While fibromyalgia has been around for centuries, it is still somewhat of a mystery to the scientific community and the existing treatments for this condition aren’t always helpful. Besides, those conventional medications come with their own unpleasant side effects, and it is therefore no wonder that fibromyalgia sufferers are looking for alternative treatments to manage their symptoms. One of the alternative treatments that some of the estimated 1.5-2 million people suffering from fibromyalgia in the UK are looking at is CBD, and this article explores the use of CBD to manage fibromyalgia.
What is Fibromyalgia?
First off, there is very little information about what exactly fibromyalgia is apart from the general consensus that it is a long-term condition which could be associated with abnormal neurochemical activity in the body, especially the brain and spinal cord.
According to Fibromyalgia Action UK, this condition is characterised by several varied symptoms which include fatigue, widespread pain, non-refreshing sleep, headaches (including migraines), dizziness, allergies, compromised memory or concentration (also called fibro fog) and a host of other symptoms.
Widespread pain results when the nerves and pain receptors become so attuned to sending pain signals that the individual experiences intense pain from ordinary experiences, such as being touched on a muscle.
Fibromyalgia can affect people of all genders and age groups, but women seem to be more susceptible to this condition when compared to their male counterparts. The 30-50 age bracket appears to be the most affected group.
The Link Between Fibromyalgia and Your Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a signaling system made of up endocannabinoids together with the endocannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoids transmit signals between cells, and the endocannabinoid receptors receive those messages or signals.
The ECS is responsible for maintaining balance (homeostasis) within the body as it regulates several functions, such as sleep, temperature, appetite, pain, mood, and so many other functions.
When the endocannabinoid system isn’t working as it should, problems will result because the body will no longer be in balance.
Fibromyalgia appears to be linked to several imbalances within the body. For example, an imbalance in the way pain signals are transmitted and interpreted makes sufferers prone to intense, widespread pain.
This is where CBD and other cannabinoids come in. They can help to restore balance and proper functioning to the ECS, and this often triggers beneficial effects among fibromyalgia sufferers. So, how exactly can fibromyalgia sufferers in the UK benefit from CBD? Read on…
Benefits of CBD for Fibromyalgia Patients
Mild Pain Relief
The productivity, focus and overall quality of life of fibromyalgia sufferers is adversely affected by the pain they experience over prolonged durations.
Thankfully, CBD has been proven to have analgesic properties, and it can help patients to get some relief from the pain. For instance, studies have shown that CBD is helpful in combating neuropathic pain, and lots of fibro patients suffer from this type of pain.
However, CBD on its own may not provide sufficient relief from intense or chronic pain. Research shows that better outcomes are observed when CBD is combined with THC (another cannabis compound). You might therefore be well advised to search for full-spectrum CBD or medical marijuana if you can legally obtain a prescription. Medical marijuana can only be obtained in the UK after meeting a strict list of requirements.
Alleviating Insomnia and Other Sleep Issues
Fibromyalgia is known to affect sleep quality in several ways. For instance, a person in constant pain will find it difficult to fall asleep and remain asleep the entire night. This leads them to feel sleepy and unmotivated during the day. Patients also develop fibro brain fog due to the sleep deprivation linked to the syndrome.
Fortunately, CBD has been found (anecdotally and from scientific research) to combat insomnia and other sleep-related issues. Join any CBD oil fibromyalgia forum and you will find countless people attesting to the improved sleep they enjoy after they started using CBD.
Relief from IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a condition that is very common among people suffering from fibromyalgia. In fact, statistics indicate that approximately 42% of people with fibro also suffer from IBS, and this proportion is a lot higher than the IBS cases found among people who don’t suffer from fibromyalgia.
Research has shown that cannabidiol has the ability to provide IBS sufferers with some relief from their symptoms, thereby improving the quality of their lives.
Scientists have discovered that people suffering from fibromyalgia have dozens of different protein molecules linked to inflammation. Given that fibro affects the brain and spinal cord, alongside the entire nervous system, prolonged inflammation can damage brain cells and compromise other bodily functions.
Fortunately, CBD has proven anti-inflammatory properties, and when fibro sufferers take this cannabinoid, the inflammation in their brains and other tissues is brought down. Incidentally, CBD can also suppress the kinds of inflammation that are responsible for the formation of tumors, and this goes to show what downstream health complications are stopped in their tracks when chronic inflammation is brought under control. Fibromyalgia and CBD oil are indeed a good combination.
Stress, Anxiety and Depression Management
Stress, anxiety and depression are comorbidities sufferers of fibromyalgia have to contend with. More worrying are research findings indicating that chronic stress is linked to the onset of fibromyalgia.
Lots of patients suffering from fibromyalgia are routinely prescribed antidepressants to combat the bouts of depression which are triggered by the mental and emotional toll of the fibromyalgia symptoms, such as chronic pain.
A double-blind study proved that CBD could alleviate social anxiety among people who were scheduled to make a public address. These anti-anxiety attributes of CBD make it a valuable intervention for fibro sufferers as it can help them combat depression, stress and anxiety.
CBD Oil Dosage for Fibromyalgia
Different websites selling CBD oil for fibromyalgia pain include dosage instructions, but there are no scientifically backed guidelines on the best CBD oil dosage for fibromyalgia. It is therefore advisable for you to talk to your doctor if you are considering taking CBD for fibromyalgia. And, start with a small dose and work your way up until you get the optimum amount which gives you relief. This is because the appropriate CBD oil fibromyalgia dosage varies from one person to another.
CBD fibromyalgia treatment is becoming common in the UK, but be cautioned that research into this is still in its infancy. Have you had any success using fibromyalgia CBD oil? According to you, does CBD help with fibromyalgia? We would love to read your experiences and opinions in the comments below!