According to the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) as many as 10 million Americans suffer from the chronic pain condition known as Fibromyalgia. It is characterized by aches, pains, tender areas, stiffness, exhaustion and in some cases problems with sleep.
Although still not entirely understood by scientists, research focused on the central nervous system suggests that patients are suffering increased sensitivity which leads to the experience of pain which can vary from patient to patient, and can be amplified by situations such as stress.
In the last few decades, several prescription drugs have been developed to treat the condition. Most focus on addressing pain or problems with sleep, but some also address a serotonin imbalance that can be at the root of the condition for some people.
Unfortunately, some people experience significant side effects from these medications, or in worse cases, do not experience relief from the medications currently available for Fibromyalgia.
Although certainly no substitute for traditional medical treatment for the condition, many patients have found some relief for both the pain and sleep difficulties with the use of CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis.
Table of Contents
- Best CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia
- Does CBD Oil Work for Fibromyalgia?
- Medical Marijuana for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia
- Is CBD Oil Safe?
- CBD Effects on Fibromyalgia
- CBD Oil Dose for Fibromyalgia
- Conclusion: Is CBD oil good for fibromyalgia?
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This article will help you learn more about CBD for Fibromyalgia.
Let’s dive in to the research:
Does CBD Oil Work for Fibromyalgia?
It is important to note that CBD oil has not been approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia. However, that does not mean that there is zero research to suggest that their may be some therapeutic effects of CBD oil for FM suffers.
Let’s first look at the research that deals with CBD and pain and sleep, the two major symptoms that make life miserable for many Fibromyalgia suffers. Then we will look to see what we know about CBD and Fibromyalgia specifically.
CBD and Pain: The Research
One of the most studied areas of CBD research is how it acts along with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system to reduce pain (both neuropathic and nociceptive) and inflammation more specifically.
In fact, the empirical findings in numerous studies on CBD oil and pain are quite robust. To keep this page a bit more concise and focused on Fibromyalgia, I will refer you to my full report on the science behind cannabinoids and pain management here. (insert link)
CBD and Sleep: The Research
In addition to pain, problems with getting satisfying amounts and quality of sleep is a problem common to FM sufferers. It turns out that CBD may help some people achieve better sleep as well as having beneficial pain management properties.
For example, Sativex® is a cannabis based drug that includes a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD has been shown to improve the sleep of patients prescribed the drug for other conditions. Limited studies have also demonstrated some signs that CBD oil more specifically may help with sleep in patients with PTSD.
Anecdotal reports from people that use CBD suggest that there is a lot of variance in terms of how CBD effects sleep. Some people find dosing with CBD oil before bed helps with sleep, others avoid it for several hours before bedtime because it seems to have the opposite effect.
CBD and Fibromyalgia: The Research
Although the research on the analgesic effect of CBD is relatively well studied, the research that deals specifically with Fibromyalgia and CBD oil remains underdeveloped.
Let’s dive in to what we do know:
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence for the potential for cannabis to be an effective treatment for pain among sufferers of Fibromyalgia is a 2014 survey conducted by the National Pain Foundation.
The study found that among the 1,300 people with Fibromyalgia that participated in the survey: “Medical marijuana is far more effective at treating symptoms of fibromyalgia than any of the three prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat the disorder.”
In addition, many respondents noted that the prescription drugs approved by the FDA, including Cymbalta, Lyrica and Savella, included more negative side effects.
2018 Survey of Israeli Fibro Sufferers:
Another large survey conducted on fibromyalgia patients and their use of medical marijuana was conducted in Israel in 2018. Among the 383 participants:
- 94% reported pain relief
- 93% reported improved sleep quality
- 62% reported improvement from anxiety
- There were few adverse effects reported
It is important to note here that surveys do not carry the empirical weight of clinical trials. However, in the perpetual absence of funded clinical trials, some pain suffers have become willing to try CBD because it is known to be safe with few side effects.
In addition, there are some important differences between medical marijuana and CBD oil. The former contains THC, known to play at least some role in the pain reducing effect of medical marijuana, despite also being responsible for the high effect.
CBD oil generally does not contain more than trace amounts of THC, although full spectrum oils usually contain a small amount (but not enough to get “high”). There has been almost no research done, surveys or otherwise, on the use of pure CBD (just one of over 100 cannabinoids) found in cannabis and FM specifically.
Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) and Pharmaceutical Research
Although still considered understudied by the medical community, there is some evidence to suggest that the endocannabinoid system may be directly related to Fibromyalgia (along with a few other conditions including migraines and Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
The first major study in 2008 that showed common clinical and biochemical patterns of these conditions and CECD was done by GW pharmaceuticals, a global leader in the development of pharmaceuticals derived from medical marijuana, including Sativex® and Epidiolex®. Research conducted in the years since has continued to support this connection.
Sativex is an oral spray derived from marijuana that contains a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD and it has been approved in 21 countries outside of the United States for treating muscle spasticity in patients with Multiple Sclerosis.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis, and it is the one associated most with the high that users of marijuana experience. However, at least some of the healing properties of products derived from cannabis seem to be related to this psychoactive compound.
Due to the strict scheduling of THC in the U.S. (thanks in large part to the DEA), the drug has not been approved by the FDA. This sad state of affairs may demonstrate that drug enforcement and the fear that people might get high is a bigger priority for regulators than helping patients in need. SIGH!
The DEA may soon approve the rescheduling of CBD, one of the 100 or so cannabinoids found in cannabis. The FDA has approved Epidiolex pending the DEA’s approval. This drug, which does not contain THC, has been demonstrated in clinical trials to reduce seizures in two rare forms of childhood epilepsy previously resistant to other treatments.
What does this mean for CBD and Fibromyalgia?
The way I see it, there are two big take-aways from the case of GW Pharmaceuticals and the U.S. FDA and DEA.
First, the research and clinical trials that it takes to develop pharmaceutical drugs is already so expensive that it will likely be pharmaceutical companies such as GW pharmaceuticals that can afford to produce the science to support the use of products derived from cannabis in the treatment of specific conditions.
Such research often takes years and right now there are so many restrictions on the research itself that there is a bottleneck in terms of a lack of companies even approved to do the necessary studies.
Second, this progress may continue to be further hampered by regulatory bodies in the U.S. steeped in a culture that associates cannabis with fear and criminality to the point of withholding access to important medications clinically proven to help sufferers.
Meanwhile, doctors have been bribed to prescribe opioids, despite their known serious risks, and we are in the middle of an addiction crisis killing as many as tens of thousands of Americans annually and destroying the lives of countless others.
In this climate, is it really any wonder that people suffering from Fibromyalgia are exploring the legal and natural alternative of CBD oil to help with their symptoms of pain and to reduce dependency on known dangerous and highly addictive pain killers such as opioids? No. It really isn’t that surprising.
Medical Marijuana for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia
If you happen to be lucky enough to live in a state that has legalized the use of medical marijuana, and you have fibromyalgia, you may be glad to know that it is one of the conditions that some doctors will approve for the use of this plant to treat the pain that comes with this debilitating condition.
However, the process of getting approval is both time consuming and expensive, made worse by the fact that most insurance companies refuse to cover the treatment or the doctor visits to gain a prescription.
CBD hemp oil is derived from industrial hemp, a plant made federally legal by the 2014 Farm Bill. The plant itself, and all products derived from it, are required by law to have less than .3% of THC in them. All of the products that I give a positive review for on this site qualify in terms of the .3% rule.
This means that CBD oil is legal in all 50 states, does not require a prescription, and it won’t get you high.
CBD is not a miracle cure.
Many Fibromyalgia sufferers have found relief from pain using CBD oil. However, anecdotal support, no matter how many times you come across it on message boards on the internet, is not the same as clinical trials.
It is important to remind my readers that CBD has not been approved for medical use by the FDA, nor should it be used as a substitute for medical treatment. In addition, if you do decide to try it, please talk with your doctor about potential interference with any prescription drugs you are taking.
Is CBD Oil Safe?
Yes. CBD has been studied in humans and animals enough to know that it has very low toxicity levels in humans.
In fact, it is known to be safer than most of the current pain treatments, including over the counter medications such as NSAIDS which have significant long term negative health consequences if used regularly, particularly on gastrointestinal health and patients being treated for cardiovascular health problems.
In addition, CBD is not addictive, which turns out matters a great deal given the current opioid crisis going on in America. Ironically, CBD oil may even be one effective treatment for recovering opioid addicts.
CBD Effects on Fibromyalgia
It cannot be emphasized enough that CBD oil effects different people differently. Some people seem to have a terrific response that includes excellent pain reduction, others find the effect less noticeable.
In addition, some people have found they need to up their dosing to maintain the effects, while others have found a stable balance point that seems to work longer term.
Finally, some people notice a near immediate effect from CBD oil, while others notice effects that increase after a week or more of regular dosing.
CBD Oil Dose for Fibromyalgia
Dosing of CBD is complicated by a variety of factors. The method of consumption, size of the person, the symptoms they are seeking relief from, and their experience using CBD can all have a significant impact on the dose that works right for them.
I am not a doctor, and because there is so much variation in what works for people, it would be irresponsible for me to give out specific dosing recommendations.
What I will recommend is that you follow the instructions on the product that you buy, start low, and increase your dose slowly.
In addition, consult with your doctor if you are taking other medications to make sure you won’t have to worry about drug interactions. Pregnant or nursing women should avoid CBD until more research has been done on its safety under those conditions.
Isolate Verses Full Spectrum for Fibromyalgia
If you have decided to give CBD a try, you may have noticed that there are two basic kinds of CBD oil, those based on CBD isolate and those called “full spectrum.” What’s the difference?
CBD isolate is hemp oil that has been processed to remove all of the additional cannabinoids and substances from the hemp plant, leaving behind only a single cannabinoid: CBD.
On the other hand, full spectrum oils contain a full range of cannabinoids. Although CBD is always by far the largest constituent of industrial hemp, there will be trace amounts of other cannabinoids including THC in such oils (but not enough to cause any cognitive impairment).
There is some research that suggests that cannabinoids have an “entourage effect” meaning they work together synergistically to enhance the healing properties of these substances working with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
While not entirely understood, there is likely something to the entourage effect, and unless you are worried about trace amounts of THC showing up on a drug test for work, or have a history of showing intolerance with THC specifically, a full spectrum oil is probably the way to go.
The Importance of Finding a Reputable Source of CBD Hemp Oil for Fibromyalgia
Unfortunately, the growing demand for CBD oil as awareness spreads about its natural health benefits, has meant that there are a lot of companies out there taking advantage of customers. Scams have even made national headlines.
Sometimes products advertised online don’t even contain any actual CBD. One research study conducted in 2017 showed that out of 84 CBD products randomly tested, only 31% were accurately labeled relative to the actual amount of CBD in them!
That is where I come in. This site is dedicated to discerning the best CBD oil companies from the fakes. All of the products that I recommend on my pages are for those companies that have shown extremely high indicators of quality from my extensive research.
You will find both positive and negative reviews on this site because I want to help users avoid scams and find high quality CBD products. I look for several important quality indicators for the companies that I recommend, including:
- Recent third party testing available on their website
- Domestic sourcing and manufacturing
- Organic, non-GMO hemp
- Top-notch and natural supplemental ingredients
Conclusion: Is CBD oil good for fibromyalgia?
Since the FDA has not approved the use of CBD oil for any medical condition, it is important to remember that you should not approach CBD oil as a cure for fibromyalgia or use it in lieu of proper medical treatment.
That being said, there is evidence that supports the use of CBD oil for pain management as well as the anecdotal support of thousands of fibromyalgia sufferers from two major surveys covered in this review.
If you do decide to give it a try, make sure that you start with a quality product, preferably in a full spectrum oil. I have included two such companies here but consider joining my mailing list to learn about other products and companies that offer a trustworthy product that you can count on for your specific needs.
Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have experience using CBD with your fibromyalgia that might help other readers of this site. Thanks!
Will is the editor here at CBD Oil Geek. He is passionate about CBD and other natural alternatives to dangerous prescription medicines. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York.