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Fibromyalgia, Medical Marijuana, CBD and you

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  • Updated 234 days ago
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When it comes to living with Fibromyalgia, patients are turning to Medical Marijuana and Cannabis (CBD) to help ease their pain and symptoms.

WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA?

Characterized by widespread muscle pain, Fibromyalgia, also known as "Fibro", is a disorder that researchers believe heighten pain sensations by altering the way the brain processes pain signals. Fibro holds a number of complexities, making it difficult to treat. In scientific terms, fibromyalgia is a chronic pain state in which the nerve stimuli causing pain originates mainly in the tissues which results in increased pain with movement, getting amplified in pain in correlation with an increase in exertion. Fibromyalgia can get so unbearable that many fibro sufferers describe excruciating pain from head to toe.

Patients who are afflicted with fibromyalgia can experience many symptoms including:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Concentration and memory problems -- known as "fibro fog"
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Morning stiffness
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Sleep problems
  • Numbness, and tingling in hands, arms, feet, and legs
  • Tender points
  • Urinary symptoms, such as pain or frequency

While there is no cure currently for Fibro, there are medications that can help treat the disorder, including:

  • Pain Relievers
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants

There are also less conventional forms of treatment Fibro sufferers can turn to, including:

  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical Marijuana
  • CB

CBD vs. Marijuana

Yes, there is a difference between the two. CBD and THC are the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis products and they are both in marijuana and hemp. The difference is that marijuana contains a lot more THC than hemp and hemp contains a lot more CBD. THC is what makes people feel "high", while CBD doesn't cause that "high" because it contains less than .03 percent of THC.

Men, Women and Fibromyalgia

Sorry ladies! It turns out that women are more likely to develop Fibromyalgia than men. And no, we don't know why. According to Medical News Today, Fibro affects nearly two percent of the adult population and that symptoms often vary between the sexes. As mentioned above, there is no cure for the condition, however it is possible to manage the day-to-day pain that often comes with the disorder.

Let's delve a little further into a couple of those options: Medical Marijuana and CBD.

In the early 1990's a group of researchers discovered the Endocannabinoid system (ECS) while exploring THC, a well-known cannabinoid which is a compound found in cannabis. You may be asking yourself, "What does this mean and why should I care?" It turns out the ECS plays role in a regulating sleep, mood, appetite, memory and more functions within each of our bodies. In fact, our bodies produce natural “endo”cannabinoids that work in tandem with the ECS receptors to maintain health in all our bodily systems (endocrine, cardiovascular, and nervous systems, etc.) – and when we don’t produce enough of these endocannabinoids we may end up with a deficiency. A new theory called endocannabinoid deficiency may be behind many of these chronic pain conditions we are seeing today- such as IBS, migraines, fibromyalgia and other treatment resistant syndromes.



Medical Marijuana and Fibromyalgia

The National Academies Press (NAP) published a comprehensive review in 2017 that took a closer look at the health effects of marijuana and Fibromyalgia. The results showed that cannabis helped alleviate symptoms of fibro and was effective in treating chronic pain in adults. There have been few studies specific to medical marijuana use and Fibro pain in the past; however, the handful of studies being done today are showing positive results in pain management and sleeping problems. For example, in 2018 review from NAP concluded that there’s a moderate amount of evidence that cannabis-related products can help improve sleep in people with fibromyalgia in the short term. In a 2011 study, Cannabis Use in Patients with Fibromyalgia, showed that participants who used marijuana to treat fibromyalgia reported that it provided strong relief from sleep issues.

CBD and Fibromyalgia

Similar to studies regarding Medical Marijuana and Fibromyalgia, only a few studies have been done focusing on the effects of CBD and Fibro. The first thing to know is that CBD does not contain any marijuana, but does come from the cannabinoid plant (we know how confusing it can be). Research showed that the compound plant appears to reduce some systems associated with the disease, including chronic pain.

A few studies have studied the effectiveness of cannabidiol in managing fibromyalgia. The pain-relieving property of CBD is explained by the ways this substance impacts the brain. It may block the nerve pathways responsible for transmitting pain signals between your brain and the body.

Besides, the anti-inflammatory action of CBD aids in reducing swelling and heat around disease or injury, thus reducing pain.

A study conducted suggests that cannabidiol works best when used in combination with THC. However, very little research is done in this area.

Another study suggests that a lack of endocannabinoids may be the cause of chronic pain syndrome, such as fibromyalgia. Consuming CBD can correct this deficiency, reducing pain.

Now What?

Research continues on the effects both Medical Marijuana and CBD have on relieving the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. There is still no cure. But there is hope as researchers continue to uncover the benefits the cannabinoid plant has on the mind and body of people who live with Fibro. In the meantime, we recommend consulting your doctor if you are thinking about taking medical marijuana or CBD for pain management, sleeping problems or any other symptoms you are experiencing related to Fibromyalgia.

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