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Health & Diet Tips

Can You Use CBD for Fibromyalgia Pain?

People with fibromyalgia can feel like they’re required to learn to live with the pain because there is no other choice. What’s more, patients often have an uphill battle even receiving a fibromyalgia diagnosis. And, once they do, it’s common they’re sent home from the doctor's office with prescriptions that address the fibromyalgia symptoms but not necessarily the symptoms’ root causes. 

Fibromyalgia treatments, such as neuropathic medications, nerve and pain medications, and antidepressants do work to some degree, and physical exercise has strong evidence as a means of finding relief for fibromyalgia symptoms3. But still, fibromyalgia pain can feel relentless and leave patients seeking additional, alternative means to alleviate it. 

So, can CBD relieve fibromyalgia pain? First, let’s start with the basics. 


What is Fibromyalgia? 

Fibromyalgia (FM) or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a complex musculoskeletal disorder characterized by widespread pain that can present as sharp and dull in ache with amplified pain sensations. Fibromyalgia is estimated at 2%–4% in the general population and is more common in women than in men1

In addition to pain, fibromyalgia symptoms can also include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, issues with memory (“brain fog”), and mood irregularities2. Research suggests the nervous system is involved in causing fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia symptoms can mimic autoimmune disease symptoms, but it is not considered an autoimmune or inflammatory condition. 

What is Cannabidiol (CBD)? 

Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD, is an active chemical found within Cannabis sativa, a cannabis plant. CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a mind-altering effect. Popular CBD products – like oils, supplements, food, and drink – are made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and diluting it with oil. CBD can be taken orally, inhaled, or applied to the skin. 

Can you use CBD for fibromyalgia pain relief and symptoms? 

Historically, cannabis has been used for pain and insomnia conditions. While cannabis use is not risk-free, recent advancements in strain isolation have allowed for further investigation into the potential pain-management properties of the plant. Cannabis strains with CBD are nearly psychoactive-free and continue to demonstrate pain-related symptom alleviation3

According to a large-scale survey on CBD use among fibromyalgia patients, routine and physician-guided use of CBD products showed success as a tool for widespread fibromyalgia symptom reduction and fibromyalgia pain management5. In another study6, CBD led to decreased joint stiffness and muscle ache, and increased sleepiness. This combination of effects on musculoskeletal pain is believed to help with chronic sleep disturbances related. 

What are some tips for using CBD for fibromyalgia? 

CBD products are increasingly accessible and can now be found not only in dispensaries but also in health food stores and online shops. I recommend thinking of CBD as a subtly powerful, plant-based, anti-inflammatory, therapeutic tool. Here are some things to consider if you try to use CBD for fibromyalgia pain relief: 

  1. Give the CBD time to work for your fibromyalgia symptoms.
    As with most plant and herbal medicinals, single-use of CBD products will provide subtle, short-term relief. Most studies point to consistent use of oral supplementation for systemic, long-term benefits from CBD. To determine the benefit of CBD for your fibromyalgia, begin by supplementing nightly for two weeks to six months6. Note that dosage and the type of CBD will cause the speed of effectiveness to vary.
  2. Use a high-quality CBD product for your fibromyalgia symptoms.
    Like other global produce, hemp can be subject to pesticide and herbicide use. The quality of CBD, and therefore its effectiveness for fibromyalgia pain or other symptoms, could be affected by chemical exposure, extreme weather endurance, and poor plant nutrition. Always consider the quality of the CBD before it’s purchased, whether it’s topical or oral.
  3. Make it easy to consume or apply CBD for your fibromyalgia symptoms.
    CBD is a fat-soluble property which means that it is not easily digested and absorbed in our bodies. To assist in digestion and absorption, combine oral forms of CBD with a healthy fat (like extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil) or with a fatty snack. Tincture and water-soluble forms of CBD are also good options for ready absorption.
  4. Talk to your doctor about CBD for your fibromyalgia symptoms.
    Using CBD to manage your fibromyalgia symptoms is a topic worthy of discussion with your primary care physician (PCP). Talking with your PCP has the added benefit of creating communication among your medical team and allows your doctor to guide you in your use of CBD for fibromyalgia as they would best recommend. 

Which CBD products should I try to help my fibromyalgia pain? 

Mymee coaches always recommend you work with your doctor to determine what type of CBD supplement form is right for you. If you and your doctor are looking for products to consider, the following brands are the choices of the Mymee Care team: 

  • Charlotte’s Webb: A Certified B Corporation, this earth- and plant-conscious CBD company offers oil, topicals, gummies, and capsules. 
  • Sun Soil: Organically grown in Vermont, Sunsoil uses the whole plant across the line and organic coconut oil in its soft gels. They are entirely third-party tested for quality assurance. 
  • Ojai Energetics: This company prides itself on the use of cutting-edge science to convert CBD into a water-soluble tincture. While this product is more costly, consumers claim to experience results in under a minute, compared to the average thirty.      

Fibromyalgia is a widely impacting and complex condition. It is important to note that no one tool can act as the key to alleviating or eliminating fibromyalgia and fibromyalgia symptoms. Mymee approaches all autoimmune and autoimmune-like conditions by treating the body from the ground up with a functional medicine approach. A nutritious diet, a regulated digestive system, and positive sleep hygiene alongside the use of CBD can make CBD a useful tool. 

If you or a loved one need assistance in identifying and eliminating triggers for fibromyalgia symptoms, get in touch with a Mymee health coach for more support. 

References: 

[1] Diagnostic Criteria for Fibromyalgia: Critical Review and Future Perspectives. J Clin Med. 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230253/

[2] Fibromyalgia—Symptoms and causes. (2021, October 26). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354780

[3] Berger, A. A., Keefe, J., Winnick, A., Gilbert, E., Eskander, J. P., Yazdi, C., Kaye, A. D., Viswanath, O., & Urits, I. (2020). Cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Best Practice & Research. Clinical Anaesthesiology, 34(3), 617–631. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1521689620300781?via%3Dihub

[4] Johnson, C. (2021, October 27). Study Shows That Fibromyalgia is a Post-infectious Disease Too. Health Rising. https://www.healthrising.org/blog/2021/10/27/fibromyalgia-post-infectious-disease/

[5] D’Agnelli, S., Arendt-Nielsen, L., Gerra, M. C., Zatorri, K., Boggiani, L., Baciarello, M., & Bignami, E. (2018). Fibromyalgia: Genetics and epigenetics insights may provide the basis for the development of diagnostic biomarkers. Molecular Pain, 15, 1744806918819944. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1744806918819944

[6] Boehnke, K. F., Gagnier, J. J., Matallana, L., & Williams, D. A. (2021). Cannabidiol Use for Fibromyalgia: Prevalence of Use and Perceptions of Effectiveness in a Large Online Survey. The Journal of Pain, 22(5), 556–566. https://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(20)30117-6/fulltext

[7] CBD for Fibromyalgia: Research, Treatment, Side Effects & More. (2017, December 1). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-for-fibromyalgia

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