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CBD oil and fibromyalgia: myth or reality?

  1. Is CBD effective against fibromyalgia?
  2. What is Fibromyalgia?
  3. What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
  4. What is CBD and the Endocannabinoid System?
  5. How can CBD and our Endocannabinoid system help Fibromyalgia?
  6. Scientific sources

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an oil derived from cannabis. A growing body of research suggests that CBD may help people with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterised by chronic pain. Studies suggest that CBD may help relieve pain and inflammation, so researchers are studying its effects on fibromyalgia symptoms.

For example, a 2020 scientific study says that, although current evidence is still limited, emerging data suggest that cannabis and especially CBD may have a positive effect on fibromyalgia.

Nevertheless, CBD remains a popular choice. So much so that more than 78% of people who used CBD oils saw a great benefit in improving the quality of their lives, as stated by this 2021 scientific study.

In this post on our science blog we will learn why CBD may be able to relieve fibromyalgia pain. It will also examine its most effective uses and some possible, albeit rare, side effects. The most common side effects were tiredness, diarrhoea and appetite/weight changes. Compared to other drugs, used for the treatment of these medical conditions, CBD has a better side-effect profile. This could improve patient compliance and adherence to treatment.

1. Is CBD effective against fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia, and those who suffer from it know it well, is characterised by acute and constant pain throughout the body, difficulty sleeping, stress, anxiety, depression are just some of the symptoms that Fibromyalgia sufferers experience. Fibromyalgia is a rather complex pathology, as it has many ways of expressing itself, ranging from headaches to pain in the muscles or limbs or even manifesting itself cognitively with depression or memory loss. Can CBD be a remedy for Fibromyalgia?

2. What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterised mainly by musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and mood and sleep disturbances.

It affects women more often than men and has a genetic preponderance. It is not uncommon, as its prevalence in the Spanish population is estimated at around 7%.

Fibromyalgia can have a tremendous physical and psychological impact on patients and can lead to severe disability. Currently, there is no cure for this condition in most patients, and the main treatment is usually medication to control pain. These medications include pregabalin and duloxetine. Some patients may benefit from benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants and other antidepressants. Many of these medications are associated with strong adverse effects that affect patients in the long term, as well as being highly addictive.

Studies show that CBD and Cannabis can be an effective natural compound for treating pain associated with fibromyalgia, without the adverse side effects of other opioid and chemical medications. This is thanks to our Endocannabinoid system.

3. What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

In addition to pain and exhaustion, fibromyalgia may also cause one or more of the following typical symptoms:

  • Insomnia and sleep disordersDifficulty falling asleep and falling asleep and despite getting enough sleep, they may wake up and still feel tired. 
  • Ankylosingstiffness of the body.
  • Increase in headaches or facial pain.
  • Abdominal discomfortDigestive disorders, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhoea. 
  • Genitourinary problemsincreased frequency or urgency of urination, typically without a bladder infection. 
  • Paresthesianumbness or tingling (e.g. in the hands or feet). 
  • Temperature sensitivity.
  • Skin problems: Uncomfortable symptoms, such as itching, dryness or spots.
  • Chest symptomschest or upper body pains.
  • Imbalancedizziness and/or balance problems. 
  • Cognitive disordersdifficulty in concentrating, "mental sluggishness", loss of memory.
  • Sensations in the legsRestless legs syndrome" (uncontrollable urge to move the legs, especially when resting or resting). 
  • Environmental sensitivityhypersensitivity to light, noise, odours and weather changes.
  • Depression and anxiety.

Key points to consider so far:

  1. Fibromyalgia is characterised by chronic widespread pain with sleep disturbances, fatigue and often psychiatric comorbidities such as depression and anxiety. It is clinically diagnosed in the absence of other organic causes, a process that lasts on average two years.
  2. Despite the prevalence of fibromyalgia, understanding of its pathophysiology is vague; several treatments have some efficacy, although only physical activity has high quality evidence to support it, and most patients continue to experience some symptoms.
  3. Cannabis and CBD have several indications in chronic pain syndromes with good supporting evidence. There is some evidence to support their use in fibromyalgia, although the level of evidence is not high.
  4. With the increasing availability and legality of marijuana for personal and medical use, surveys show that a high proportion of fibromyalgia patients self-medicate with cannabis, with good results.
  5. Evidence shows that cannabis not only treats chronic pain, but significantly improves quality of life in fibromyalgia.

What is CBD and the Endocannabinoid System?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the flower and leaves surrounding the resinous inflorescences of cannabis (hemp), a plant with a long history as a medicinal and therapeutic substance, known to have been used several to thousands of years ago. Today, scientists and doctors all over the world are studying, approving and certifying the therapeutic properties of Cannabis on people, and especially CBD. Classified by the WHO as a safe and non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred "phytocannabinoids", which are found in the Cannabis Sativa L. plant and give the plant its robust molecular profile with so many therapeutic applications.

CBD is closely related to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that causes the high for which cannabis is famous and for which it was banned. These are the two components of cannabis that have been most studied by researchers. Both CBD and THC have proven therapeutic attributes. But unlike THC, CBD does not make a person feel "high" or intoxicated. This is because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body.

CBD can even diminish and even neutralise the psychoactive effects of THC. Many people want the health benefits of cannabis without the psychoactivity, which is totally understandable. The fact that CBD is therapeutically potent and non-intoxicating, and easy to take as a CBD oil, makes it a great way to get the health benefits of cannabis without the psychoactivity. attractive treatment option for those who are cautious about trying cannabis for the first time.

Cannabis plant.

5. How can CBD and our Endocannabinoid system help Fibromyalgia?

The human body contains many systems that perform various functions, such as the digestive, nervous and respiratory systems. Our nervous system consists of the spinal cord, nerves and brain. There is one system in particular that was discovered as recently as the 1980s, called the endocannabinoid system (SEC). All mammals have the SEC which consists of chemical signalling and two (known) receptors that are able to modulate pain, inflammation, sleep, mood and even skin diseases such as psoriasis. These receptors are known as the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor. These receptors are everywhere in the body, which means that all other systems are actually modulated by the ECS system.

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and is often consumed in the form of CBD oil, but also comes in a variety of other products. CBD has been heavily researched in recent years, and due to all the curiosity and hype, the first highly concentrated CBD products have entered the market. Research results from around the world have led to the interpretation that CBD is safe, and will not cause any drug or addictive effects.

Your endoncannabinoid system.

By introducing cannabinoids such as CBD into your system, cannabinoid receptors communicate to affect essential bodily processes such as memory, appetite, pain, mood, neuro-protection, immune function, cognitive processes, fertility, body temperature and more.

The symptomatology presented by Fibromyalgia patients can be treated with CBD according to several scientific reviews. 

Most studies confirm this. When the patient is already using opioids, it is important to start with low doses, and reduce the opioid doses as soon as the cannabinoids (CBD) take effect and the patient notices this. Blood pressure should be monitored as cannabinoids and opioids are hypotensive substances.

Also be aware of the possible constipation that cannabinoids can cause. But opiates are much more astringent than cannabinoids.

Pain sending neuron and receiving neuron, and how CBD acts on them.

CBD gives us an antioxidant, anxiolytic and antidepressant effect, and its anti-inflammatory effect is very useful in this disease, and also in a natural way, as it interacts with our endocannabinoid system. It should be noted that we do not have an "Ibuprofenoid" system, so to speak, but we do have receptors for cannabioids from birth. The anti-inflammatory effect is enhanced by the use of CBG (Cannabigerol) another non-psychoactive cannabinoid with great therapeutic properties, both of which are components of our products at Bove Health. 

CBD and other cannabinoids bind to specialised receptors in a person's brain. One of these receptors, called the CB2 receptor, plays a role in controlling pain and inflammation. When CBD enters the body, it can bind to CB2 receptors, or it can cause the body to produce natural cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) that bind to these receptors. This can lead to a reduction in pain and inflammation.

2016 study suggests that endocannabinoid deficiency may be at the root of chronic pain syndromes, including migraine and fibromyalgia. The use of CBD may correct this deficiency, which explains the compound's success in relieving chronic pain. However, research is still limited, so more studies are needed before researchers can fully understand this process.

Analgesic effect?

Its analgesic effect is also reinforced by the use of CBG in different proportions, which can limit the patient's activity. In addition, CBG will provide a relaxing effect, which will enhance the effect of CBD, to combat insomnia. Always following the advice of the practitioner, of course. We can use cannabinoids and opiates together, it is a question of correct dosage to avoid interactions and always CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN IF YOU TAKE OPIATES AND WANT TO START USING CBD.

The dosage should be calculated according to the patient's weight, and contraindications as well as possible interactions with already prescribed medications should always be excluded. Therefore, we recommend the use of CBD in different proportions to treat fibromyalgia patients.

The CBD is not effective for all patients. In some cases, with the first few doses the patient already reports a partial improvement in their symptoms, and it is very important to check that the CBD is working, in order to continue adapting the doses according to the needs of each patient. The majority of patients for whom CBD is going to be useful, notice an improvement in their symptoms, especially in terms of pain and insomnia in the case of fibromyalgia, after the first few doses, if they are correct. When this is the case, the expectations for treatment are interesting. When a patient treated with the correct doses has no response within 2 to 3 weeks, the treatment will most likely never be effective.

6. Scientific Sources

Berger, Amnon A et al. "Cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of fibromyalgia." Best practice & research. Clinical anaesthesiology vol. 34,3 (2020): 617-631. doi:10.1016/j.bpa.2020.08.010.

Boehnke, Kevin F et al. "Cannabidiol Use for Fibromyalgia: Prevalence of Use and Perceptions of Effectiveness in a Large Online Survey." The journal of pain vol. 22,5 (2021): 556-566. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2020.12.001

Cannabis and Fibromyalgia: https://www.fundacion-canna.es/fibromialgia

Russo EB. Hemp for headache: an in-depth historical and scientific review of cannabis in migraine treatment. J Cannabis Ther. 2001;1:21-92. Crossref, Google Scholar

McPartland JM, Guy GW, Di Marzo V. Care and feeding of the endocannabinoid system: a systematic review of potential clinical interventions that upregulate the endocannabinoid system. PLoS One. 2014;9:e89566. Crossref, Medline, Google Scholar

Argueta DA, Ventura CM, Kiven S, Sagi V, Gupta K. A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain. Front Pharmacol. 2020;11:561. Published 2020 Apr 30. doi:10.3389/fphar.2020.00561

Argueta DA, Ventura CM, Kiven S, Sagi V, Gupta K. A Balanced Approach for Cannabidiol Use in Chronic Pain. Front Pharmacol. 2020;11:561. Published 2020 Apr 30. doi:10.3389/fphar.2020.00561

Written by:
Carlos Vera

Carlos Vera

CEO & Founder

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