Benefits of CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia
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Fibromyalgia is pain that is felt throughout the body: a chronic disease that has several physical and mental triggers, treating fibromyalgia can involve a number of different solutions.
Some of the most common symptoms or signs of fibromyalgia include pain and stiffness throughout the body, fatigue, depression and anxiety, sleep problems, memory and concentration lapses, headaches, and migraines.
CBD oil for fibromyalgia has emerged as a treatment option because of its proven ability to address the common symptoms mentioned above.
Before getting into how and why CBD oil can help treat fibromyalgia and its common symptoms, it’s important to first understand the disease.
What is fibromyalgia?
The term fibromyalgia comes from the Latin word “fibro” (fibrosis tissue), and the Greek terms for “myo” (muscle) and “algia” (pain). In the 1800s there were points of pain (or fibromyalgia points) discovered on the body and at the time the condition was called fibrositis as health professionals believed pain was caused by inflammation at these specific sites. It was renamed fibromyalgia in the 1970s.
Who is susceptible to fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia affects more than 500,000 Canadians or about 2% of the population in Canada. There may be even more people living with fibromyalgia who haven’t been medically diagnosed with the disease. This is because fibromyalgia can impact people in different ways, and not all symptoms are the same in each person. Fibromyalgia is more common in women, about 80 to 90% of people with fibromyalgia are women and it affects all age groups.
The root cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but some research shows that fibromyalgia may be caused by a mix-up of signals in the body’s central nervous system. Genetics may also play a role. Symptoms can be triggered by psychological stress, physical trauma, injury, illness or infection. It’s also believed that certain foods can trigger fibromyalgia in some people, including gluten, red meat, dairy products, and even certain fruits and vegetables.
Those who suffer from fibromyalgia will also commonly suffer from other conditions such as arthritis, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, or anxiety.
As symptoms and triggers can be widespread, there is no specific test or process to diagnose fibromyalgia. Apart from your typical physical exam and cross-referencing with any other conditions, the main factor needed for a diagnosis is widespread pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms that last at least three months at a relatively consistent level before a healthcare provider will typically make a diagnosis.
Traditional fibromyalgia treatments
While fibromyalgia can impact people differently, it does not damage organs and is not life-threatening, however, the pain can impact the quality of life if not managed and treated. Common pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen such as aspirin, Advil, Motrin IB, and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are commonly prescribed to help treat the physical pain of fibromyalgia.
Antidepressants such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) are also commonly used to help treat the mental fatigue associated with fibromyalgia. Sleep medications may also be prescribed. In some cases, anti-seizure drugs used to treat epilepsy are often useful in reducing certain types of fibromyalgia symptoms.
Physical therapy is also used in combination with medication for some sufferers of fibromyalgia. Overall, a healthy diet with exercise, such as yoga, are prescribed to those who suffer from fibromyalgia, in addition to stress management techniques.
Why consider CBD for fibromyalgia?
CBD oil may help treat the pain from fibromyalgia because of its natural effect on certain receptors in the body and brain. These receptors are part of the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a group of receptors in our body’s central nervous system which play a role in pain and inflammation throughout the body. The ECS helps to maintain a healthy physical and mental balance, known as homeostasis. Because of this, CBD oil for fibromyalgia is safe and potentially beneficial for most adults.
Any physical and mental strain (such as fibromyalgia) causes stress to the body’s ECS, impacting the production of the body’s natural endocannabinoids. Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is a phytocannabinoid that interacts with your ECS and once CBD is in the body’s system, your enzymes begin to break down the phytocannabinoid, freeing up the endocannabinoids that your body naturally produces to bind with the receptors mentioned above. CBD works by blocking the breakdown of the body’s own endocannabinoids and allows them to more freely attach to cannabinoid receptors. CBD also binds to non-cannabinoid receptors such as serotonin receptors that are known to influence pain, mood, and sleep. CBD is non-psychoactive and has little to no side effects for most adults.
How to use CBD for fibromyalgia
CBD is known to treat headaches and migraines and is used as a natural alternative to help treat insomnia and sleep disorders. CBD can also be administered in many forms that can help target specific physical pain and mental ailments.
For instance, CBD oil can be consumed sublingually, a few drops of the CBD under the tongue will ensure it reaches the body’s bloodstream and its benefits can be felt more quickly compared to other methods such as ingestion because the CBD bypasses the liver and digestive system entirely by being absorbed by mucous membranes located in the mouth. Skipping the metabolization process that occurs during ingestion allows the compound to enter the bloodstream more rapidly. Additionally, when CBD is consumed sublingually it isn’t broken down by digestive enzymes, meaning it does not lose potency. The ease of use and swiftness in delivering relief make CBD oil for fibromyalgia a viable treatment option.
The unique interaction between CBD oil and the ECS causes anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits which can help reduce chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia.
There are other CBD products that can be used to treat fibromyalgia. CBD gummies or capsules also contain CBD oil and are a great alternative for those looking for a convenient way to consume CBD as well as accurately dose. Each CBD gummy or capsule will contain a certain amount of CBD, so you know how much you’re getting in each piece. The label and ingredients should indicate this amount clearly.
CBD oil and edibles are great solutions for those who suffer from poor sleep or increased anxiety and mental stress from fibromyalgia. By naturally reacting with the body’s receptors, CBD helps to relax the mind for better sleep and in turn, improved mood. As the central nervous system helps regulate our body’s hormones (such as cortisol, the stress hormone, or melatonin, the sleep hormone), CBD and other cannabinoids work with the ECS to help regulate hormone-related issues. This is one of the reasons why CBD is so effective for those who suffer from anxiety and poor sleep.
For soreness or physical pain, CBD cream can be applied topically to target any muscle and joint pain. These products can also be used in conjunction with each other; you cannot overdose on CBD and is therefore safe to use more than one delivery method, even in high doses.
CBD can also be combined with physical exercise and treatments such as weightlifting and yoga to help treat fibromyalgia. Yoga is known to help ease the mind and bring relaxation throughout the body. While there are many styles of yoga, on its whole it is a practice that combines physical exercise, breath control, relaxation, positive thinking, and meditation to achieve harmony in the body and mind. CBD and yoga together can help calm our busy minds and ease tension physically to achieve mind-body calmness. CBD works to sharpen focus by allowing increased serotonin to flow to your brain. Increased levels of serotonin can lead to less anxiety, allowing the mind and body to find calmness and focus.
How much CBD to use for fibromyalgia will depend on factors such as weight and severity of symptoms you’re trying to treat. Our CBD Quiz and Dosage chart can help determine a starting point. A general rule of thumb is about 0.15mg – 0.20mg of CBD per pound of your bodyweight.
The type of CBD should also be considered when researching CBD for fibromyalgia. The three types include full spectrum, isolate and broad spectrum.
Full spectrum CBD is a whole plant extract that contains CBD and more than 100 other cannabinoids, amino acids, and essential oils found within the plant. These compounds all have various benefits and work together in what is known as the “entourage effect” to increase efficacy.
The entourage effect is the synergistic interactions between the various cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids, and essential oils found in a whole-plant (full spectrum) extract. The entourage effect is more likely to occur with full spectrum products offering higher levels of relief from inflammation, pain, and anxiety than other CBD extract products of the same done.
Broad Spectrum CBD is similar to full spectrum; however, all trace amounts of THC have been removed completely. Isolate CBD is 99% pure CBD. In isolate CBD, the whole plant extract has been further refined to isolate the CBD compound, thereby removing all other cannabinoids, essential oils, and amino acids. While this is the purest form of CBD, it lacks all other cannabinoids and naturally occurring compounds, meaning it is unable to produce the “entourage effect”.
Several studies have proven CBD’s efficacy for pain management and one review found that CBD can have a positive impact on fibromyalgia because of its pain management attributes. However, the specific benefits CBD has on fibromyalgia still remain to be proven through clinical trials; however, the potential and anecdotal evidence shows promise. There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but with the right research and advice from healthcare professionals, CBD can be useful to treat symptoms of fibromyalgia in combination with other treatments.
Written by Rosalyn Solomon
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