Exploring CBD for Fibromyalgia Pain: What You Need to Know

Looking into CBD for fibromyalgia pain?

Traditional medication sometimes does not offer the symptom relief that some people with chronic pain conditions are looking for, so more and more people are looking at alternatives such as CBD.

In this article, we will explore whether or not CBD is useful for chronic pain disorders like fibromyalgia, what the current research suggests, the benefits of using CBD for fibromyalgia, and outline the risks and side effects as well.

We'll also help you understand the difference between CBD and cannabis and what is legal. We'll also equip you with treatment options beyond CBD for a more holistic approach to managing your symptoms.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a condition that can cause widespread pain, chronic fatigue, and even sleep disturbances. In fibromyalgia, the body's pain system becomes too hypersensitive, a phenomenon known as central sensitization1. Think of it like a car alarm that goes off even when there's just a little wind. This means that normal touch or changes in temperature might hurt when they really shouldn't.

What are the benefits of CBD?

A compound naturally occurring in cannabis, CBD – also known as cannabidiol oil – has garnered significant attention within the realm of pain management and is now a sought-after choice for people in search of potent pain medicine. But does it help?

Neuropathic pain relief

Neuropathic pain is pain that comes from damaged nerves. It can feel like a sharp sting or burning. People with fibromyalgia often have this kind of pain and for some people, CBD might can help them feel less pain.

It does this by lowering swelling and changing the way our nerves send signals, blocking the perception of pain. A study in 2020 found that a group of people taking CBD experienced a significant reduction in sensations of intense pain, sharpness, cold, and itchiness compared to the placebo group2.

But, because everyone's body is different, CBD can work well for some and not at all for others. It's not a cure by itself, but it can be part of a bigger plan to manage pain.

Sleep improvement

People with fibromyalgia often have trouble sleeping. They might find it hard to fall asleep, wake up a lot at night, or not feel rested after sleeping, and this can worse other symptoms.

CBD can help some people fall asleep more easily and get more restful sleep. It manly does this by calming down worries and helping people to relax3.

Can CBD help fibromyalgia pain?

The research on CBD’s effectiveness for fibromyalgia is still in its early stages. However, emerging studies indicate that CBD could potentially alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as pain, sleep disturbances, and mood concerns5.

A 2019 randomized study found that fibromyalgia patients reported decreased pain when using a combination of CBD and THC, compared to those given a placebo6. Another study done in 2018 showed that all participants reported improved symptoms from cannabis use, with more than half discontinuing other medications7.

Still, there are challenges in CBD research. There aren't many studies on humans yet because it was hard to study cannabis for a long time, which means we're still working to understand efficacy, how much to take, and how to optimize someone's treatment. There are also other challenges including sourcing high-quality CBD and controlling dosage and potency.

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Is CBD the same as cannabis?

It's good to clear up a common mix-up: CBD isn't the same thing as the whole cannabis plant. CBD comes from a type of cannabis called hemp, and by the rules, it can't have more than a tiny bit (0.3%) of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is what makes people feel high when they use marijuana4.

Although CBD forms part of the cannabis plant’s makeup, it lacks the psychoactive properties attributed to THC. Consequently, you can access any potential healing benefits offered by CBD without worrying about experiencing an altered state of mind.

What type of CBD is usually prescribed for fibromyalgia pain?

There are different kinds of CBD products that can help with the pain and other problems caused by fibromyalgia. The most popular ones are CBD oils and topical creams. Your doctor might suggest starting with a stronger type of CBD that you take orally.

It's very important to speak with your doctor to figure out if CBD is suitable for you, and if so, which product is likely to be best for you. You should also discuss potential side effects that CBD might have.

What are the risks & side effects of CBD for fibromyalgia symptoms?

While CBD offers potential benefits, there are potential risks and side effects to consider8. These may include:

  • headaches
  • stomach upset
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • lethargy
  • low blood pressure
  • lightheadedness
  • drowsiness.

CBD can also interact with other drugs by affecting liver enzymes. This could lead to adverse effects when combined with other pain medications9. Furthermore, CBD may also affect hormone levels and the immune system10.

Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting CBD treatment to ensure your safety and monitor for any side effects. Make sure they have your full medical history, including all medications, supplements, and over-the-counter products that you are taking.

Is CBD legal?

The legality of CBD can be quite a puzzle. In the USA, federally, hemp-derived products with a THC content below 0.3% are lawful, thanks to the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act, commonly known as the Farm Bill11. However, although this is a federal rule, US state laws can introduce their own set of regulations that might restrict or completely prohibit the use of CBD products, regardless of federal allowances.

Let's talk about Idaho for example. Over there, only certain CBD products are legal; they must have zero THC and must be made from specific parts of the cannabis plant12.

With rapid shifts occurring in regulations surrounding medical marijuana and other forms of medical cannabis – including both high-THC varieties and non-intoxicating hemp-derived CBD – it is vital to stay informed about current legislation so that you fully understand how changes may impact your access and usage legally.

Other forms of treatment for fibromyalgia pain

CBD has shown significant promise as a potential treatment for fibromyalgia, but it’s important to recognize that it is just one component of a much larger strategy. Managing fibromyalgia symptoms most effectively usually requires adopting an all-encompassing, multidisciplinary approach.

Such an approach may include retraining the body’s response to pain, modifying lifestyle habits and incorporating movement as part of the regimen to treat chronic pain and reduce symptoms.

Retraining your pain

To understand how to recalibrate your response to pain, it's essential to recognize that pain is more than just a physical sensation. It's a complex experience that intertwines with your mental state, emotions, and the environment around you.

Pinpointing the factors that intensify your pain, such as stress, negative thought patterns, or particular activities, is a fundamental first step. By identifying these triggers, you can begin to alter them. Modifications might include changes to your diet, enhancing your sleep quality, increasing your activity levels, or using techniques that help your brain reinterpret these triggers. With time and consistent application, you can train your brain to react differently to the sensation of pain, which can lead to a reduction in both the severity and the control it exerts over your life.

Managing stress

While stress is a common aspect of life, mastering its management can significantly enhance your quality of life. Effective stress management can prevent your body from misinterpreting ordinary sensations as painful.

There are numerous techniques available for mitigating stress. Methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness practices can assist in developing healthier thought patterns, maintaining presence in the current moment, and achieving a state of relaxation. It's also beneficial to engage in discussions with peers, seek professional counseling, or join a support group to exchange experiences and receive encouragement.

Physical activity

Embarking on an exercise regimen may appear challenging, yet the rewards for managing pain are substantial. Engaging in regular physical activity can uplift your mood, elevate your energy, and improve your sleep quality. The key is to discover activities that you enjoy and are appropriate for your level of fitness, such as yoga, gentle dancing, or even tending to your garden.

Incorporating simple stretches and low-impact activities, such as walking, can provide relief to tense muscles and may help reduce pain, enhancing your overall well-being.

Start with straightforward exercises and gradually increase the challenge. It's important to treat yourself with compassion throughout this process. Progressing at a rate that respects your body's limitations ensures that you can increase your level of activity without exacerbating your pain or risking injury.

Sleep quality

Sleep is very important when you're dealing with fibromyalgia pain. It's a secret weapon to help fend off a variety of symptoms. However, most people who live with fibromyalgia struggle to get the deep sleep that helps their bodies heal and feel better.

To get better sleep, which can help you feel good all over, you might want to try these tips:

  • Aim for about 8 hours of sleep every night and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • If you need to nap, keep it short. Quick naps can make you feel refreshed without messing up your sleep at night.
  • Be active during the day. Moving around can help you fall asleep faster when it's bedtime.
  • Put away your phone and other screens before you go to bed. This can help your brain chill out and get ready for sleep.
  • Make your bedroom super cozy for sleeping. Make sure it's dark and quiet so nothing wakes you up.
  • Watch how much caffeine you drink, especially later in the day. Caffeine can stick around in your body for a while and keep you awake.
  • Don't eat big meals or drink alcohol before bed. These can make your sleep worse.
  • Also, try to relax in other ways. This can help you develop better sleep habits and control your symptoms better.

More information

At MoreGoodDays®, we've put together a thoughtful plan to help you navigate life with fibromyalgia. We grasp the impact this condition can have on your everyday activities, and that's why we've crafted resources and strategies that are straightforward and practical. Our aim is to provide you with knowledge about fibromyalgia and give you the tools to better handle the pain and tiredness that often accompanies it.

Our commitment is to guide you towards a healthier, more enjoyable life, even as you live with fibromyalgia.

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