrupted sleep
- Memory loss
- Difficulty focusing/concentrating
- Belly pain, bloating, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea
- Dry mouth
- Sensitivity to cold, heat, light, or sound
- Numbness or tingling in your face, arms, hands, legs, or feet
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for fibromyalgia. As we mentioned, there are a variety of meds that can help control symptoms, and experts also suggest exercise, relaxation, and stress-reduction may help as well.
But what about CBD for fibromyalgia? Can we add it to the list?
CBD for Fibromyalgia
Based on other research into pain in general, we know that the pain-relieving effects of CBD may be explained by how it interrupts the nerve pathways that send signals of pain between your brain and your body.
Then of course you have CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce heat and swelling and reduce pain.
But that’s just pain overall, not fibromyalgia pain specifically.
Anecdotally, there is a great deal of evidence that supports the effectiveness of CBD for fibromyalgia. As for empirical evidence, what we know so far comes from a smattering of studies that look more at medical cannabis in general, rather than CBD specifically. With that said, what these studies tell us is promising.
These studies do, however, almost all mention CBD as being a key element, noting that together, THC and CBD work well as a combined method of treatment.
Additionally, we can look to a 2016 study which suggests that a lack of endocannabinoids may be behind chronic pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia. Since we know CBD may correct this deficiency, this might help explain why people are finding relief.
More Research Needed?
Do we need to see more research? Undeniably! Honestly, we can never have enough!
Like so many other conditions, because of the lack of research, it’s hard to definitively state whether CBD for fibromyalgia is the answer to the chronic pain, at least from an empirical standpoint.
Hopefully, with more funding being dedicated to CBD research and a growing understanding of the endocannabinoid system, we will see more results in the years to come.