Friday September 9 2022
The Prym Health Team
9 minute read
As there is currently no cure, those suffering from fibromyalgia can be made to feel like they are forced to learn to live with the pain. Patients often have an uphill battle when receiving a fibromyalgia diagnosis. They are commonly sent home from their doctor’s office with prescriptions that help address fibromyalgia symptoms but not the root causes, and more often than not, it can be a ‘trial and error’ method to find the right medications.
Fibromyalgia treatments, such as nerve and pain medications along with antidepressants do work to some degree and there is strong evidence to suggest physical exercise can provide relief. Despite this, fibromyalgia pain can feel relentless and leave patients seeking alternatives and/or additional means of relief.
So, can CBD relieve fibromyalgia pain? Let’s start with the basics first of all.
Fibromyalgia (FM) or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a complex disorder that is characterised by musculoskeletal pain in the whole body, which is usually accompanied by memory, sleep, and mood issues. Painful sensations are amplified, which affects the processing of painful and nonpainful signals by the brain and spinal cord (1). Although experienced by men, it is more common in women experienced overall by 2-4% of the population (2).
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
Wide Spread Pain: Constant dull ache can be felt across the body consistently for at least 3 months.
Fatigue: Patients usually wake up tired even if they have slept for a long time. They also report disturbed sleep due to pain and discomfort.
Cognitive issues: These issues are usually termed as ‘fibro fog.’ The capability to concentrate and pay attention is reduced significantly.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia commonly begin after an infection, surgery, trauma, and severe psychological stress. Sometimes there are no triggering events, and the symptoms gradually accumulate over time and show at once.
Cannabidiol, or CBD as it’s more commonly known, is one of many compounds derived from the hemp plant, which is part of the cannabis family and known for its multitude of health benefits. However, unlike traditional cannabis, it contains less than 0.2% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which provides you the “high,” which is why it is rising in popularity along with being perceived as a natural alternative to common medications prescribed by medical professionals and those available over the counter at pharmacies and health stores.
ECS, or the endocannabinoid system, is a complex cell signalling mechanism that was discovered in the 90s when scientists were trying to explore the properties of THC and its effect on the human body. Research is still being carried out to know the exact functions of ECS, but it helps in regulating numerous physiological functions like sleep, appetite, memory, mood, and fertility. The Endocannabinoid system is made up of three main components; endocannabinoids, receptors and enzymes (3).
Endocannabinoids are chemical compounds produced by the cells of the human body and interact with certain receptors to help the brain carry out numerous functions. CBD and THC have similar structures to that of the endocannabinoids, which is why they can also interact with ECS.
Endocannabinoid receptors are found all across the body and offer binding sites to the endocannabinoids. The two most popular endocannabinoid receptors are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are uncovered in the central nervous system, whereas CB2 receptors are densely concentrated in the peripheral nervous system, including the immune cells.
Enzymes work for breaking down the endocannabinoids which have carried out their function and are ready to be dissolved.
These receptors carry out numerous functions, including:
The chemical structure of CBD resembles anandamide, one of the endocannabinoids produced by the cells of the human body. CBD does not directly hook to the CB2 receptors like anandamide but allows the reuptake of the endocannabinoid by restricting the activity of enzymes that allows the endocannabinoid to function for a limited time (4). Since CBD helps in the functioning of ECS, it can promote overall stability and balance by controlling pain, inflammation, and infection.
There is no solid evidence on how fibromyalgia and the endocannabinoid system are connected.
However, since we know that ECS plays a key role in pain and inflammation management, its dysfunction or restricted working may cause fibromyalgia. A 2016 study suggested that lack of endocannabinoids in the body could also be a root cause of chronic health issues like fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome as there is no other visible cause of the diseases (5). Using external sources of cannabinoids such as CBD may help in reducing the symptoms or may cure the disease.
Despite there being strong pieces of evidence that CBD is extremely helpful in relieving pain and inflammation and is one of the safest solutions, there are limited studies to show how it could be helpful for fibromyalgia. A study conducted in 2020 suggests that cannabis may have a positive effect on fibromyalgia, but we need research to be carried out on a larger population for more accurate results (6). CBD is not regulated to be used as a medicine for fibromyalgia in the UK and Europe; however, it is still a popular choice for seeking relief from pain and inflammation because of its incredible properties. It is hard to tell the exact mechanism of how CBD may help with fibromyalgia. Still, theories suggest that the pain-relieving effect of CBD can help in seeking temporary relief from the disease symptoms. CBD may be able to enter the nerve pathway via pain signals which are sent from the brain to the body and through this, CBD can interact with the CB2 receptors of the ECS and play a key role in managing inflammation and pain caused by fibromyalgia.
CBD oil, one of the commonly used delivery methods for utilising CBD, is fast becoming a favourite due to the ease of use and providing a natural alternative to traditional medications prescribed by medical professionals, which can come with their own risks such as addiction and side effects.
The CBD industry offers innovative delivery methods that can be utilised differently for fibromyalgia.
Here are the top 4 CBD delivery methods you need to know about.
The first and most common method of CBD consumption is by mouth or orally. Oral CBD consumption has a lower absorption rate, as it has to pass through the digestive system, however it is popular due to ease of use. Some products that can be taken orally include:
Similar to CBD products taken orally, sublingual, or under the tongue, is another popular method.
Common products include CBD oil drops and sprays and although they do not offer the highest level of absorption, as they have to pass through the digestive system, sublingual CBD products are utilised due to the easy application.
Another way to use CBD is through smoking or vaping. A vaporising stick or CBD cartridge can be used to inhale the desired CBD dose. It is the fastest delivery method, but the effect of the dose does not last for long. Moreover, vaping or smoking is not recommended as it can harm our bodies.
CBD topicals can be used directly on the skin. The dose is engrossed into the dermal layers and relieves inflammatory conditions. CBD is usually imbued in different creams, lotions, and salves to make it even more useful. This also includes CBD patches which can easily be applied to various hair-free areas of the body for a slow release of CBD over a period of 24 hours.
As CBD products have become more mainstream and popular over the years, they can now be easily found in pharmacies and health stores, along with your local supermarkets. With it being a powerful, plant-based, anti-inflammatory, therapeutic resource, it is simple to understand why those suffering from fibromyalgia are drawn to it. However, it is important to note that it is not a magical plant which will immediately take away all your concerns. Here are some things to consider if you would like to try CBD for fibromyalgia pain relief:
Based on the research that is available and feedback from those that suffer from it, CBD products can be a great alternative or add-on to manage pain and other symptoms arising from fibromyalgia. This is because CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors in our body which deal with the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, including the immune cells. As it’s growing in popularity, more delivery methods of CBD are now available to take advantage of, from edible CBD, sublingual CBD to topical CBD being the most popular. It is important to remember however that CBD is not a quick fix. It takes time to find the right delivery method and dosage for you along with building up in your system, so patience is key. It is also important to research the CBD quality to ensure it is effective and if you are taking existing medications, it is advisable to speak to a medical professional before starting a new CBD product.
As always, here at Prym Health we bring you the highest quality CBD products. Using premium and laboratory tested CBD, we’ve created a wide range of CBD products, including CBD Drops (7), CBD Topicals (8), CBD Edibles (9) and CBD Patches and Suppositories (10) to help you. For a limited time, we are offering readers 20% off this supplement with code FIBRO20. Be sure to leave us feedback on hair experience and like our Facebook page and Instagram page for more exclusive offers.