Is CBD Proving To Be The Best Pain Reliever For Fibromyalgia?

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Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects nearly 2% of the American population. It is characterized by widespread pain across the body. It can interfere with a patient’s ability to perform routine activities and diminish their quality of life. Medical professionals and researchers are yet to find an effective cure for fibromyalgia. Traditional treatment options include medications, such as pain reliever, antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs.

However, in recent years, alternative treatment options for fibromyalgia have been gaining traction. Cannabidiol (CBD) has emerged as one of the most effective treatments according to community member reports for alleviating pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms.

This blog will delve deeper into CBD and understand whether it is the right choice for treating fibromyalgia symptoms. But let us first take a closer look at the condition and its causes and symptoms.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms: An Overview

The most common symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread pain in the joints and muscles. According to the 2016 revisions to fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria, a patient is diagnosed with the disorder if they have musculoskeletal pain in four of the five regions of pain.

Also, the patient must have been experiencing pain for at least three months. The most commonly affected body parts include:

  • Back of the head
  • Top of the shoulders
  • Outer elbows
  • Knees
  • Hips

The pain associated with fibromyalgia can present itself in the form of a burning, stabbing or throbbing sensation. It is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as joint tenderness, headaches, nausea and fatigue.

Additionally, patients report experiencing fibro fog – a form of brain fog associated with fibromyalgia. Fibro fog affects a patient’s cognitive abilities, thus causing memory loss, confusion and lack of mental clarity. Also, it interferes with the patient’s ability to focus and stay alert.

Fibromyalgia can also cause insomnia and depression in some patients. Other symptoms of the ailment include:

Moreover, patients can experience gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating, constipation or diarrhea.

What Are the Causes of Fibromyalgia?

The precise cause of fibromyalgia isn’t known. Medical researchers believe that it could be caused when the brain and spinal cord fail to properly process pain signals.

Additionally, various factors increase an individual’s risk of developing fibromyalgia. These include:

  • Genetics – A family history of fibromyalgia
  • Trauma – Caused by an accident, injury, abuse, etc.
  • Other ailments – GI infections, flu, pneumonia, etc.
  • Mental stress

Gender and age also make certain individuals predisposed to fibromyalgia. Women are more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia. Hormonal changes during menopause are a potent trigger for the disorder. Also, an individual’s risk of developing the ailment increases with age.

Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that doesn’t have a cure. While patients might experience occasional periods of remission, the symptoms are likely to last throughout their lifestyle. But the right pain management techniques can go a long way to improve a patient’s quality of life.

Medical treatment for fibromyalgia involves:

  • Pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Antidepressants, such as Cymbalta and Savella
  • Anti-seizure medication, such as pregabalin (Lyrica) and gabapentin (Neurontin)

Narcotic drugs, such as Tramadol, aren’t as effective in long-term pain relief for fibromyalgia patients.

It is worth mentioning here that medication for fibromyalgia should be accompanied by lifestyle and dietary changes. Physical exercise and sleep hygiene are crucial for alleviating stress and depression associated with the disorder. Patients can also utilize other holistic remedies, such as aromatherapy and meditation to relieve stress.

Similarly, eliminating sugar and dairy from the diet can be effective. Patients should ensure that they include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meat in their diet. Dietary supplements, such as magnesium and calcium, are also useful.

CBD for Fibromyalgia: A Closer Look

A few studies conducted in recent years have indicated that CBD could be an effective treatment option for fibromyalgia. CBD or cannabidiol is a compound derived from the cannabis plant family. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD isn’t a psychoactive compound.

That means it isn’t associated with the risk of dependence or addiction. Typically, CBD used for pain relief is extracted from the hemp plant.

CBD is known for its pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory and calming properties. While more research is needed to understand the precise mechanism of how CBD works, scientists believe that the compound attaches to specific receptors, known as CB2 receptors, in an individual’s brain. These receptors are responsible for managing pain signals.

Additionally, CBD could also activate serotonin receptors in a patient’s brain, thus improving pain perception. The compound could also stimulate the production of natural cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) that attach to specialized receptors. This, in turn, helps minimize pain and inflammation.

It is crucial considering that a deficiency of endocannabinoids is associated with chronic pain disorders, such as migraine and fibromyalgia. CBD helps combat the deficiency, thus alleviating joint and muscle pain.

How Effective Is CBD as Pain reliever?

A randomized study in 2019 found that Bediol, a drug containing equal amounts of CBD and THC, reduced pain by 30% in most fibromyalgia patients. Several other studies have also established CBD as an effective treatment option for chronic pain.

Apart from reducing pain, CBD also minimizes inflammation and improves sleep. It even relieves stress by relaxing the mind. All these factors indicate that it is one of the most effective treatments for pain management in fibromyalgia patients.

The best part is that natural CBD doesn’t cause any harmful side effects associated with painkillers and antidepressants. That makes it suitable for long-term use as well.

What Is the Catch?

Despite the benefits of CBD, medical professionals are often skeptical about recommending it as an effective treatment for fibromyalgia. That is because there is a lack of concrete studies among larger groups. Also, depending on a patient’s location, there might be legal restrictions on CBD use.

Final Takeaway on CBD as Pain Reliever

While fibromyalgia is a chronic illness, alternative treatments and pain reliever, such as CBD, can be instrumental in relieving pain, insomnia and other symptoms. Patients are advised to consult an experienced physician before using CBD for pain relief and using it as a pain reliever.

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