CBD oil and fibromyalgia: What does the research say?

cbd for fibromyalgia

CBD oil and fibromyalgia: What does the research say?

Summary:
  • Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder causing full-body musculoskeletal pain. People who suffer from fibromyalgia may also have other symptoms, like stiffness, insomnia, and “fibrofog”. 
  • Some researchers theorize that an endocannabinoid deficiency could play a role in fibromyalgia. 
  • Research surrounding CBD and fibromyalgia is limited. But some studies suggest that cannabinoids could play a useful role in managing fibromyalgia symptoms.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects approximately one in 20 people in the UK. Fibromyalgia can affect anyone, but the majority of those who suffer from it are women aged 30-50. The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness throughout the whole body. But fibromyalgia can manifest in a whole host of other symptoms that can have an adverse effect on quality of life. 

There is no current cure for fibromyalgia. But it may be possible for those who suffer from it to manage their symptoms with all-natural substances like CBD. If you’re curious about the potential benefits of CBD oil and fibromyalgia, you’re in the right place. 

Here’s an overview of CBD oil and fibromyalgia and what it means for you.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that causes musculoskeletal pain. Pain is a subjective experience, so the exact feeling is different for everyone. Most people describe fibromyalgia as all-over body pain, like a constant dull ache in your muscles and bones. 

Other symptoms of fibromyalgia can include:

  • Stiffness
  • Sore joints
  • Insomnia 
  • Fatigue
  • Memory issues or forgetfulness. Also known as “fibrofog”
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Anxiety and depression

There’s no standard test for fibromyalgia in the UK, and many of its symptoms overlap with other conditions. This can make fibromyalgia difficult to diagnose. 

Even after achieving a diagnosis, it can be tough for those who suffer from fibromyalgia to find relief. It’s why many sufferers are on the lookout for natural ways to manage their symptoms, like CBD.

What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of the main active compounds in the cannabis plant. CBD does not cause a high, unlike the other well-known cannabinoid, THC. CBD has been found to have potential health benefits without intoxicating effects. 

How does CBD work?

CBD is a cannabinoid, which can interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

The ECS is a system of receptors and transmitters located throughout the brain and body. Its main goal is to maintain balance in the body, also known as homeostasis. The ECS plays a key role in many of our most important bodily functions, including pain and sensation

Two key parts of the ECS are the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, which help control pain responses. This makes CBD particularly interesting to those who struggle with chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. You can read more about CBD and pain on our blog, here

Some researchers believe that the connection between the ECS and fibromyalgia might run deeper than initially thought.

what is the endocannabinoid system

The connection between fibromyalgia and endocannabinoids

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. But some researchers believe that an endocannabinoid deficiency could play a role. 

The theory is that low endocannabinoid levels in the body or dysfunction in the ECS could throw off your body’s internal balance. This may be associated with symptoms of certain health conditions. 

This could also explain why fibromyalgia often co-exists with conditions like IBD and migraines. Some people believe that these conditions might also have a connection to an endocannabinoid deficiency. 

If this theory is true, then supplementing CBD could potentially increase cannabinoid levels in the ECS. However, it’s only a theory. We still need more research to fully understand fibromyalgia’s connection to the ECS and CBD.

CBD oil and fibromyalgia: What does the research say?

Research surrounding CBD and fibromyalgia is limited. But some studies involving medical cannabis have yielded encouraging results. 

cbd oil for fibromyalgia

A 2011 study looked at a group of 56 people with fibromyalgia, most of which were women. Half of the group were regular cannabis users, while the other half were not. The cannabis users experienced reduced pain and stiffness compared to the control group. They also scored slightly higher mental health scores.

A 2019 Dutch study looked at the effects of cannabis on women with fibromyalgia. In the study, the women received 4 different varieties of cannabis, each with varying amounts of CBD and THC. Researchers found that a strain of cannabis high in both CBD and THC brought the biggest relief to patients. 18 of the 20 participants reported that cannabis reduced their spontaneous pain by 30%. 

These studies involved medical cannabis, not CBD. This means that THC, the “high-inducing” cannabinoid, was present. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC can work together to heighten each other’s effects in a process called the entourage effect. However, THC is a controlled cannabinoid in the UK. It can only be prescribed by a doctor and causes intoxicating effects. 

While CBD and THC work well together, CBD can still offer possible benefits by itself. CBD products that contain less than 0.2% THC (non-detectable levels) are legal in the UK. This is because CBD, unlike THC, is non-intoxicating.

Other potential CBD benefits for fibromyalgia

While the fibromyalgia studies involved medical cannabis, numerous studies have looked at the effect of CBD on pain in other contexts.

A 2019 study on CBD and chronic pain found that 94% of people involved saw significant improvements in their quality of life. And a 2020 review found that CBD could reduce back pain when used for just 7 days. 

CBD has also shown promise with conditions that can overlap with fibromyalgia, like IBD, and migraines.

A 2013 review found that CBD had a positive impact on people who suffer from IBD. You can read more about the potential benefits of CBD and migraines on our blog

CBD has also shown promise in reducing anxiety in a clinical setting. That’s something to keep in mind if your fibromyalgia is anxiety or stress-related.

How to use CBD oil for fibromyalgia

There are several ways that you can use CBD oil for fibromyalgia. Each method comes with its own set of pros and cons. It’s down to your own personal preference. 

Some of the most common ways to use CBD include:

CBD capsules

CBD capsules are a great way to start if you’ve never used CBD before.

They offer an easy way to get an accurate dosage every day. 

CBD capsules usually take 1-2 hours to work with effects lasting for around 2-8 hours.

cbd for fibromyalgia

Foods

Edibles are foods and snacks cooked containing CBD. It’s a fun way to get a daily dose of CBD. But since the edibles have to pass through your digestive system first, it can take longer for the CBD to take effect. 

CBD edibles typically take effect around 1-2 hours after eating and can last for up to 8 hours.

cbd oil for fibromyalgia

CBD oil

CBD oil is one of the most fast-acting ways to take CBD. CBD oil taken under the tongue (sublingually) doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system. This means that the body can directly absorb it.

CBD oil typically starts working within 15-30 minutes after taking it under your tongue. The effects should last for around 4-6 hours.

cbd for stress relief

Topicals

CBD topicals are creams, or balms infused with CBD. They’re also a great way to target problem areas, like stiff muscles or sore joints.

To use CBD topicals, apply a thin layer 2-3 times per day. It should take effect within 10-30 minutes and last for 2-8 hours.

cbd for fibromyalgia

What CBD dosage should I use for fibromyalgia?

Since CBD is not an approved medical treatment, there’s no recommended dosage for CBD oil or any other CBD product, but the FSA recommends taking no more than 70 mg per day. 

It’s usually best to start with a small dosage and increase slowly until you find the right dosage for you. Just take care not to exceed a total of 70mg per day. You can view our CBD dosage calculator for more information on finding the right dosage for you.

Does CBD have side effects?

While CBD is generally considered safe in humans, there are still potential side effects to consider. Some of the potential side effects of CBD include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in appetite


You can learn more on our blog, “What are The Effects of CBD?”. Remember to consult with your doctor if you’re taking any medication to prevent possible drug interactions.

CBD oil and fibromyalgia: conclusion

CBD is not a cure for fibromyalgia, although it’s possible that CBD could provide relief for certain symptoms and improve the quality of life for people who live with fibromyalgia.

Naturecan’s CBD oil and topical products are an excellent way to start taking CBD. All of our CBD products are made from organically grown plant-derived CBD distillate and have non-detectable THC. Every batch goes through rigorous third-party testing for safety and purity, so you rest assured that you’re taking a safe, high-quality product. Just take it slow and follow your body’s signals.

Disclaimer: There is currently insufficient evidence to support the use of CBD in the condition(s) mentioned above and this text by no means reflects recommended uses. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional if you are taking prescribed medication or are thinking of using CBD for your condition.

Written by Brooke Helton and reviewed by our qualified expert, Moyra Cosgrove, Head of Nutrition at Naturecan, SENR Registered Nutritionist and DProf candidate at LJMU

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