Cbd fibromyalgia cbd oil dose for fibromyalgia

How To Use CBD for Fibromyalgia

People suffering from fibromyalgia are finding that cannabis products containing CBD work for treating their symptoms, often with less negative side effects than prescription medications.

Before we look at the research into CBD for fibromyalgia, let’s take a step back and understand what fibromyalgia is.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease characterized by symptoms of chronic pain , insomnia , migraines , fatigue, joint pain, mood issues and symptoms of an irritable bowel. While we don’t know the cause(s) of fibromyalgia, it appears to be a sort of hypersensitivity condition where both painful and non-painful stimuli are perceived as pain.

People with fibromyalgia suffer from an increased sensitivity to pain.

This is thought to be caused by an abnormal functioning of pain signals in the central nervous system.

Commonly used treatments for fibromyalgia are pain relievers like NSAIDs and opioids, acupuncture, muscle relaxants, and sleep aids. Exercise therapy, relaxation techniques and stress-reduction techniques can also be helpful. Recently, the European League Against Rheumatism ( EULAR ) recommended against using NSAIDs.

Some patients are instead opting for CBD products to treat their fibromyalgia.

They are finding that CBD derived from hemp is safer and has fewer side effects than the prescription medications they were previously using.

How does CBD work for fibromyalgia?

While there are many theories about the underlying causes of fibromyalgia, one possibility is that fibromyalgia is one of the conditions caused by an endocannabinoid deficiency or dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Other theories are based in genetics, a history of physical or emotional abuse, hormonal disruptions and other conditions like anxiety and depression that may alter the perception of pain 1 , 2 .

The ECS is a naturally occurring regulatory pathway which plays a role in controlling major systems like the nervous system and the immune system. Overall, a healthy ECS controls sleep, appetite, memory, reproduction, mood and the perception of pain. An endocannabinoid deficiency/dysregulation occurs when a person has a poorly functioning endocannabinoid system, resulting from having abnormal levels of endocannabinoids.

If a person’s body doesn’t produce sufficient amounts or types of endocannabinoids, they may be more sensitive to pain.

Without a sufficient supply or type of endocannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system cannot properly do its job of maintaining balance in the body — and thus it is believed that people with fibromyalgia experience more pain than what is usual.

CBD can potentially help support the endocannabinoid system: one way CBD may do this is by slowing down the body’s natural process of breaking down endocannabinoids 3 .

What are the effects of using CBD for fibromyalgia?

People using hemp-derived CBD for fibromyalgia are reporting the following benefits:

  • Improved mood
  • Pain relief
  • Improved sleep
  • Less inflammation
  • Reduction or cessation of prescription medication and henceforth a decrease in negative side effects

What are the side effects of using CBD for fibromyalgia?

Generally, CBD has few side effects and is well tolerated. However, it can be sedating for some people, especially if it is used in high doses.

Some people have reported fatigue, upset stomach and diarrhea to be additional side effects.

Always start with a low dose of CBD and slowly work your way up.

It’s a good idea to take CBD the first few times in the comfort of your home, when you do not have to drive, in case you do experience some negative side effects.

How should I use CBD for fibromyalgia (What dosage should I use)?

People with fibromyalgia symptoms are finding the best delivery methods to be capsules or sublingual tinctures because of the speed of the effects from these methods—sublingual dosing is a bit faster. Vaping can be used, but you should know that there are potentially risks inhaling these compounds. We just don’t know.

Most CBD products come as either broad-spectrum (which contain no THC) or full-spectrum products, which contain ≤0.3% THC. CBD is non-intoxicating (non-psychoactive) while THC can be psychoactive. If you are concerned about either the legality or the intoxicating nature of a CBD product, it is best to stick with the broad-spectrum CBD products.

If you are completely new to using CBD, it’s always best to start with a low dose of broad-spectrum CBD product and increase the dose very slowly. 5 – 10 mg of CBD is usually the lowest dose—but if you use edibles like gummies, you can cut them in ¼’ s or ½ ‘s to start with.

Increase the CBD dosage as needed until you reach the desired effect.

Always speak with a doctor before using CBD, especially if you already take other medications. CBD can cause drug interactions.

What are terpenes and are terpenes useful for helping with fibromyalgia?

When CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, another very large class of plant substances—the terpenes—are extracted as well. Terpenes are currently a “hot research” topic because many have beneficial medicinal properties that may work alongside CBD in what is known as the “entourage effect”. The following terpenes are good to look for because they work synergistically with CBD to provide relief from inflammation 4 .

  • β-caryophyllene (beta-caryophyllene)
  • α-Pinene (alpha-pinene)
  • Myrcene
  • Linalool
  • Limonene

What does the research have to say about cannabinoids and fibromyalgia?

You should know that many of the clinical studies on CBD and fibromyalgia also used THC. This may be difficult and even illegal in some states that do not allow THC to be sold. If you live in a state where medical or “recreational” cannabis is not legal, your best bet may be to try CBD in a full-spectrum product—according to the 2018 Farm Bill , these products can legally contain ≤0.3% THC.

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In a recent review on CBD in fibromyalgia, the authors stated “While the current evidence is still limited, emerging data do suggest a positive effect of cannabis in fibromyalgia. Cannabis use is not without risks, including psychiatric, cognitive, and developmental as well as the risks of addiction.

As such, clinical judgment is warranted to weigh these risks and prescribe to patients who are more likely to benefit from this treatment. Further research is required to define appropriate patient selection and treatment regimens 5 .”

Other studies have provided support for using cannabinoids for fibromyalgia, though often for pain relief, some THC was thought to be important 6 , 7 .

Recently, the Arthritis Foundation —which has an interest in fibromyalgia—released guidelines for the use of CBD in arthritis pain.

They state that “ We are intrigued by the potential of CBD to help people find pain relief and are on record urging the FDA to expedite the study and regulation of these products. While currently there is limited scientific evidence about CBD’s ability to help ease arthritis symptoms, and no universal quality standards or regulations exist, we have listened to our constituents and consulted with leading experts** to develop these general recommendations for adults who are interested in trying CBD 8 . ” The Arthritis Foundation has also urged the FDA to speed up the approval of CBD products for pain relief.

CBD For Fibromyalgia: Research, Benefits, & Dosage

Cannabis has shown potential as a safe and natural alternative for treating chronic pain and inflammation involved with fibromyalgia.

Here’s how it works.

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Roughly 2% of the population will receive a diagnosis of fibromyalgia in their life-time [1].

There’s no cure for fibromyalgia — and most treatment options and their effectiveness will vary from person to person [2].

Let’s take a look at fibromyalgia and the effects of CBD on this chronic condition. This may shed some light on why CBD is so popular among people suffering from fibromyalgia.

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Updated on November 23, 2021

Table of Contents
  • Benefits of CBD for Fibromyalgia
  • Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
    • The Most Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia Include:
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    Benefits of CBD for Fibromyalgia

    CBD is a promising alternative for people suffering from fibromyalgia. The primary benefits come from CBDs’ ability to affect the endocannabinoid system — which in turn affects neuronal and microglial activity.

    In basic terms, CBD is able to influence the behavior of cells that transmit pain and cells that cause inflammation in the central nervous system.

    When the stress response is managed effectively, symptoms of fibromyalgia can be ameliorated.

    CBD is also useful as an anti-inflammatory, and analgesic for the condition, which are two of the most prominent side-effects of the condition.

    The benefits of CBD oil for fibromyalgia include:

    • Alleviates chronic pain & inflammation
    • May support sleep quality
    • Fights anxiety & depression

    1. Alleviates Chronic Pain

    There’s a wealth of anecdotal reports on the effectiveness of CBD at reducing chronic pain, such as the kind experienced in fibromyalgia. In a study on joint pain, preclinical studies show that there is an interaction between CBD and the ECS, which may explain CBD’s analgesic properties [7].

    2. May Improve Sleep

    Another study showed that CBD interacts with astrocyte activity. This is yet another piece of information that can explain why taking CBD is able to affect a myriad of neurological symptoms. Astrocytes are a type of cell in the brain that regulates the synaptic activity and inflammation [8].

    CBD has shown positive effects on regulating the quality and quantity of sleep thanks to its calming and anti-anxiety properties [9].

    3. Fights Anxiety & Depression Symptoms

    Various preclinical trials and small double-blind studies have shown that CBD works well to treat anxiety and depression along with other neurological issues.

    One of the primary ways CBD works to relieve symptoms of depression is by eliminating underlying inflammation in the brain — which is closely linked with depression [10].

    What’s The Dose of CBD For Fibromyalgia?

    The dose of CBD for fibromyalgia can vary a lot from one person to the next. Everybody responds differently, so it’s important to start low and go slow with your CBD dosing. If you are new to taking CBD, it’s advised to start on the smallest dose according to the instructions of the product you are using. Gradually increase by 5-10 mg until you feel you have reached your optimal dose.

    By starting at a lower dose and gradually increasing over time you can find the right dose without going overboard and causing negative side-effects like sedation or dry mouth.

    Most people with fibromyalgia require a higher dose of CBD to receive maximum benefits.

    Keep a journal of your dosages, timings, and symptoms to find or adjust the amount that is optimal for you.

    Fibromyalgia patients will often take CBD oil as drops below the tongue, and/or apply a topical CBD cream or gel onto the affected areas.

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    Is CBD Safe?

    CBD is safe, well-tolerated and rarely produces side effects even with high doses. When side-effects are experienced, they tend to be mild, including things like dizziness, dry mouth, or sedation.

    There’s evidence that tolerance to the compound doesn’t develop, unlike other treatment options like opioid medications (such as Oxycontin) [14]

    It’s important to note that research is based on using pure, high-quality CBD oils that don’t contain synthetic additives or preservatives.

    What is Fibromyalgia?

    Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that causes widespread pain throughout the body — often accompanied by symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, depression, and problems with memory and concentration.

    Fibromyalgia isn’t life-threatening — but it has a tremendous physical and social impact on those affected.

    There is increasing evidence that stress and depression play a significant role in the development of fibromyalgia.

    Scientists have found that the body’s two stress systems — the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic nervous system — are altered in people with fibromyalgia.

    Basically, the HPA axis is the major part of the system that controls your physiological reaction to stress. If this system is dysfunctional, it becomes significantly more difficult to manage stressful situations.

    One of the most common side-effects is chronic, widespread pain — a symptom widely exhibited in fibromyalgia.

    Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

    Each person will have his or her own set of symptoms, which can be mild, moderate or severe. Symptoms can even disappear from time to time, lasting weeks, months, or years before coming back.

    The Most Common Symptoms of Fibromyalgia Include:
    1. Widespread pain
    2. Sensitivity to cold and heat, light, smell
    3. Extreme fatigue
    4. Irregular sleeping patterns
    5. Cognitive difficulties often referred to as “fibro fog”

    Common Comorbidities of Fibromyalgia

    • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
    • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
    • Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
    • Depression and anxiety

    What’s The Cause of Fibromyalgia?

    We still don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, but it appears to be factors like genetics, past illnesses, injuries, or past emotional and physical stress.

    Risk factors for fibromyalgia include:

    • Family history of fibromyalgia
    • Physical or emotional injury or trauma
    • Illness such as a virus or infection
    • Lupus, ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis) or rheumatoid arthritis
    • Anxiety, depression, and emotional stress
    • Sleep deprivation
    • Smoking
    • Being overweight
    • Heightened stress

    How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

    Over time, guidelines have changed in the methods used to diagnose fibromyalgia. In the past, doctors would diagnose fibromyalgia by identifying specific tender points in at least 11 of 18 specified sites. Patients also must have been experiencing widespread pain for at least the past 3 months.

    Now, more recent guidelines have been developed as a simple, practical criterion for diagnosis involving the following:

    • Widespread pain lasting more than three months.
    • Symptom severity score involving fatigue, waking unrefreshed, and poor cognitive function.
    • No underlying disorders that could explain symptoms.

    There are no specific lab tests that can confirm a diagnosis, though doctors may recommend blood tests, x-rays, and specialized scans, such as nuclear medicine and CT scans.

    Tests used to diagnose fibromyalgia may include:

    1. Full blood count — including testing for adrenal and thyroid function. Hypothyroidism can cause symptoms that mimic those of fibromyalgia
    2. Vitamin D testing — a deficiency in vitamin D can cause similar symptoms to fibromyalgia

    Doctors will try to rule out everything that can be tested for, ensuring the exclusion of autoimmune conditions that can mimic the symptoms of fibromyalgia. If nothing else is identified and the patient checks the criteria for fibromyalgia, a diagnosis is made.

    How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?

    Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat. This is primarily because the condition presents slightly different for everybody.

    Since there is no direct cause for fibromyalgia, treatment of symptoms requires trial and error, repeated doctor visits, and a combination of both lifestyle changes and medication.

    An individual treatment plan may include some or all of the following:
    Common Therapies for Fibromyalgia:
    1. Physical therapy — physical therapists can guide you with exercises that will improve muscular strength, flexibility, and stamina to reduce pain. Hydrotherapy (water-based exercise) can be beneficial.
    2. Psychotherapy — counseling may help to relieve symptoms of stress and provide skills in stress resilience.
    3. Occupational therapy — occupational therapists can make the necessary adjustments in your workplace to make tasks easier to perform.
    Common Medications for Fibromyalgia:
    1. Pain Medications — used alone or in combination, paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often used to treat pain. Benzodiazepines such as Valium are commonly used to relax muscles and treat anxiety and tension.
    2. Narcotic analgesics or opioids — these medications are used when all other medications have failed to help treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia. They can potentially form a dependency and are usually only prescribed for a short period. Oxycodone (OxyContin) is a common opioid analgesic.
    3. Antidepressants — Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Cymbalta, Savella, Prozac or Paxil may help with pain and sleep disturbances; the same goes for tricyclic antidepressants such as Pamelor and Elavil. However, adverse events, tolerance development, and weight gain are common side effects of some antidepressants.
    4. Antiepileptic drugs — these are used for their sleep-promoting and anxiolytic actions. Lyrica and Neurontin can be prescribed for their ability to slow down nerve signals from the muscles to the brain to reduce pain and muscle spasms. Side effects of dependency and weight gain are frequent deterrents for its use.

    It can be dangerous to mix many of these medications with CBD, so only do so with your doctor’s permission.

    Lifestyle & Self-Care Tips For Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is affected by many factors, including diet and lifestyle choices. Therefore, treatment needs to involve daily habits and routines.

    Here are the most important lifestyle and self-care tips to incorporate into a treatment plan for fibromyalgia.

    1. Relaxation Strategies

    Meditation and mindfulness therapies can help to relieve stress and reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia.

    Here are some common ways to promote relaxation:

    1. Deep, rhythmic breathing — meditation and relaxation exercises are profoundly helpful for stress-related conditions like fibromyalgia. There are a plethora of useful applications that can be downloaded to your device for free to help you get started. Alternatively, you can attend meditation or yoga classes.
    2. Counseling — talking through your stresses and concerns with a professional counselor is particularly beneficial if you have a history of physical or emotional trauma.
    3. Biofeedback — a machine that can help read the body’s signals to reduce pain.
    4. Behavioral cognitive therapy — visit a behavioral cognitive therapist who can help you to manage emotional stress.

    2. Sleep Hygiene

    Sleep is essential for optimal health. When we’re sleep-deprived, it becomes more difficult to manage stress, leading to increased symptoms in fibromyalgia sufferers.

    Adults should get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

    Sleep Hygiene Tips:

    1. Set a routine — ensure you’re following regular bedtime and wake-up times, including weekends!
    2. Meditation — meditation in the evenings primes the nervous system for sleep by relaxing the body and turning down the stress response.
    3. Warm baths with Epsom Salts —magnesium salts relax the muscles and ease the tension that may be keeping us up at night.
    4. Minimize noise — wearing earplugs can help us get to sleep faster for people sensitive to sounds.
    5. Avoid napping during the day — if you need to nap, try to keep it to less than 30 minutes, and no later than 3 pm.
    6. Avoid stimulants — like caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes (especially after 1 pm)

    3. Regular Exercise

    Exercise may be the last activity on your mind when you’re experiencing pain and fatigue. However, appropriate gentle exercises including walking, swimming, cycling, Pilates, yoga, and Tai Chi can help to ease pain and improve mood.

    Remember to take small steps and don’t overdo it.

    4. Eat a Balanced Diet

    Eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding processed foods high in saturated fats and sugar can reduce inflammation and ease symptoms of fibromyalgia.

    People with fibromyalgia often see their symptoms worsen when consuming foods with additives such as MSG and nitrates, and artificial sweeteners.

    Eat to Increase Energy

    Excessive fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia. Eating certain whole and fresh foods high in fiber and low in sugar can provide you with more energy. Increase your intake of foods such as nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens.

    Follow a Low FODMAP Diet

    A recent study found that following a low fermentable oligo-di-mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet is a nutritionally balanced approach that leads to both weight loss and reduced severity of fibromyalgia symptoms [11]. FODMAP diets are not meant to be used for the long term but can be useful during flare-ups.

    Go Vegetarian or Vegan

    A recent 2018 study found that following a lacto-vegetarian diet for just 4 weeks resulted in reduced pain and improved body composition. The study also involved physiotherapy; therefore the combination of treatments may have improved the outcome [12].

    Increase Your Magnesium

    There may be a link between magnesium deficiency and fibromyalgia symptoms. Increase your consumption of magnesium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, and seafood.

    Avoiding Gluten

    Studies have shown that removing foods that contain gluten can reduce pain and inflammation, even if you don’t have Celiac disease [13].

    Key Takeaways: Using CBD For Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia can be a debilitating condition to live with, heavily impacting an individual’s mental health and motivation.

    While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are steps you can take to reduce and better manage the symptoms.

    More clinical trials are needed — however, research shows that CBD can be a safe and effective treatment in relieving many of the symptoms associated with the condition, significantly improving quality of life.

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