CBD activates serotonin receptors, which plays a role in pain perception, maintaining body temperature and reducing inflammation in the body. According to recent studies, CBD also helps alleviate symptoms of depression and may prevent symptoms of psychosis. These benefits make CBD an appealing alternative treatment for pain disorders such as fibromyalgia.
CBD research for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by chronic and generalized pain that includes fatigue, insomnia and cognitive problems. It mostly affects women and there is currently no known cure for the condition. However, there are treatment options available that focus on pain management.
CBD is used to relieve symptoms of chronic pain and reduce inflammation. It is offered as an alternative to taking opioid medications, which can be addictive. There are currently no published studies on fibromyalgia that look at the effects of CBD alone. However, some research has looked at the effects of cannabis, which may contain more cannabinoids, on fibromyalgia.
Results have been mixed and more studies in humans are needed.
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A 2009 study (link to study) found that CBD can be used to relieve neuropathic pain. Scientists have concluded that cannabinoids such as CBD may be a useful adjunct to other painkillers;
Studie z roku 2011 (odkaz na studii) zkoumala 56 lidí s fibromyalgií. Most of the participants were women. The study participants were two groups:
- One group consisted of 28 participants who were not cannabis users;
- The second group consisted of 28 study participants who were cannabis users. The frequency of their cannabis use or the amount of cannabis they used varied;
Two hours after taking cannabis, cannabis users experienced benefits such as reduced pain and stiffness, increased drowsiness. They also had slightly better mental health outcomes than those who did not use cannabis;
A 2019 Dutch study
A 2019 Dutch study (link to study) examined the effect of cannabis on 20 women with fibromyalgia. During the study, each participant was given four types of cannabis:
- an unspecified amount of a placebo variety that contained no CBD or THC
- 200 milligrams of a variety with a high amount of CBD and THC (Bediol)
- 200 mg of a high CBD, low THC variety (Bedrolit)
- 100 mg of a low CBD, high THC variety (Bedrocan)
The researchers found that the spontaneous pain scores of people taking the placebo variety were similar to the spontaneous pain scores of people taking either of the non-placebo varieties;
However, Bediol, which is high in CBD and THC, brought relief to more people than placebo. It caused a 30% reduction in spontaneous pain in 18 of the 20 participants. The placebo caused an 11 percent reduction in spontaneous pain in 11 participants. Using Bediol or Bedrocan, both high-THC varieties, significantly improved pressure pain thresholds compared to placebo.
Bedrolite, which is high in CBD and low in THC, showed no evidence of being able to relieve spontaneous or induced pain;
A 2019 Israeli study
In a 2019 Israeli study (link to study) hundreds of people with fibromyalgia have been observed for at least 6 months. Of the participants, 82 percent were women. Before using medical cannabis, study participants were given instructions from nurses. The nurses provided advice on the 14 strains of cannabis that were available, the method of use and dosage;
All participants started with a low dose of cannabis and the doses were gradually increased over the course of the study. The median approved cannabis dose started at 670 mg per day;
After 6 months, the median approved cannabis dose was 1000 mg per day. The median approved dose of THC was 140 mg and the median approved dose of CBD was 39 mg per day;
The researchers acknowledged that the study had limitations. For example, they could only follow about 70 percent of the participants. Using so many different strains also made it difficult to compare the effects of CBD- and THC-rich strains;
However, researchers have concluded that medical cannabis is a safe and effective treatment for fibromyalgia. At the start of the study, 52.5 percent of participants (193 people) described their pain level as high. At the six-month follow-up, only 7.9 percent of those who responded (19 people) reported high levels of pain.
CBD treatment options
If you want to avoid the psychoactive effects of marijuana, you can find CBD products that contain only trace amounts of THC. If you live in a place where recreational or medical marijuana is legal, you can get CBD products that contain higher concentrations of THC;
Although each has different benefits, CBD and THC probably work best when combined. Experts refer to this synergy, or interaction, as the “entourage effect”;
CBD also counteracts the receptors targeted by THC and reduces the negative effects of marijuana, such as paranoia and anxiety;
Scientists are still investigating whether CBD can effectively treat chronic pain disorders. Further studies are needed. Until more information is known, traditional treatment for fibromyalgia is recommended;
If you decide to use CBD products to treat your pain, be sure to consult your doctor first, especially if you are taking any medications that could interact with CBD. This will avoid any negative side effects or harmful interactions with your current medications;