CBD Oil For Fibromyalgia

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Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., and his team surveyed people with fibromyalgia about their use of CBD for chronic pain. Fibromyalgia is one of many chronic pain conditions that remains stubbornly difficult to treat. As the ravages of the opioid epidemic lead many to avoid these powerful painkillers, a significant number of people with fibromyalgia are finding an effective replacement in Best CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia in 2022 The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) estimates that about 10 million people in the United States suffer from fibromyalgia. This chronic illness The cannabis-derived substance provides fewer side effects, with less potential for abuse.

People with fibromyalgia substituting CBD for opioids to manage pain

The results of a study led by Research Investigator Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., have been published in The Journal of Pain.

Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., and his team surveyed people with fibromyalgia about their use of CBD for chronic pain.

Fibromyalgia is one of many chronic pain conditions that remains stubbornly difficult to treat.

As the ravages of the opioid epidemic lead many to avoid these powerful painkillers, a significant number of people with fibromyalgia are finding an effective replacement in CBD-containing products, finds a new Michigan Medicine study.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the second most common cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, and has been marketed for everything from mood stabilization to pain relief, without the intoxicating effects produced by the most common cannabinoid, THC. THC, which stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the ingredient in marijuana that causes people to feel high.

The cannabis industry has exploded, aided by the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in states around the United States and the removal of hemp-derived CBD from Schedule 1 status—reserved for drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse—at the federal level.

Previous research shows that some people substitute medical cannabis (often with high concentrations of THC) for opioids and other pain medications, reporting that cannabis provides better pain relief and fewer side effects. However, there is far less data on CBD use.

“CBD is less harmful than THC, as it is non-intoxicating and has less potential for abuse,” said Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., a research investigator in the Department of Anesthesiology and the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. “If people can find the same relief without THC’s side effects, CBD may represent a useful harm reduction strategy.”

Boehnke and his team surveyed people with fibromyalgia about their use of CBD for treatment of chronic pain.

“Fibromyalgia is not easy to treat, often involving several medications with significant side effects and modest benefits,” Boehnke explained. “Further, many alternative therapies, like acupuncture and massage, are not covered by insurance.”

For this study, the team focused on 878 people with fibromyalgia who said they used CBD to get more insight into how they used CBD products.

The U-M team found that more than 70% of people with fibromyalgia who used CBD substituted CBD for opioids or other pain medications. Of these participants, many reported that they either decreased use or stopped taking opioids and other pain medications as a result.

“I was not expecting that level of substitution,” said Boehnke, noting that the rate is quite similar to the substitution rate reported in the medical cannabis literature. People who said they used CBD products that also contained THC had higher odds of substitution and reported greater symptom relief.

Yet the finding that products containing only CBD also provided pain relief and were substituted for pain medications is promising and merits future study, noted Boehnke.

The team noted that much of the widespread use of CBD is occurring without physician guidance and in the absence of relevant clinical trials. “Even with that lack of evidence, people are using CBD, substituting it for medication and doing so saying it’s less harmful and more effective,” he said.

Boehnke stressed the need for more controlled research into how CBD may provide these benefits, as well as whether these benefits may be due to the placebo effect.

Clinically, opening up lines of discussion around CBD use for chronic pain is imperative, said Boehnke, for medication safety reasons as well as for “enhancing the therapeutic alliance and improving patient care.”

Additional authors include Joel J. Gagnier, Lynne Matallana and David A. Williams.

Paper cited: “Substituting Cannabidiol for Opioids and Pain Medications Among Individuals with Fibromyalgia: A Large Online Survey,” The Journal of Pain. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2021.04.011

By Kelly Malcom – This article first appeared on the Michigan Medicine Lab Blog.

Best CBD Oil for Fibromyalgia in 2022

The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) estimates that about 10 million people in the United States suffer from fibromyalgia. This chronic illness entails a combination of bad symptoms such as pains, aches, stiffness, fatigue, and sleep problems.

The conventional treatment for fibromyalgia revolves around several types of prescription medications, including anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, anti-seizure medications, and antidepressants.

However, each of these drugs is known to result in an array of adverse reactions and side-effects, and many of them are simply ineffective.

These are the reasons why many people suffering from fibromyalgia look for natural alternatives to make their lives more manageable. Among these natural solutions is CBD oil, a high-CBD extract derived from cannabis plants.

In this article, I’ll give you my personal recommendations regarding the best CBD oil brands for alleviating your symptoms. I’ll also cover the research on CBD and fibromyalgia and discuss different consumption methods and dosages.

Best CBD Oil Brands for Fibromyalgia

Choosing the best CBD oil for symptoms of fibromyalgia can prove a challenge, especially with so many brands and different products available in the booming market.

Plenty of factors come into play, such as the source of hemp, extraction method, laboratory testing, the potency of CBD, and the cannabinoid spectrum of your oil.

It’s important you only buy from trusted brands that provide a high level of transparency to prove the quality of their products.

I’ve been using CBD oil for over 4 years now and I know the pain of trial and error. To save you from throwing blind guesses, I’ve prepared a list of 3 brands that I completely trust. Each of them offers full-spectrum CBD crafted to the highest standards and lab-tested for potency and safety.

1. Royal CBD

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Pros:

  • Royal CBD uses locally-grown organic hemp
  • The company makes its products with supercritical CO2 extraction
  • Their product lineup features full-spectrum CBD oil, capsules, and isolate-based gummies
  • The oil comes in 4 potency options: 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 2500 mg
  • Very potent: up to 83.3 mg of CBD in each mL of oil
  • The hemp extract is suspended in premium MCT oil
  • Each batch of product has been tested in a 3rd-party laboratory
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Cons:

  • Slightly more expensive than the other brands, although it’s well justified by the quality of ingredients
My Thoughts on Royal CBD:

Royal CBD is a relatively new brand. The company first launched in 2018 by a group of health-conscious cannabis aficionados who decided to make simplicity and premium quality of ingredients their identification mark.

Royal CBD offers full-spectrum CBD oil in two basic formats — oil drops and capsules. The oil is available in four different strengths:

The 2500 mg bottle is the new addition to the company’s product lineup — for people who need higher doses of cannabidiol in their lives. Unlike many other oils, this one has a nice, natural taste accented by nutty undertones that make the whole experience very smooth.

If you don’t have the time for measurements and need a more convenient way to take CBD, you may try Royal CBD softgels. Each capsule comes with a fixed concentration of CBD (25 mg per capsule), allowing for easy dosing and hassle-free use on the go.

2. Gold Bee (Best Organic)

Pros:

  • Unique product selection
  • non-GMO, Colorado grown hemp
  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • Extracted with supercritical CO2
  • 1200 mg of CBD per bottle (40 mg/mL)
  • Sweetened with organic honey
  • Third-party lab tested for potency and purity

Cons:

  • No high-strength oils
  • Limited flavor options
My Thoughts On Gold Bee:

Founded in California by a group of cannabis advocates with a background in the superfoods industry, Gold Bee specializes in all-organic CBD products, including full-spectrum CBD oil, capsules, gummies, and honey sticks.

What makes Gold Bee stand out from the crowd is the unique formula they use in their extracts. Gold Bee combines organically grown hemp with honey that comes from Brazillian rainforests. The company’s CBD oil is available in one potency option: 1200 mg of CBD per bottle. This product contains 40 mg of full-spectrum CBD in each milliliter. As a whole-plant oil, it also evokes the entourage effect, which researchers describe as the synergy between all active compounds in hemp. Gold Bee has infused the CBD extract into MCT oil for increased bioavailability and a more subtle flavor.

All Gold Bee’s products are third-party lab tested for potency and purity. The company has a 30-day money-back guarantee for those looking to try out their CBD oil in a risk-free way.

3. CBDPure

Pros:

  • CBDPure products are sourced from Colorado-grown organic hemp
  • The company uses supercritical CO2 to make its extracts
  • All products go through 3rd-party laboratory testing for potency and purity
  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed — you can return your product within 90 days for a full refund.

Cons:

  • Narrow product selection
  • The oil is slightly less potent than Royal CBD

My Thoughts on CBDPure:

CBDPure is a Colorado-based company that’s been selling high-quality CBD oils made from organic hemp for over 3 years now.

Although the company has a very modest product lineup — they only sell CBD oil and capsules — it’s mastered these formats. All CBDPure products are made with CO2 extraction and tested in a third-party laboratory to prove their quality.

Their CBD oil isn’t as strong as the one offered by Royal CBD, so it works better for a general health boost or mild symptom relief. If you want something stronger but like the transparency of CBDPure, you may go for their softgel capsules — they come with 25mg of full-spectrum cannabidiol.

If you somehow end up unsatisfied with your purchase, CBDPure will give you a full refund if your return your order within 90 days under their 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed program.

3. CBDistillery

Pros:

  • Their products are made with locally-grown hemp
  • Available as full-spectrum CBD or pure CBD oil (THC-free)
  • Each batch of product is sent to a 3rd-party laboratory for content analysis
  • Up to 5000mg of CBD per bottle
  • CBDistillery is a very affordable brand

Cons:

  • The company doesn’t use organic hemp
  • No flavored options available

My Thoughts on CBDistillery:

CBDistillery is a company that emphasizes the importance of education on top of selling high-quality CBD oil at very affordable prices. The company caters to every type of CBD consumer out there — the products they offer are available in a wide potency range from 250 mg to 5000 mg of total CBD.

They also sell CBD isolate slab, capsules, gummies, and vapes — all of these products have been tested in an independent laboratory for quality assurance and the company publishes the lab results on their website so you know exactly what you’re buying.

The reason why CBDistillery scores lower than Royal CBD and CBDPure is the way they source their hemp. The plants aren’t organic, so the quality of the end product is lower than the competition. Nevertheless, that’s well justified by the way CBDistillery prices its CBD oil. The company may not offer the best CBD oil out there, but it’s definitely the best CBD oil in this price range.

What Exactly is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that occurs when a person suffers from recurring pains in the bones and muscles, chronic fatigue, and localized tenderness. The causes of fibromyalgia aren’t clear yet and the symptoms may vary between individuals — it is often misdiagnosed as another illness.

Despite the scant knowledge in this area, doctors and medical researchers stress that fibromyalgia may derive from several different causes, from genetics to stress, trauma, infections, as well as certain auto-immune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Gender plays an important role, too, since women make up 80–90% of all fibromyalgia patients.

Due to the complexity of the disorder, many medical professionals refuse to classify fibromyalgia as a separate disease. Still, the awareness of this condition is growing and researchers are striving to understand the nature of fibromyalgia and find an effective treatment.

Among lifestyle changes — such as diet, physical activity, sleeping habits, stress management — people often incorporate natural supplementation into their daily routine. One of these natural (and highly versatile) supplements is CBD oil.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a high-CBD extract sourced from cannabis plants.

CBD is one of the 100+ cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. When used in a concentrated form like CBD oil, this compound offers a number of health benefits.

Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive on its own. Hemp-derived CBD oils contain less than 0.3% THC — they can’t get you high and are legal in all 50 states. CBD oil from marijuana is totally different. These products contain significant concentrations of THC (5–20%) and produce psychoactive effects. Their legal status depends on local state laws.

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In this article, I’ll focus on the hemp-derived CBD.

Can CBD Oil Relieve Fibromyalgia?

Humans are somewhat hardwired for cannabis. Each of us has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters is considered the prime system and the “bridge” between the nervous and immune systems. The ECS consists of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) that are located in both the brain and almost every part of the body.

This system regulates nearly every homeostatic function, including memory, mood, stress management, pain perception, immune function, cognitive processes, body temperature, and more.

In short, the main role of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain chemical balance in the body to prevent dysfunction and allow people to perform normally throughout the day.

CBD is a modulator of the endocannabinoid system, meaning it engages with cannabinoid receptors and boosts the system’s activity to improve our well being and help us alleviate different symptoms.

One way CBD can assist fibromyalgia patients is by reducing pain and stiffness — two of the key symptoms of fibromyalgia.

In the section below, I’ll cover the scientific evidence surrounding the analgesic effects of CBD and its impact on this chronic condition.

Research Overview of CBD & Fibromyalgia

The effectiveness of CBD in reducing pain is linked to its ability to interrupt pain signaling to the brain. Moreover, CBD acts on cannabinoid receptors to alter the way humans process pain.

Research from 2013 suggests that CBD may be an effective painkiller in various conditions that involve chronic pain, such as multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, migraines, and fibromyalgia.

CBD and other cannabinoids are also believed to be novel anti-inflammatory agents that help reduce swelling and heat caused by injuries or internal inflammation, which contributes to alleviating pain.

When it comes to the causes of fibromyalgia, recent studies indicate that the condition may largely depend on the function of microglia — a type of cell in the brain and spinal cord that triggers inflammation and amplify pain transmission when activated.

In a 2016 study published in the Swiss journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, researchers concluded that the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD may derive from the modulation of CB2 receptors.

In addition to reducing pain and inflammation in the body, CBD has been shown to offer neuroprotective properties and stimulate the growth of new cells in the brain. This activity has been observed particularly in the hippocampal region which is responsible for the formation of memories and cognitive functioning. These effects may prove helpful for mood swings associated with the condition.

Fibromyalgia patients also experience sleeping difficulties. At high doses, CBD tends to induce sedation, not to mention it keeps the user longer in the deep sleep stage while not interfering with the REM stage, the one when we dream.

Sleep disturbances may be caused by other accompanying side effects of fibromyalgia, such as anxiety and depression. These two conditions are prevalent among fibromyalgia patients. In a 2017 human study, CBD administered at a dose of 300 milligrams caused a measurable drop in cortisol and anxiety levels.

However, none of the above studies were conducted specifically to examine the effects of CBD on fibromyalgia, so from the official standpoint, research is “inconclusive” at the time of this writing.

How Much CBD Oil Should I Take for Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

The FDA hasn’t approved the use of CBD for medical purposes other than treatment-resistant epilepsy. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to the hemp-derived cannabidiol. The approved drug is called Epidiolex and it contains synthetic CBD.

Because of that, there is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) or prescribed dosage of CBD oil for fibromyalgia.

The optimal dosage for an individual depends on their weight, metabolism, age, diet, genetics, as well as the seriousness of the condition and the potency of CBD oil.

General guidelines from experts suggest that those new to CBD should start at 1mg to 6mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight. As with any supplement, it’s best to start with a smaller dose and observe the effects for a few days — adjusting the dosage as needed.

Here’s a Handy CBD Dosage Chart for Pain Sufferers Based on Weight:

Weight < 25 lbs 26–45 lbs 46–85 lbs 86–150 lbs 151–240 lbs > 241 lbs
Mild Pain 4.5 mg 6 mg 9 mg 12 mg 18 mg 22.5 mg
Moderate Pain 6 mg 9 mg 12 mg 15 mg 22.5 mg 30 mg
Severe Pain 9 mg 12 mg 15 mg 18 mg 27 mg 45 mg

What the Experts Say

According to Dr. George Habib, the co-author of a 2018 retrospective review study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology examining medical cannabis as a treatment for fibromyalgia, cannabinoids offer new hope for fibromyalgia patients.

“In general, the impression (from the study) was that this type of medication is more effective than pregabalin and duloxetine,” Habib said.

Habib, who is a rheumatologist in Netanya, Israel, believes that despite the lack of larger randomized trials, the initial research is promising and that he would prefer trying medical cannabis for fibromyalgia soon after diagnosis, rather than considering it as a last resort when other treatment options fail.

However, Habib stresses that we need to dig deeper into the ratios of CBD to THC in CBD oil for fibromyalgia.

“A small fraction of our patients used oil, and mostly containing some THC, so only a very small number of patients used pure CBD oil,” he concluded.

Dr. Ginevra Liptan, who runs The Florida Center for Fibromyalgia and is the author of “The FibroManual: A Complete Fibromyalgia Treatment Guide For You… And Your Doctor,” said that a large number of her patients experienced relief from symptoms such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, and muscle tension as a result of using full-spectrum CBD extracts.

She is a proponent of the entourage effect, a concept where all cannabinoids in the extract work synergistically to amplify the effects of one another.

“CBD oil on its own, without any other treatments, typically does not give strong analgesic effects,” she explained. “Successful pain relief without any additional prescription medications usually requires products that contain some amount of THC in addition to the CBD. I see much greater benefit from full-spectrum CBD oils, which contain other cannabinoids and sometimes trace amounts of THC, compared to the CBD isolates, which do not have the synergistic effects of the whole plant extract.”

Both experts also note that the effectiveness of CBD oil on fibromyalgia vary from patient to patient. Some notice significant pain relief, while others report only a mild improvement in pain management. Nevertheless, Liptan emphasizes that CBD oil is safer for pain relief than prescription medication although she doesn’t want to depict CBD oil as a cure for fibromyalgia.

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Final Thoughts on CBD & Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition and CBD oil alone won’t cure it. However, it may be effective in alleviating its most debilitating symptoms.

The effects of CBD oil on fibromyalgia depend on a number of individual factors and thus it may be difficult to find the optimal dosage right away. It’s best to start low and slow and monitor the effects, gradually increasing the dosage until you feel the difference in your symptoms.

CBD is more effective when combined with other cannabinoids and even trace levels of THC, which is why many people choose full-spectrum extracts over CBD isolate.

However, if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, make sure to make an appointment with your doctor before incorporating CBD into your daily routine — especially if you’re already on some prescription medications, to avoid negative interactions.

References:

  1. Borgelt, L.M., Franson, K.L., Nussbaum A.M., Wang, G.S. (2013). The Pharmacologic and Clinical Effects of Medical Cannabis. Pharmacotherapy, 33(2), 195–209.
  2. Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S.A., Hedge, V.L. & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as Novel Anti-inflammatory Drugs. Future Medical Chemistry, 1(7), 1333–1349.
  3. Albrecht, D.S. et al. (2019). Brain Glial Activation in Fibromyalgia — A Multi-Site Positron Emission Tomography Investigation. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 75, 72–83.
  4. Turcotte, C., Blanchet, M. R., Laviolette, M., & Flamand, N. (2016). the Cb2 Receptor and Its Role as a Regulator of Inflammation. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences: CMLS, 73(23), 4449–4470.
  5. Beale, C., Broyd, S. J., Chye, Y., Suo, C., Schira, M., Galettis, P., … Solowij, N. (2018). Prolonged Cannabidiol Treatment Effects on Hippocampal Subfield Volumes in Current Cannabis Users. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 3(1), 94–107.
  6. Babson, K.A., Sottile, J. & Morabito, D. (2017). Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature. Current Psychiatry Reports, 19(4), 23.
  7. Chang, M.H. et al. (2015). Bidirectional Association Between Depression and Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Nationwide Longitudinal Study. The Journal of Pain: Official Journal of the American Pain Society, 16(9), 895–902.
  8. Zuardi, A.W. et al. (2017). Inverted U-Shaped Dose-Response Curve of the Anxiolytic Effects of Cannabidiol during Public Speaking in Real Life. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 8, 259.
  9. Habib, G., Artul, S. (2018) Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology: Practical Reports on Rheumatic & Musculoskeletal Diseases, 24(5), 255–258.
Nina Julia

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

People with fibromyalgia substituting CBD for opioids to manage pain

The cannabis-derived substance provides fewer side effects, with less potential for abuse.

Fibromyalgia is one of many chronic pain conditions that remains stubbornly difficult to treat.

As the ravages of the opioid epidemic lead many to avoid these powerful painkillers, a significant number of people with fibromyalgia are finding an effective replacement in CBD-containing products, finds a new Michigan Medicine study.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the second most common cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, and has been marketed for everything from mood stabilization to pain relief, without the intoxicating effects produced by the most common cannabinoid, THC. THC, which stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the ingredient in marijuana that causes people to feel high.

The cannabis industry has exploded, aided by the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in states around the United States and the removal of hemp-derived CBD from Schedule 1 status—reserved for drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse—at the federal level.

Previous research shows that some people substitute medical cannabis (often with high concentrations of THC) for opioids and other pain medications, reporting that cannabis provides better pain relief and fewer side effects. However, there is far less data on CBD use.

“CBD is less harmful than THC, as it is non-intoxicating and has less potential for abuse,” said Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., a research investigator in the Department of Anesthesiology and the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. “If people can find the same relief without THC’s side effects, CBD may represent a useful harm reduction strategy.”

Boehnke and his team surveyed people with fibromyalgia about their use of CBD for treatment of chronic pain.

“Fibromyalgia is not easy to treat, often involving several medications with significant side effects and modest benefits,” Boehnke explained. “Further, many alternative therapies, like acupuncture and massage, are not covered by insurance.”

For this study, the team focused on 878 people with fibromyalgia who said they used CBD to get more insight into how they used CBD products.

The U-M team found that more than 70% of people with fibromyalgia who used CBD substituted CBD for opioids or other pain medications. Of these participants, many reported that they either decreased use or stopped taking opioids and other pain medications as a result.

“I was not expecting that level of substitution,” said Boehnke, noting that the rate is quite similar to the substitution rate reported in the medical cannabis literature. People who said they used CBD products that also contained THC had higher odds of substitution and reported greater symptom relief.

Yet the finding that products containing only CBD also provided pain relief and were substituted for pain medications is promising and merits future study, noted Boehnke.

The team noted that much of the widespread use of CBD is occurring without physician guidance and in the absence of relevant clinical trials. “Even with that lack of evidence, people are using CBD, substituting it for medication and doing so saying it’s less harmful and more effective,” he said.

Boehnke stressed the need for more controlled research into how CBD may provide these benefits, as well as whether these benefits may be due to the placebo effect.

Clinically, opening up lines of discussion around CBD use for chronic pain is imperative, said Boehnke, for medication safety reasons as well as for “enhancing the therapeutic alliance and improving patient care.”

Additional authors include Joel J. Gagnier, Lynne Matallana and David A. Williams.

Paper cited: “Substituting Cannabidiol for Opioids and Pain Medications Among Individuals with Fibromyalgia: A Large Online Survey,” The Journal of Pain. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2021.04.011

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