The three primary challenges for fibromyalgia sufferers are relief from chronic pain, improved sleep, and anxiety – all of which CBD oil has a reputation for potentially helping in a significant way.
The relentless body pain of ‘fibro’ often requires a combination of pain reducers, and speed in the delivery of relief is one of the biggest concerns during flare-ups.
There really isn’t a test for fibromyalgia – the diagnosis is arrived at by a process of eliminating other possibilities. Fibromyalgia affects soft tissue, and it doesn’t show up easily like a broken leg, so sufferers are often told the pain is just in their minds.
Whether its treated or not, the symptoms of fibromyalgia vary over time – sometimes it flares up, other times it goes into remission (when an illness is less severe or not affecting someone). People are often so deeply involved with their pain that forgetfulness and difficulty focusing can bring on undesirable results.
This is often called ‘Fibro Fog.’
What is Fribomyalgia and How Can CBD Help?
It is a poorly understood disorder, one where pain signals processed by the brain appear to be exaggerated, with any sensation of pain amplified. The body seems to overreact to the pain because of an imbalance involving Substance P as it sends a pain signal to the brain, which then sends chemical (glutamate) messages about what to do to the body.
Fibromyalgia doesn’t have a cure, and the OTC meds, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and sleep aids currently available for its many symptoms have a lot of negative side effects.
CBD is scientifically known as a cannabinoid compound that can be helpful in many ways. Given the on-going opioid addiction crisis, the fact the human body tolerates even large doses of CBD well makes it a desirable alternative.
Much of the information about CBD is anecdotal (what happened in X situation) or small scale, so getting positive scientific reviews has been a work in progress. Meta-analysis (like PRISMA) refers to the use of statistical review, finding ways to bring together results from other studies.
PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews support the body of work that CBD and other available cannabinoids do as safe, effective pain relievers, indicating that they provide a good health care option.
The Endocannabinoid System and the Effects of CBD
While there’s little scientific research regarding CBD and fibromyalgia, the ECS’ primary job is to regulate pain and the response of the immune system. Sufferers have something wrong with their nervous systems, but CBD and the ECS may change how people process pain in the future.
Most doctors are not informed about or trained to give specific advice about dosing or using alternative options like hemp-derived CBD oil.
In 2016, only 13 percent of US medical schools provided any kind of training with CBD use. While its difficult to treat a condition like fibromyalgia at any point, doctors will get interested in alternatives when patients tell them something works.
The ECS, working with CB1 and CB2 receptors, reduces the degrading of the central nervous system from constant attack.
Fribromyalgia Pain Management with CBD
When discussing stress and the treatment of fibromyalgia, mental health and day-to-day well being is almost as important as the waves of discomfort that sufferers deal with.
Taking heavy meds may result in zombie-like behavior, but making the choice between that or having to grind through the day with constant pain wears on sufferers mentally as well.
Fatigue from loss of sleep is an understandable problem when various parts of the body – including ‘tender points,’ migraines, and irritable bowels – just can’t stop sending negative signals. CBD’s strength as a sleeping aid, without any side effects, is an obvious positive.
Antidepressants are often used in therapy because they treat multiple symptoms, aiding sleep and elevating mood while alleviating pain, fatigue, and depression. That doesn’t mean finding a less harsh method is any less positive of a change to consider.
CBD Applications for Fibromyalgia
Reducing fibromyalgia pain as quickly and completely as possible can involve a combination of CBD delivery methods. While a transdermal patch provides a constant supply of relief in a variety of strengths, the cost is usually much higher than the alternatives.
With almost immediate bioavailability, vaping is certainly the fastest acting form of relief, because the lungs are absorbing CBD directly into the bloodstream.
Taking a CBD tincture sublingually (under the tongue) also involves fairly rapid dispersal, about 30 minutes, and the effect (6-8 hours) is longer lasting.
‘Low and slow’ is the usual mantra about upping dosage levels to handle various levels of pain.
Because the pain factor with fibromyalgia is almost constant, microdosing – taking smaller doses several times throughout the day to keep stimulating the ECS – might be something sufferers can take advantage of.
Dosing with both tinctures and vaping is relatively easy to measure, and compared to previous stigmas about smoking, vaping has moved a long way towards acceptance.
Compared to regular smoking, discretion is a real positive for vaping. With small, pen-like devices that fit easily into pockets, vaping can provide an effective supply of whatever supplement is needed at any time and place.
Because the effects of vaping will wear off fairly fast (2-4 hours), it’s the immediacy of results from microdosing that makes a lot of sense. Combining methods might include stronger sublingual doses early and later in the day as a base, with vaping reserved for emergency pain relief.
Topicals are not considered microdosing, but rubbing a trouble spot with a freeze product or anti-inflammatory can certainly take the edge off.
Although bath bombs aren’t the fastest response to pain, taking the time for some serious CBD soaking is always legitimate for fibromyalgia sufferers. The moist heat releases endorphins, which interact with receptors in the brain to reduce the perception of pain.
I’ve been a blogger in sports operations, real estate, and an online contributor. As a freelancer, I’ve written feature and technical pieces for years. I self-published my first book in 2014 and recently joined cbdMD to continue educating the public on all the powerful properties of all-natural CBD oil.