Fibromyalgia is a condition affecting muscles and bones, characterised by chronic musculoskeletal pain, stiffness, extreme sensitivity to touch, exhaustion, insomnia and cognitive issues.
A cure has yet to be found for this disease, and scientists are as yet unsure what causes the condition. Various different hypotheses include chemical imbalances, genetics and trauma triggers.
One strongly contending theory behind the cause of fibromyalgia is that it has something to do with the way the brain interprets pain signals. This is thought to possibly be why CBD can be a very effective method of managing the symptoms of it.
This is because one way that CBD is thought to decrease pain is actually by reducing the body's sensitivity to the pain itself.
Researchers believe CBD may help to reduce pain by stimulating cannabinoid receptors - particularly CB2 receptors, which are usually found outside of the brain in various organs, cells and glands.
While scientists are still not exactly clear about how it works, it would appear that CBD is able to affect the way that various stimuli impact pain receptors, so that people experience pain differently when having taken the cannabis compound.
This is thought to be how CBD effectively reduces pain and diminish refractory pain in patients with fibromyalgia.
Various research have been carried out on the subject of cannabis and fibromyalgia to better understand its potential as a treatment option.
In 2011, a study was conducted that focused on 56 people suffering from fibromyalgia. Findings were that two hours after the use of cannabis, patients experienced reduced pain and stiffness, increased energy and scored higher on a mental health metric than those patients who did not use cannabis.
A study in 2019 in Israel involved the observation of 367 fibromyalgia patients, providing some of them with medical cannabis treatment over a period of 6 months. While 52.5% of these patients (193 people) reported high levels of pain at the start of this period, by the end of the 6 months this number dropped to only 7.9% (19 people) reporting acute pain.
A further Israeli study investigated the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis by 26 fibromyalgia patients. Their finding was that the cannabis treatment “was associated with significant favourable outcomes in every item evaluated,” which included reduced pain and increased energy.
CBD is effective at not only treating pain symptoms in fibromyalgia, but also the symptoms of fatigue and exhaustion.
Stress and anxiety often go hand-in-hand with sleep deprivation. One 2019 study looked ta 72 patients with sleep issues in order to see how CBD can improve sleep and anxiety.
Each patient was given 25mg of CBD per day in the form of a capsule, and their sleep and anxiety was tracked every month. By the end of focus period 78% of the patients had experienced improved sleep and anxiety levels.
CBD's ability to assist in this way with sleep as well as in the management of pain are highly encouraging when it comes to the treatment of fibromyalgia - potentially offering reprieve to patients and a natural solution to this curious and not-yet-understood disease.