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CBD and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a fairly common and yet largely misunderstood condition affecting the bones and muscles. Its primary symptoms include widespread pain and soreness throughout the body accompanied by fatigue, as well as sleep, memory, and mood issues. While it’s not clearly understood, researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

There has not yet been a lot of research looking at cannabis use for treating fibromyalgia. However, because of its potent anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, CBD might very well be a good option for symptom management and even treatment. There has, however, been some study of the synthetic form of THC for treating fibromyalgia. As of this writing, Canadian institutions had recently carried out two clinical trials looking at Nabilone (synthetic THC) for treating pain, with the results still pending. A review conducted in 2016 showed that Nabilone was not generally well-tolerated by fibromyalgia patients and was not very effective at treating their pain.1

A small clinical trial in Israel (26 patients) showed that after about a year of using medical cannabis (not specifically CBD), all of the patients reported vast improvements on all parameters measured, and 50% were able to stop taking prescription medications altogether.2

Dr. Ethan Russo hypothesizes that several conditions (fibromyalgia among them) are caused by a general deficiency in our endocannabinoid systems (see Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency). He has been at the forefront for investigating cannabis therapeutics and understanding how the ECS fits into the bigger picture of human biology.

There is, however, mounting anecdotal evidence from patients who experience real benefit from cannabis therapeutics in helping manage their symptoms.

  1. Brian Walitt et al., “Cannabinoids for Fibromyalgia,” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 7, (July 2016), doi:10.1002/14651858.cd011694.pub2.
  2. George Habib and Suheil Artul, “Medical Cannabis for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia,” JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology 24, no. 5 (2018): 255–58, doi:10.1097/rhu.0000000000000702.