Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes muscle pain, resulting in fatigue, mood swings, sleep issues and tender points in the body. Symptoms are not always present, and can fluctuate over time. A medical treatment plan can help to avoid symptom flare up, or flares; however, there is currently no cure for this condition.
Because of this, many people have turned to alternative solutions to feel better, one of those being cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD is a chemical compound made from the hemp plant, but does not include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another well-known psychoactive component of the marijuana plant. In other words, CBD will not give you a euphoric, or “high” feeling when consumed.
Before we dive into CBD and pain treatment, it is important to note that there is not much medical literature that backs the efficacy of using it for pain. This is primarily because the research has not yet been conducted. That being said, a lack of research does not necessarily mean that the drug does not show promise in helping people. Rather, more research needs to be done. If you’re considering using CBD, learn as much as you can beforehand, and consult with your doctor, who knows more about your individual condition and treatment plan, before getting started.
As of the date of writing this post, CBD is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a regulated treatment option. Even so, it’s gaining more popularity among the general public and medical community alike.
“Ultimately there is a role for CBD in a variety of conditions,” said Carrie Diulus, M.D., an orthopaedic spine surgeon in Ohio who was featured in the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2. “It decreases anxiety, is anti-inflammatory, and can help with sleep. It does also have some positive impact on pain. Some of it may be for the reasons I listed above. It doesn’t have the psychotropic effects of THC, and it is legal (for now). The tricky part is that we don’t have robust studies fully clarifying dose, interactions, and contraindications. I do have patients who anecdotally find that it is helpful when used topically for arthritis and orally (spray) for pain. I think often it is beneficial because it helps with sleep and anxiety, which both can be an issue with both acute and chronic pain. I have other patients who have no response.”
CBD for Pain Treatment
It is believed that CBD may activate serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that regulates anxiety, happiness and mood. It may also play a role in pain perception, maintaining body temperature and reducing inflammation. Because of these properties, CBD has been used for pain treatment, and has even been considered as an alternative to opioid medications.
With opioids causing issues with addiction and dependence, not to mention the litany of negative side effects that come along with taking them, the thought of an alternative solution for pain is certainly worth exploring.
While there isn’t an overwhelming amount of research backing the drug, there are positive studies out there that show promise. A study conducted in 2009 found that CBD helped to relieve neuropathic, or nerve pain. In other studies, researchers have found CBD to help alleviate feelings of pain, making it seem like a promising drug for those who suffer from chronic pain.
Is CBD Legal?
The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as we would like it to be. That being said, we will do our best to arm you with the best information so you can decide if it’s right for you.